Hiya - been awhile. I'm sure you've missed me posting pictures of my knitting and my sewing, but we've been busy exploring the great wilderness - and experiencing death-defying acts of super danger. I threw together a suitcase of clothes earlier this week and whipped the kids up to Whistler. The hubby's been up there on a photo shoot job, staying in a lavish hotel, and taking snowmobiles up snowy mountains, so I thought we better go up and get some of that fun.
I lived in Whistler for a brief period of my young life and have visited a handful of times since, and I have to say, it's not how I remember. Mostly because I don't really remember living in Whistler. I was twenty. Now I'm (almost) thirty and with a coupla kids, I find myself spending less time doing the wild and crazy and more time doing the knitty and sewy, mixed with some gardening. So spending time in Whislter, surrounded by young people who throw themselves off of cliffs of snow or dirt, on boards or bikes was, well - refreshing.
Which brings us to the death-defying part. As a young person I've spent a lot of time on mountains, at high elevations and on chair lifts and gondolas. So I knew I wanted to take the kids up the Whistler Gondola, to give them an idea of the vast mountain range, a peek at the tiny village behind us, and the actual size of the world around us. Show them the freedom that supernatural British Columbia can give you, a look into what life can be if you take it. Poetic right?
But why didn't I stop there?
The ride was great - not too high, not too fast. We saw black bears and mountain bikers, deer and at higher elevations, lots of snow. We got to the top, hung out, saw Daddy and the crew. It should have been enough. We should have just gone down.
But there's this new gondola.... I'm sure many of you have heard of it, it's very impressive. The Peak to Peak Gondola, in Whistler, BC. I'd never been on it, and it was right there...so, we got on. Just me and my two kids. Let me give you an idea of what this gondola is all about. It's written right there in the cabin, for all to enjoy and understand:
Translation: It's really freaking far in between these two mountains, and we're about to take you there, across a giant canyon.
Translation: Every 49 seconds some new sucker is going to get on this thing and we're going to take them across a giant canyon, really fast.
Translation: This is really f*cking high. I can't believe you brought your kids on this thing.
I don't know why, because I knew that the Peak to Peak gondola would do essentially that - take you from peak to peak - but I just didn't comprehend the height. I didn't study the brochure close enough. And truthfully, I'm not much of a heights kind of gal and I don't like airplanes so why I mixed the two together into "Mommy's Zany Wild Ride Across the Canyon" I don't really know. But here we were, in the cabin of a Whistler Peak to Peak Gondola, just the three of us.... and off we go.
At first, it was really really great. Stunning actually.
The kids were into it, and I was doing my best to completely ignore what was coming next.
The edge of the cliff.
The forest floor just starts to drop down underneath us and I realize that we are not following anymore - we are travelling across the canyon and we just keep getting higher and higher.
There are a lot of things that run through your mind right before you die. I'm not going to tell you what was running through mine, but I will tell you this. All three of us immediately sat back on the bench in the middle of the cabin, the one meant for people like us. This way we couldn't see the valley floor. Only sky. I then slouched down in the seat, grasping onto my children's rain jackets and preceded to happily talk about how the cables were "so big and strong, look there's THREE of them!" and "Gee, aren't we lucky we're travelling in the CLOUDS?" I did absolutely everything in my power not to lose my cool and completely destroy my children's ability to climb anything higher than our porch stairs. The only other thing I was able to do was occasionally hold my camera up in the air and blindly shoot photos of what was assumed to be the only way we would truly experience the Peak to Peak, once we were safely at home and downloading them onto the computer. If we made it.
Now we made it across to Blackcomb Mountain from Whistler but guess what? You have to go back!! Ha!
This time though, I manned up, perhaps due to the adrenaline rushing through my blood. I felt that I could do anything - I was laughing in the face of danger. So I boldly got to my feet - and then immediately dropped down to my knees, and crawled across the cabin floor towards the bench at the front. If there was a camera installed, somebody would've You Tubed that stuff. My children stared at me from the bench in the middle, and I smiled weakly back at them, pretending all the while that it was completely normal for Mommy to be crawling around on the floor, five million feet above the ground, looking like she was going to barf. They got down and crawled to the front as well. White-knuckled, we peered over the padded bench.
The blue machine to the left is a giant crane. It was about this time that I started practicing deep breathing and made my peace with the world. On my knees, I prayed to the mountain gods that my children would live to get off them. I didn't stop praying until we were coming into the bay back on the peak of Whistler Mountain. I didn't get off my knees until I figured somebody would see me.
* * *
Prying my arms from around my two beautiful little babies, I strapped Charlie back into the stroller and held Frankie's hand in mine. I smiled at the liftee attendant as the doors swung open and we stepped out onto the sturdy concrete platform. I don't know how easy it was to tell that my legs were shaking, but I knew I looked a wreck. White in the face and sweating, we strode through the bay and back into the world on land. Sweet, solid land.
So Whistler was fun, and the Peak to Peak was.... hands down the most frightening thing I have ever done. I think when you have kids, you begin to understand how fragile and beautiful life really is. You basically turn into a sucker, and what is thrilling to one is Mommy's worst nightmare. Would I do it again?
I think I'm going to sit here and knit on that one a while.