Highway From the Comfort Zone

This journey I am on has taken me some pretty cool places.  Physical places and places within myself that I need to go more often.  I keep using the word ” Journey”  all the time, but , really, there is no greater word to use.  Its not a secret that this year has not been my best.  I have let myself down.  But the biggest change within myself , by far, is that I am not letting myself be derailed.  So while I may have not worked out in a month ( oh my fucking ugh) I have not lost sight of the goal.

This weekend, I took on one of the coolest things ever.  Waterfall Rappelling.  What the frack is that you ask?  Lets go back to the beginning….

This past Thursday was my husband, Chad  and I’s 15th wedding anniversary.  We wanted to do something but not break the bank.  So, a few months ago, we started looking and I found this deal on Living  Social for Waterfall Rappelling.  It was in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, I love the mountains.  We decided it was a go.  Bought the deal.  We had a lot of questions and I have got to say, the owner of North Ridge Mountain Guides,  Jamie, was amazing.  We planned to go away for the weekend, with our waterfall excursion on a Saturday.

Jamie suggested The Bartlett Inn, in Bartlett NH. What a great place this was! Great owners at the Inn.  We were complete pains in the ass.  We had to arrive late on Friday, so we made several calls to make sure we would be all set.  When we arrived on Friday and found a note on the door addressed to us with complete detailed directions to our cabin, I knew we were going to be good.   It was a cute little cottage with 2 rooms. A big bedroom with queen poster bed and fireplace and another room with a mini kitchen and living room area.  Then there was a jacuzzi tub in the bathroom.  It was really clean, something I noticed right off the bat.

We had to meet the waterfall group at 9 am in Twin Mountain at the NRMG office.  So, we got up early.  The Inn offers breakfast every day.  They have a special each day and if you do not care for that, you can go for eggs.

Breakfast starts with a fruit plate each day

Breakfast starts with a fruit plate each day

 

We walk into the main house and are greeted by a nice guy offering us juice or coffee.  There is limited space for eating so they have a common waiting area and cycle folks in as others finish.  We are then greeted by one of the owners, Nick.  I cannot say enough about his personality.  Just a great guy.  He states that he knows we need to meet Jamie  and says he is going to do something he does not normally do.  He set us up for breakfast at a table in the main living area.  He got us in and out with a delish breakfast.  We then “officially” checked in, got our key and Nick even gave us directions to the office where we were meeting the group.  We were on the road around 8:20 am.  Now, I have an excellent sense of direction – Excellent.  I am very good with directions.  I do not get lost.  Until this day.  I drove right by it.  When we are driving along in the White Mountain National Forest, I knew I had gone too far.  So, the hubs called up and they very nicely gave us directions to turn around and head back .  We arrived around 9:15 .  I hate being late.  Hate it.  Felt like an ass.

Now this is where, the big steps on this journey are taken…. I walk into this place and am visibly the largest person in here, and I walked in late.  Awkward.  We are greeted by Jamie and Travis.  Super nice guys.  We start cracking some jokes and start chatting with the others waiting.  And I am like – shit this is real and we are going to do this.  We got our harnesses and our helmets.

There were 10 of us in the group.  We got in our cars and we caravan to the site where would would hike, then hit the waterfall.  We parked and got our stuff together and headed down the trail.  It was the ” Falling Waters Trail” .

 

 

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Falling Waters Trail

 

We had to go under the highway to get to the trail, we were greeted by these 3 forest rangers or workers.  One of them was this little older bitty with purple hair.  She was fierce! They told us it was about 1.3 -1.4 miles to Cloudland Falls.  An 80 foot waterfall. I wore my sneakers, I didn’t have hiking boots and realistically, I was not going to buy some just for one day. It was a trail, so rocks to climb up, mud to get around, uneven ground.   We had to cross the river a few times, at this point, we were going to get wet anyways, so it didn’t matter.

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At one of our stops

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Along the trail

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Falls on the trail

 

 

Honestly I thought I was doing okay with it.  We stopped a few times on our way up. Stayed together. Jamie mingled in with us while we headed up, I thought that was cool.  He spent time with all of us.    About 1 mile in I was dying. It didn’t help that the whole time, there are dogs running back and forth no problem.  then , not just big dogs, but little ones , with their little legs. what the hell? here I am dying and these little puppies are running along, no problem.   All I kept thinking was ” Are we there yet? ” and ” Just keep walking “.  I was bringing up the rear when I asked Travis how far we had left, and thank the Sweet Baby Jesus, he said its right up ahead.  And it was! We set up at the base of these beautiful falls.

Cloudland Falls!

Cloudland Falls!

Jamie gave us a lesson on the equipment that we would be using and set up some ropes so we could practice while Travis headed to the top of the falls to set up the ropes. He explained the hand signals they use as well .   So, we get our harnesses on and I have a mini panic attack, cause I can barely get this thing over my fat ass.  Thank goodness, I just had to loosen it.  It was very odd to wear, but we were all wearing them, so, not so bad!  I get in line to try it out and he shows me this tiny little strap thing.  I cannot for the life of me remember the name of the piece.  But it is like a little piece of fabric sewn together.  You take this fabric and tie it through your harness and it is what the carabiner hooks onto .  The other end is hooked to the rope.    So of course he is explaining all of this and my only thought is, this guy is out of his tree.   Like not just out of his tree, but he fell out, hit his head  and forgets what a tree is.  I ask – ” This little thing is going to hold me? ”  His response – ” Absolutely” He goes on to explain the ratings on the equipment and what they mean.  Basically, I was getting freaked out and the equipment was rated for 5000 lbs.  Once we were all confident with trying it out, it was time to climb the rocks and head to the falls.  I raise my hand to go first.  I figured, if I can do it, anyone can.

The trail from the base of the falls to the place where we were starting from was hell.  We literally had to climb up rocks, then walk over more rocks, trying not to fall off the edge and not to slip in the mud to get to the start point. But of course, who slips? Of course its me.  I was terrified I was going to slip right down the side.  I got right back up and got my footing, waiting my turn.  Figured if I fell before the falls, then I would not fall to my death on them.

Two lines were set up with each guide assisting on each one.  I ended up going second.  So, I watched the first guy go, It took him a bit and then we hear the screaming.  It was confirmed, they were “good screams” . Then its my turn .  And I was hooked up and getting into place.   Jamie went down with me the first part of the way.  The Water was sooooo cold! They told us to watch out for green or black stuff on the rocks, its slippery.  I start dropping myself down and Jamie is guiding me on where to go.  It is a very surreal feeling.  The rocks look slippery, but they are not.  Once you get past that, its just dealing with the cold ass water.  I started moving my way down.  It was soooo freaking cool!!!! Such an awesome feeling.  I keep moving , following my directions.  Then I get to the spot.  There is this spot in the falls where Jamie warned us that we would ” become stupid” and our IQ would drop.  It is the spot where the water starts gushing on you and it is sooooo cold and you totally go stupid.  At that point, my thought was ” make it to the bottom, make it to the bottom”.  But that was no better, we ended in a pool at the bottom about knee high! Once you hit the ground, you had to unstrap yourself, release the rope and hand off your equipment to the next person.  THEN – you bask in ultimate glory cause you just RAPPELLED DOWN A WATER- FREAKIN- FALL!!! We would cheer each other on when we got to the bottom. Got to meet some really great folks!

Then it was my husband Chad’s turn.  He finished in about 4.5 minutes!!!! Faster than anyone!!! He will not let me live that down, lol.

It was so much fun, we did it again and both went down twice!   Some folks even did 3 times! After everyone was done, it was back down the mountain to end our day.

Here are some pics of me on the waterfall:

 

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2nd time down, feeling more confident

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so much fun

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Making sure my feet are wide enough

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Success!!!

At the bottom! Success!

 

 

This was one of the coolest, most awesome, things I have ever done.  Being someone who is overweight, I don’t always think I can do these things.  It was a huge thing for me to step out of that comfort zone.  I didn’t let the weight stop me .  And though I plan on getting rid of this weight, its here for the moment and I am not going to let it stop me.  We are already planning on going back up north next summer and trying ziplining!   That does have a weight limit, but I will for certain be under it by next summer.

For now, I am happy to be a plus sized adventurer.

Once we got back to the inn, we were starving.  We hit up a local mexican restaurant, Margarita Grill.  To say the Margaritas were delish or amazing or awesome does not do them justice.   I got the Strawberry Lemonade Margarita and the hubs got the Jalapeno Margarita.  SOOOOOOOOO GOOOODDDD!!!! Food was excellent as well.  Then it was back to the inn for a fire pit.

The Inn put on this great fire pit with marshmallows for the kiddos.  We brought some chocolate and graham crackers to share.  We brought along some adult beverages too.  It was so nice.  We sat by the fire and chatted up with the different families.  We ended up staying out with the inn keeper and some of the guests til 10 pm.  The sky was full of stars, so beautiful.

 

This was a weekend I will never forget , for so many reasons.  I challenged myself and I conquered the waterfall!!!

 

I know I sound like an ad for these companies, in no way did I receive any compensation for this.  These are my opinions.  I just want to share our experience because it really was great.

If you ever go the the White Mountains of New Hampshire, explore!  There is so much to see and do.  I have been going to the mountains since I was a kid and to have such a magnificent new experience is something I did not even think of.

 

Stepping outside your comfort zone is good , taking the highway there is even better!

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