Our church has a program called the Idaho Wilderness Boys Camp. It is a ministry that takes place in July for two weeks and is open to young boys ages 13-16. It is full of adventure, learning wilderness survival skills, and character training.
This is the little cabin that they stay in when they are not in high country. It is also at this cabin where the boys camp swing is.
This swing is one that has given me many stomach aches and probably even nightmares. We’ve taken visiting family and friends here – and those brave enough usually jump off.
But I do not like heights and so never got this accomplished.
Until my 37th birthday this past week.
Lowell had sweetly invited me out on a dinner date for my birthday . . . but I declined. I know you’re probably thinking “she WHAT?!!” Instead, I asked him if he’d help me conquer my fear of this swing. I had mentioned the horrors of this swing enough times that I could tell it was beginning to affect my children and their own fear of it.
And I knew I needed to break that cycle of fear.
You begin by climbing that high platform in the previous picture, getting on the swing itself (we also used a safety harness), and then stepping off the platform. This is where your stomach drops out as you free-fall until the cable connecting the swing to the trees gets tight – and then it catapults you out across a deep gully.
The picture above is the cliff that you swing out over.
See why it gave me many a stomachache?!
It was at this moment in time that I bequeathed to them all my most treasured valuables
. . . my chocolate stash in the closet.
And stepped off.
Or come to think of it . . . maybe Lowell threw me off!!
However it happened, I got such a terrifying rush that no sound made it past my throat until I was swinging out over the gully . . . and also knew I wasn’t going to die.
Then my shriek would have given the cougars a run for their money.
This was the first backswing.
And where I realized it was actually fun!!
In a way, it was rather anti-climatic. I didn’t faint or barf.
Fainting or barfing would have made a really good story!
Then when Derek climbed up on the platform, I knew my birthday was complete. I was so glad I had faced my fear.
He claimed he was going to keep his eyes shut. And he sure did! At least for the first swing.
You can see from this picture that his cable wasn’t yet tight. He was still free-falling! Once that cable gets taut, you get a jolt and literally feel catapulted out into space.
At least the space above the gully.
This is a better picture of both the swing and the cliff. I think this was on his second or third swing out – so he was going a little slower. That first catapult sends you really high!
And here he’s slowing down. I tried stopping him since Lowell was on the platform . . . and we both about went down over the edge!
Now that would have made a good story.
Terrel and Logan wanted their chance at the swing, too. But the harness wouldn’t have fit them properly so they sat on the swing seat, held on, and Lowell pushed them off from the ground – not the high platform.
It still sent them out pretty high!
For you numbers people . . . er, men – because let’s face it, ladies . . . who of us think in terms of feet? Instead of saying the platform was 25 feet high, we can picture it better if they say it was about ten toddlers high!
But for you men — I had to ask Lowell, so don’t blame me if these numbers aren’t exactly right — the platform was probably 25 feet high, and at the peak of your swing over the cliff, you were roughly 50 feet off the ground.
Any of you locals know differently?
Logan was trying to make it look scarier than it was. Wonder where he got that trait?!
This picture is from a slightly different angle.
My 37th birthday was indeed a sweet one.
I am surrounded by a wonderful family and many friends who bless my life!
And if you think this was a crazy thing to do at the ripe, old age of 37 . . . just wait until I’m 40. Maybe I’ll try water skiing.
Truth is, I have an adventurous man and fun-loving boys who follow in his footsteps . . . and I don’t want to get left in the dust. It’s time for this mama to get with the program. And of course, I might be needed on some adventures to offer a little sympathy – or just to plain keep them alive!