They had me at Dangerous!
The Via Ferrata.
No, this is not really about our cabins, but some things are worth talking about, even if you won’t get any cabin bookings from it.
I really did not pay any attention to the planning, as I was going on this end-of-summer family trip regardless of what was happening. We head up with a group of 12— 6 adults and 6 kids. I am not the oldest in the group, but definitely the roundest. We have been adventuring together for 18 years. That makes it easier somehow.
Let me start by saying I have no fear of heights. In fact, I was one of the first kids to have a leash. Pretty sure someone saw my mom tie rope around me and clip the dog leash to me and turn the dog loose when we got out of the car at some overlook some where in the midwest in the early 60’s, and then they watched as I realized there was a cliff and ran for it, only to be yanked off my feet at the end of the line. They saw this, and the lightbulb went on. You can buy them online now days.
That happened a lot, I think: me dangling from the end of the dock in Canada, pissed that I did not hit the water some 20 feet below and over and over again until at some point (I do not know when), I stopped at the edge.
Looked first, then jumped. That’s when they took the leash off.
Once, much later, I sent a picture to my parents of me flying off a cliff with skis on. She asked I not do that anymore. Send the pictures, that is.
I still get the urge to jump even now, but something has changed. Kids of my own, I guess. Maybe my body remembers some of those landings, and deep in the subconscious, it says “lets talk this over” to that part that just wants to fly.
I climbed a little one summer when living in Estes Park, Colorado. So I was not concerned about the idea of climbing steep rock with hundreds of feet of exposure.
I was thinking about the “walk” to the rock. I could see it way up there.
As we started out after getting geared up, I was wondering why we were not taking the bus. WTF, walk up a road? If there is a road, and a bus??? Then it dawned on me: this is by design, to weed out the round ones like me. You better get a head start, I heard a voice say (I think it was in my head) a few minutes in. The rest of the group scampered past my head start, and then they disappeared around a bend in the road.
I was not alone, though. One of the guides, Justin, was keeping a close eye on me as I plodded up the hill to the base of West Fin of Nelson Rocks. I am sure he was guessing how long I would last.
He kept asking questions so I could not breathe. I had to talk and breathe and hike. DUDE! Please, I am sucking wind, here. Let’s chat latter!
This inquisition went on for some time as we left the road and started switching back on a trail. Then, as we came around a switchback in the trail, the whole group was standing there waiting for me, so they could start the safety speech.
Blah, blah, blah, “1 in 10 will not make it to the end.” What ? F…, we have 12. Who is not going to make it? Everyone looked at me. Did I mention it was hot and sticky? Even the skinny little shits where red-faced and sweating.
We stood looking straight up. I was so glad this was the last of the hiking and we could start climbing. If for no other reason than to get to the first evacuation point so I could bail!
Then I stepped onto the rock, and to my delight, the Via Ferrata was a breeze once I stepped up off the ground onto the rock. I was happy— inexplicably, positively giddy. The guide even stopped worrying about me and stayed back to coach others along.
I felt like a goat scampering around on the rungs and rocks. Wow, this is cool. Pretty and beautiful. What a view, and why have we not done this before? And how is this in the winter, when it’s not hot and sticky? I want to do it again, and we are not even all up off the ground and on the route yet.
I will save you the details. Suffice to say, you should go and try, even if you are one the people that takes the early out option. I did not made it all the way and loved it.
The part that really struck me is the attention to detail. It was exquisitely laid out, like a well crafted story. Ebs, flows, surprises, and did-not-see-that-coming and take-your-breath-away moments.
They said it took a special kind of crazy to lay out, come up with and pull off the idea of the Via Ferrata. I would like to meet him someday. And I am sure glad he is.