Don’t ask me to go naked bungee jumping

Castlegar News bi-weekly columist opines on on the topic of extreme sports

Karen Haviland

Karen Haviland

Did I ever tell you that I am afraid of heights? Deathly. Afraid. Of. Heights!

All for good reason though. When I was about 20 my older sister dropped by my house way too early in the morning after a night of fun. She had a hair-brained idea; she wanted me to go rappelling with her.

Of course I said, “No.” I mean, get real. My head was still spinning from the night before and besides that, it was much to early to make any decisions about the day. Subject closed!

Apparently it wasn’t. My sister, even back then, knew me way too well.

“Are you chicken?” she asked.

Refusing to validate that question, I did the famous Karen eye roll. Anyone who knows me knows exactly what that means.

Undaunted, she decided to push the do-not-push button.

“I dare you!” she said, all the while looking me straight in the eye with a knowing smile on her face.

Game on! Everyone, and I mean everyone knew that I would never pass up a dare. I mean, seriously, what could happen?

Well IT did happen. Just shortly after shoving off from the cliff I fell. Luckily for me I was properly harnessed and there was someone at the end of the rope. There I was, about 150 feet from the ground, dangling upside down. Luckily I was in pretty good shape back in those days and so I was able to right myself, but it took what seemed like forever for that to happen.

Recalling the old axiom about getting back on the horse after you fall off, I determinedly went back to the cliff, intent on rappelling down, but this time doing it the right way.

Uh huh. Nope. That didn’t happen because the second I stepped toward the edge of the cliff the good old fight or flight jumped out at me and I took flight. Not downward on the rope, but rather back to my new comfort zone, which just happened to be about 15 feet away from the precipice.

Things didn’t get better with passing time. It got worse until there came the time that I couldn’t even step onto the first rung of a ladder. My husband, God bless his sense of humour, liked to tell people that I was so fearful of heights that I couldn’t even step on to a piece of paper on the floor. Insert the part here where I give the famous eye roll.

After reading the above would you believe that I recently went on a hot air balloon ride. Yup. You read that right. Not only did I go on the ride, but we even reached an altitude of 7,000 ft.

Our friends’ son gave them both a birthday gift of a balloon ride and they invited us along for the adventure. When they first asked us I immediately cringed at the idea. No way! Nope!

Well, that’s what I was thinking at first until I took a step back and did some thinking. My husband really wanted to go and I didn’t want to be the spoilsport who stayed behind. It was as simple as that and so I agreed, wondering afterward if I was losing my mind.

What’s curious to me is that I didn’t have one second of apprehension (unlike some others along for the ride. Nudge, nudge.)

In fact, the moment we had liftoff was an incredible feeling and watching the sun rise over the Arizona desert was an experience in which words alone could never describe.

Would I do it again? You betcha! But just don’t ask me to go naked bungee jumping. I can assure you that will never happen.