Thursday, July 5, 2012

Zippity-Doo-Da: On Learning to Love Adventures

Earlier this year, I did something I once promised my father, may he rest in peace, that I would never do: I rode a motorcycle. I wish I had video footage available of the way I couldn't stop laughing, perhaps as a mechanism to keep myself from crying with fear, as this kid I'd just met whipped me around the block on his bike. (He was a friend of a friend, don't worry; I don't take vehicular risks with total strangers!)

High on adventure from that one little motorcycle ride, I was pumped when my mom asked if I'd like to go ziplining with her and Ani, the exchange student from Venezuela who lived with us my sophomore year of high school. Ani lives in Texas now & was visiting over my mom's birthday, at the same time that I happened to be home for a wedding. How could I say no to family adventure time in honor of my mother's __th birthday?! (You're welcome, Mom.)

And so zipline we did! We headed to The Wilds in Cumberland, Ohio, a non-profit conservation center built on 10,000 acres of mined land reclaimed for conservation purposes. With our two guides, Cody & Landon (most country names ever), our group of nine zipped across 10 lines built on a series of observation platforms that overlook the Wilds' grounds filled with endangered animal species. We saw Przewalski’s wild horses, three kinds of giraffes, Grevy’s zebras, and Pe`re David’s deer, which cover themselves in mud & feces before belching at their beloved. Charming!

To get off the final platform, we had to faux-rapel, but let me tell you, it didn't feel particularly faux. There's something about stepping off a very high ledge that gets your heart pounding, even if you know you're safely harnessed in and that a good-looking, outdoorsy guide is there at the bottom to catch you. I guess rock-climbing won't be my next adventurous endeavor, eh?

When we reached the bottom, we laid down our helmets & took off our gloves & remarked at how disgustingly sweaty we were. Or... oh, wait, maybe the last part was just me? Because did I mention that it was one-hundred-plus degrees? Still, we posed for a family photo before we shed our harnesses:

Plus a group photo...

And finally, because it was my mom's birthday, our guides insisted upon a special photo just for her. Happy birthday, Mama!

I know what you're thinking: HOW DOES ANI'S HAIR LOOK SO GOOD??? I have no answers, only envy.

At my mom's birthday brunch a couple of days later (on her actual birthday), I presented her with a gift from Nathan & me. I had my camera at the ready because I knew it was bound to garner a reaction - but I couldn't have asked for a better facial expression than this:

What was it? Why... it's our next adventure!
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