Monday, August 25, 2008

Macho, Macho Me

Not only did I survive the dreaded family vacation in the wilderness of British Columbia, I actually enjoyed it. No one was more surprised than me. I mean this was a trip where I brought no cute shoes. I packed hiking boots, Keen water sandals and  sneakers. In the end I threw in a pair of flip flops, but nothing with the semblance of a heel. The thought of wearing nothing but sturdy shoes for 12 days - and the vigorous activities the footwear implied - depressed me. 

We traveled with our good friends the O'Briens and the other mom, Lisa, was as bummed by our packing as I was. Wicking materials, sports bras, long underwear - it was the most butch set of clothing we'd ever assembled. But we resigned ourselves to our high performance wardrobes and vowed to be good sports.

Who knew that our dad-designed adventure itinerary would turn out to be so empowering? Within the first three days, we'd climbed 3000 feet up a treacherous mountain path called "Grouse Grind",  dangled from a cable at staggering heights while zip-lining through a rain forest, and hiked a glacier - fully outfitted with rope harness, crampons and ice ax.  Through each new challenge, I discovered that I wasn't a wimp. The speed, the heights, the sweat, the gear - all while surrounded by  breathtaking scenery and my delighted kids - it was all really fun.

By the time we hit the camping/kayaking leg of the trip, I was feeling the confidence of a hardy outdoors-woman.  Good thing, because three nights sleeping on a tent floor and bathing with handi-wipes might have been too much for my previous self. And when, after two long days of sea kayaking on the Johnston Strait, a pod of a dozen Orca whales swam right by our tippy little boats, I  thrilled, not scared. (Well, that big one that kept circling around us had me kinda worried.) But these Orca don't eat people, you know. They prefer salmon.

We've been back for two weeks and I'm settled back into my tame, risk-free routine.  I've been sporting short skirts and high-heeled sandals, but I admit I'm feeling a bit blah. I might have to get out my hiking boots and ice ax for a rush of adrenaline.