Do It Myself Blog – Glenda Watson Hyatt

Your Accessibility Conscience

Climbing Unimaginable Heights to Zip Above Robson Square

Filed under: Living with a disability, Motivation, Vancouver Winter Games — by Glenda at 1:23 am on Monday, March 22, 2010

One thing you may not know about the Left Thumb Blogger yet is I’m terrified of open heights. Enclosed heights are no problem, but any place where there is a slightest chance, no matter how remote, of falling over the side, forget it! No way, no how!

So, what did I do Saturday?

Thanks to my childhood friend Karen and my cousin Craig, I did the zip line at Robson Square! The 550-foot zip line that goes high above Robson Square and Robson Street, with traffic whizzing by below.

Auntie Fern and Craig below the zip line at Robson Square (Auntie Fern and Craig with the zip line tower in the background)

But, it’s not quite as simple as that sounds! Although, thanks to Karen phoning ahead and pulling whatever strings, we had an appointment for 1:30 and, thus, bypassed the 6-8 hour line up. Once again the universe even out the score for the wheelchair!

Glenda harnessed up

After signing a waiver, we harnessed up. Here’s one place where perfectionism is absolutely necessary!

The three of us in our harnesses and helmetsAfter giving Karen’s husband Alec quick directions on how to drive my scooter – he was assigned with the task of driving over to the end of the zip line, the three of us began ascending the 140-foot tall free-standing tower with no elevator!

The tower of stairs up to the zip line(Looking up the tower of stairs)

With Karen on my left side and Craig holding me from behind, we began the 81-stair climb, taking it one stair at a time.

Climbing the stairs

I was out of breath by stair 15! We stopped every couple of platforms for a brief break and to let others pass us.

Karen, Glenda and Craig taking a break on a platform

Going up didn’t really bother me in terms of height because the tower was enclosed with a fabric.

A view of Robson Square through the meshed fabric

Getting to the open top after our half-hour climb was another matter! One hundred and four feet is an extremely long way down! I was kinda having second thoughts; like, what the heck am I doing? and other unbloggable thoughts. But, turning back now meant going back down all 81stairs.

I sat on a folding chair to catch my breath and to let a few others go ahead. Man, my mouth was dry after that climb! That better count as my workout for an entire month!

Then it was decided that Craig – who came over from Victoria only to help but realized the plans were changing when he was handed a waiver form! – should go first to have someone on the other side to help me. He tentatively stepped down the four stairs to nothingness!

I was next. (insert several unbloggable words) While the staff was hooking me to the two lines above, I was thinking Yes, I’m terrified. This is the scariest thing I have ever done! But, I can do it. I can push through my fears and survive, hopefully!

Looking out to the 550-foot line, it seemed like it’d be the most alone place I’ve ever been. If something happened out, no one could quickly come to my rescue. This is definitely independence!

The staff helped me to sit down on the top stair and then to bump down the next ones before giving me a slight push. Karen shot this brief video before jumping herself:

Craig snapped this shot while I was nearing the end. Definitely not my most flattering side! Although I’m not sure it’s possible to have a flattering side while careening across a line 140 feet above people and traffic!

Glenda zipping high above Robson Square

And this shot of me likely uttering another unbloggable phrase:

Glenda zipping above the traffic

I know I should have had a profound thought or revelation upon reaching the other side safely. However, in that moment, I was very relieved that I hadn’t met my Maker!

Karen was next to reach the other side. We caught our breaths, unharnessed and began descending the only 40 stairs.

Thankfully Alec met us part way, and he and a staff folded their arms into the firemen’s chair to take me down the remainder of the way. I never pass up the opportunity to be carried by a good-looking guy; two, even better!

Glenda being carried by two guys doing the firemen's chair

Climbing clip attached to my scooter

We were relieved to safely reach the bottom and to greet our respective loved ones!

We had done it! We each faced our fears and survived! Thanks to Karen and Craig, I did something I never really imagine myself doing! Accomplishing this moved the line of impossibility even further away.

We each received a gift: a climbing clip with a 10% off coupon for the zip line in Whistler or New Zealand. (Let’s allow our legs to stop feeling rubbery before we consider our next adventure!) For our efforts, a plaque of bravery or a bottle of champagne would have been more appropriate!

But, seriously, the Ziptrek staff were excellent! They had no qualms in me doing this and they allowed us to take our time on the stairs. We didn’t feel rushed or pressured at all.

Thank you, everyone!


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25 Comments »

Comment by Joanna Young

March 22, 2010 @ 3:01 am

Glenda, you are amazing.

The video clip was fantastic – just seeing you there having read these words, having read so many words… it brought tears to my eyes.

Thanks for letting us see you fly!

Comment by Ricky Buchanan

March 22, 2010 @ 4:49 am

You, my friend, are amazing!

Comment by Karen Lynn

March 22, 2010 @ 7:04 am

You go girll!!!!!
How brave you are. You did it. You accomplish something wonderful inside of yourself. I’m so happy for you:>))))))))))))

Comment by Avril

March 22, 2010 @ 7:34 am

Way to go, Glenda! I wish I could have been there cheering you on! You are a true Olympian: faster, higher, stronger! Can’t wait to see what heights you scale next. (That doesn’t have to be a *literal* height, by the way…) ;-)

Honesty compels me to confess I’m totally envious of you. I really wanted to do the zipline and got there at 9am on Saturday hoping for a reasonable wait – but alas, it was already 6 hours wait by then. So…no go. Guess I’ll just have to go to Whistler and pay for it.

Have a spectacular day!

Comment by Karen

March 22, 2010 @ 8:33 am

Wow! I was smiling and cheering you on as I read this blog post – all safely seated at my desk. :) Awesome and impressive.
regards, Ms. Chicken :)

Comment by Sheila Martin

March 22, 2010 @ 3:15 pm

Glenda, now I know why you weren’t at Wealthy Thought Leaders on Saturday.

You are one Crazy Lady! ;-)

WOW! WOW! WOW!

Comment by Emma

March 22, 2010 @ 4:46 pm

Wow ! Well done !
There is no way in a million years I’d even consider doing that ! I am in awe. Loved the YouTube video.

Comment by Doc

March 22, 2010 @ 5:09 pm

You are an amazing lady, Glenda! I tip my hat to you.

Comment by Douglas T

March 23, 2010 @ 4:15 am

Wow! I’m impressed.

Comment by Jacqui

March 23, 2010 @ 6:35 am

Fantastic! Love the video and the action shots. What else are you afraid of that we can get you to do? ;)

Comment by w.c.camp

March 23, 2010 @ 5:37 pm

Cool trip. My zip line was only a tenth the size but made it myself. I would like to go on one of these as they are popping up in every tourist venue in the world. I write about it here. Nice post. W.C.C.

http://pjmonolog.blogspot.com/2010/03/just-zip-it.html

Comment by Ruth Ellison

March 24, 2010 @ 1:11 pm

Fantastic stuff. I’m scared of open space heights too but this should be one way of getting over the fears ;)

Comment by Glenda

March 26, 2010 @ 12:14 pm

Thanks everyone! Up until last week, I didn’t think I had the balls to willing jump off of a 140 ft tower – or, more accurately, being pushed off! But, once climbing up all those stairs, Karen and/or Craig may have said something if I had chickened out then. I think we were all terrified but didn’t want to be the one to wimp out – nothing like peer pressure!

The logical part of my brain was thinking: for ZipTrek this is their business. They ensure utmost safety, otherwise one splat would finish their business!

Thinking about it now, I was probably safer ziplining at 140 ft than I am crossing the street, speaking as a victim of a hit and run years ago.

The amazing thing was sitting on that folding chair, catching my breath, I was terrified of what I was about to do, but I also knew I was about to face my fear, step through and go beyond (hopefully!). It makes me wonder what else I could accomplish, we could accomplish if we acknowledged our fears, felt them and then carried on anyways. I bet the results would be beyond believable!

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