January 7 – Tasmania, Canyoning

Conquering Canyons; Forgetting Fears

Think about your worst fear. Now think about actually accomplishing it. That is exactly what we did today, on January 7, 2015.

We are currently in Cradle Mountain, Tasmania, and today we went canyoning. Basically, we repelled down the side of mountains, threw ourselves off cliffs, and allowed ourselves to flow downstream with the river as a group. (No worries Mom and Dad, we survived and are in one piece.) To begin the day, we broke off into 3 main groups. The first group consisted of mainly the boys, and a couple of girls, who were conquering this battle head strong. The second group continued with similar stamina. The third group, (this includes us) although athletic, went into the day hesitant on what it may bring.

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The next step was to get the safety gear needed, fitted, and meet our instructors. Then, each group was driven a mile or so up the road to begin the 40-minute hike to a rock where we changed into the safety gear and wet suits provided for us at the lodge. The hike consisted of steady planks through what seemed like the Lion King’s backdrop. We also were fortunate enough to have seen a wombat (and its unique square poop) on our way up the hike!

By the time we reached our changing rock we were slightly out of breath from carrying the weight of our gear (it felt like fat camp, thanks mom and dad). But definitely worth it. We changed into 3 layers of wet suits, helmets, socks, shoes, gloves, and a life vest. It felt like it was 200 degrees under the Tasmanian sun.

We then continued down the path into the woods, where we met up with the second group, as we prepared to begin our first obstacle: repelling down the side of the mountain. After the second group finished, and we had received a stern safety talk from our instructors, we were ready to go! And with that, our fears began to subside. Similar to coming down from a indoor rock climbing wall, repelling was so much fun! We went down one by one, with one instructor helping us by controlling our speed, and the other instructor waiting for us at the bottom, to help us unhook our harness. We waited at the bottom in the water (which was slowly finding its way inside our wetsuit to cool our bodies but essentially keeping us warm). Once we had all made it down the mountain side, we then began our journey down the river.

The journey consisted of three jumps that were approximately each 20-25 foot jumps into Chrystal clear pools of freezing water. We also got to experience sliding (one example would be an amusement park type shoot, in which we were sent down a water fall and then shot out into the water). This was definitely the talking point of the journey. Another cool slide consisted of a tree trunk that we slid down, and then hopped off. After completing these tasks, everything else seemed like a breeze…

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…until we began our climb up the mountain. Imagine walking up a steep mountain in a wet suit that was filled with water. This is exactly how we had to get back up the mountain. Inch by inch and crawl by crawl we slowly ascended to the spot where we left our bags, as water squished in our shoes with every step. ¬†We then began the super fun process of peeling off every item of wet clothing that was on our body (this tended to take a while). With helping hands we successfully got dressed back into our shorts and t-shirts. With that, we walked back to the parking lot, taking in the breathtaking scenery and hot sun on our skin.

Ending the day with a class meal at a local pub, we enjoyed friendly conversations and experienced our first wallaby! We ended the night in our cozy cabins feeling brave, accomplished, and proud.

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