An Extraordinary Day at Icy Strait Point
On June 1, 2022, I was standing 15 feet behind the zipline platform at Icy Strait Point.
My fear of heights was at a peak as we had ridden the gondola up the mountain and then taken a truck ride down a very, very steep and narrow road to the zipline. For riders needing assistance they use a UTV or truck to take the from gondola area to zipline.
I knew the zipline would be the fastest way back down and would be a most amazing journey.
More than anything I did not want to take the at least 7 minute long ride down the gondola.
The group of six riders ahead of us crossed the bridge to the platform and prepared for their descent.
After veing strapped in, the rider in the number six position started to cry out loud. They were released on the count of three, and she continued to cry out as far I could hear.
I thought I hope I enjoy this. I will close my eyes before it starts.
Taking a moment to collect my thoughts, a lesson I learned years ago would allow me the most extraordinary day of my life.
On a cold winter morning in Minnesota, in March 2006, I was waiting for the biggest surgery of my life, my back fusion. The plan was that starting at the lowest point in my spine, the surgeon and his assistant would fuse my spine, working up, till my blood count dropped in half, and then they would stop. If they could successfully fuse 5 or 6 discs, I might never need another fusion.
After my preop shot I was asked how I felt. The Dr. was hoping I would say sleepy, but I said, “I’m afraid.”
Of course Ken and the staff laughed, thinking about the shot. But I was thinking about my other past surgeries, and about the rest of my life. The doctor said, “it’s okay to be afraid, and in fact it’s probably good.”
So, now in June 2022, standing behind the zipline, Ken and one of our subscribers had kept telling me, “You can do this! It will be great! Your subscribers will love this.”
I thought of that for a moment, but I started thinking’ “It’s okay to be afraid. It’s ok to be afraid.”
I kept repeating that thought over and over as I crossed the bridge to the platform and stepped up to the number three position. If a rider needs assistance they can wheelchair to the platform and e lifted into the seat.
Ken was in position number four to my right. Two subscribers to our channel were to our left In positions one and two. Two others riders were in positions five and six.
I sat down in the big swing like seat and the gear was strapped around me.
I took deep breaths and worked to listen to the instructions: Lean back, lift up your legs at the start and before reaching the bottom. After the count of three we would go. The two friends to the left told each other, “I love you. See you at the bottom.”
For a moment I recalled the 43 years Ken and I have been together, and I felt loved too.
They opened the gates. I practiced lifting my legs and closed my eyes. The count started.
Click went the release.
I closed my eyes and felt the fast wind in my face. I thought this feels fantastic. In a few seconds I will open my eyes.
I opened my eyes to the exhilaration of watching treetops flying past below me. The blue water ahead. The cruise ship in the distance.
Ken down ahead of me.
I felt like I was turning too far to the left. I gently pushed out my elbows and was able to straighten to face forward, with minimal movement. I kept adjusting my position gently with my elbows. This was unbelievably fun, but I could not get myself to push my arms all the way out. Still a little afraid. But that’s okay. It’s okay to be afraid.
Then I saw the bottom coming so quickly, I thought, “Can I possibly stop in time, on the lower platform?” A few seconds later my gear hit the springs and I was heading backwards, then forwards. That repeated a few times. I told the assistant at the bottom I would need help to stand and walk out. He helped me up and so ended the most exciting 90 seconds of my life.
Icy Strait offers the option to have your wheelchair sent to the bottom so it is waiting for you
Contributed By Cheryl Edmonds