Friday, June 04, 2010
Yesterday was an adventure. Those who know my goals know I am trying to walk the Rideau trail. Yesterday my DD offered to drive me to the next part which I had hoped would be a family walk as the description of that part of the trail looked quite pretty and easy.
Half way I was glad I had a cell phone. I had reached a dam. A sign said caution, slippery when wet. There was a stone wall with the water barely going up to the edge...spilling over a little in places and then a long drop on the other side. A good railing though. I hoped my dog would not panic. Ahead on the dam a ladder going up to a wooden platform over my head height and I could not see beyond. On the platform some wheels and chains for letting water out of the dam. The ladder was not easy but I am in better shape after a year and a half in SP. I tossed my nordic poles up and then lifted the dog over my head, trusting that the platform would be in good shape. Then I climbed up. It was probably 20 feet to the other side and then I could look down. Oh no! The other side was much lower with water rushing over and plummeting down. I could only guess that is was a half foot deep on the ledge. How on earth was I to get myself down there? And then crossing it was quite a long distance across the dam with logs and debris stuck in various places. It looked like the concrete might have some holes in it. I looked down over the side of the dam. Should we go over I could not risk not having shoes on.
If I had not had a cell phone I would have turned back and found some way to contact my daughter waiting at the other side. But I did. I spent a few minutes looking at the view of the river on the marsh side, listening to the waterfall below me. Then I looked far across. It was hard to see what was over there but a small red marker confirmed this was the trail route. People did this. I could do this. I debated taking off my shoes but there was no way I could carry them. I considered making the dog walk on her leash but was not sure if the current would have her off her feet and over the edge. I phoned and told my daughter my situation and as soon as I heard her voice I decided. I could do this. I told her to give me ten minutes to cross and if she did not hear from me to come looking. I had already walked 45 minutes so her rescue would be some time. I was confident (barely) that we would be fine. So logistics. How do you get a dog down from a height of 7 feet when you are only just over 5 foot tall? She was nervous. I had to put her leash back on her. I put my poles on the edge so they would be easy to grab. Then I got to the lowest rung of the ladder, put my dog over my shoulder (she was as good as gold and never moved a muscle), tucked the poles under my shoulder and took the last step into the water. Right away I could feel the current pulling at my feet. I am sure my heart doubled in speed. I carefully turned and with one hand over the pup and the other holding the wire ... what happened to the nice railing from the other side??? .... I shuffled across the dam. Did I mention I am afraid of heights? The dog stayed still. Usually she growls when I try to pick her up. I was impressed. The challenge was the logs and debris to step over. Trying to judge the holes in the concrete to decide where to put my foot. And then we were across. I put down the dog and poles and called my daughter right away. We had made it in less than 10 minutes and she was totally unalarmed. I had to smile looking back. Then of course I found the trail on the other side was hardly visable because no one apparently uses it. I even lost my way near the end but found the road where my DD and I met up. It certainly was the hardest part of the trail yet.
So here I am. Fifty and facing my fears. Doing what even in my teens I would have squirmed at. Maybe I am better than I was. Less fearful.