This year my husband and I celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary! We usually go away every year for at least one night for our anniversary but last year I had just had a baby so we stayed home. Since it had been two years and since it was the big “10” we decided to go away for three nights. Three nights may seem like nothing to you but when you have eight kids ages nine and under with little help it sounds like a week! Since this was a big day for us I wanted to make sure that we did something special but at the same time it is hard to plan when you have so much going on so with that we just booked the hotel and did not officially plan anything!
We opted to go to the beautiful Poconos Mountains. I have been starring at the horse stables for probably twenty years or more and always wanted to get back on a horse! Growing up I had two horses and I loved every minute of it. My friend and I used to just hop on bareback and gallop through our neighbor’s hundreds of acres. It was blissful! To be so young and carefree! Ah, those were the days!
My Mom was not exactly thrilled with my idea of getting on a horse again. She thought it could be dangerous. My husband concurred. While I respect their opinions the last ten years I have either been: pregnant, nursing, or had zero energy so since I now had so much energy I was getting on a horse with or without my husband. Lucky for me the guy will do anything I ask so off to the stables we went!
There was a group of us and two guides. We hopped on the horses and away we went! It was a walking trail through the creek and mountains. I was somewhat shocked when they gave me my horse because it looked bigger than my husband’s! I am not sure if that is because I am a rather large woman or because they knew that I had ridden before and he had not. I will hope the reason is the latter! LOL. Once I got on the horse it felt great! But I am not going to lie it also felt different; it felt a little scary! But my joy overcame my fear so giddy up boy!
There were only a few times that I was a little worried and that is when one horse got sassy with mine, and when we were walking through the creek! It did dawn on me that this big horse could fall over and I could be smothered. Ok, so I guess my Mom and hubby had a point! Duly noted. And then there was the trotting! Obviously I knew how to do it but I was no longer a skinny little girl without a care in the world; I was a big Momma of 8! Thank goodness the trotting only lasted a few minutes! To see my husband trot, now that was priceless especially because he had no idea we were going to trot! After the horse slowed I turned back to him and asked him how he liked trotting to which he replied that he now knew why some men couldn’t have children! LMAO. Joking aside, I was so proud of my husband!
The ride ended and I was so happy! It was a beautiful ride and I fulfilled a long time wish and I did it with the person who matters the most to me and he actually enjoyed it too! One check of the bucket list!
While we were at the stables one of the other men had mentioned that he and his wife were thinking of going four wheeling. The moment he said that I had flashbacks to seventh grade (maybe even younger) when I used to ride ATVs with my neighbor. So guess what we were going to do the next day? You betcha, ride ATVs!
My husband was a little more enthusiastic about riding ATVs then he was about riding horses. Not to stereotype but it does seem to be more of a guy gig. The morning we wanted to go it was drizzling outside. I called and explained my concern about the rain but the woman informed us that they go out rain or shine. Huh, really. Neat. So I scheduled an appointment.
Before the appointment we were in Church together praying. As we sat there all the sudden you could hear the torrential downpour outside. “Is that hail?”, I pondered. I looked at him and in silence mimicked like I was steering an ATV with a giggle and two thumbs up. He just shook his head. As we walk out of Church I inquire what he thinks we should do. He said, “Let’s go for it!” Maybe it was the prayers that gave him a new found desire to ride in rain. Who knows but I was pumped up so I went to buy ponchos (as if they could save us!).
Then the two lovebirds show up at the ATV “shop”. As we pull up we see a big man with a cowboy hat smoking a ciggy and a sidekick with a motorcycle jacket on. Right up my alley! I love these peeps, I thought. We get out of the car and they comment on our ponchos. I tell them that I just don’t want to get wet to which they respond that we are going to get REALLY wet. I mentioned I imagined that but I didn’t want to get sick. LOL.
We proceed with paperwork and get the helmets on and take our dorky selfies. Then we move on to the quick test where we go in and out of cones. Piece of cake. Finally we are able to get moving so we follow “Wild Bill” and “Brooks” to the first “easy” course. We are not even a few minutes into it and Wild Bill pulls over, grabs a cigarette and hollers back, “Oh Brooks, we are MAJORLY screwed!” I love these guys! While I did not know what he meant because he did not say anything else I surmised he meant the rain. Anywhoo, I would soon find out…
It was an awesome experience! We were going on totally bumpy trails through the woods and mountains. There were locks of rocks and you really had to balance yourself. I loved every second and though he told us not to spin out I did -a little- on purpose! As much fun as I was having I am still a Princess so even though it was raining and there was a lot of mud and puddles I’ll admit I was being careful. Wild Bill stopped and turned to me and said, “I did not just see you go around a puddle, did I?!” I chuckled.
As I look back at my hubby I could see that he was thoroughly enjoying it. He had never been on a horse; he had never been on an ATV. He was loving it! He looked like he was 5! As we continued it began raining really hard. We forged ahead and encountered the most amazing puddles. We shouldn’t even call them puddles because no lie it was four feet of water! Wild Bill pulled over before the first big one, lit his ciggy and explained that the ATVs were designed to go through this so he could tell me the easy way to do it or the hard way to do it. I will admit the first time I did it the easy way but on the way back I challenged myself and did the hard way. Wild Bill looked back and me and said, “See, I told you you could do it. Atta girl!”
At one point I was flying behind Wild Bill and I looked back and there was no hubby. I stopped and waited and waited. Wild Bill had taken off on me and I was not sure what to do. Finally, a minute or two later (which felt like an eternity) my hubby and Brooks appeared. Apparently my hubby had inadvertently hit the ATV in neutral while going thru a puddle. This is what the guys are there for so Brooks got him out of it. WHEW. On we went…
It was probably half way through the hour ride and my body hurt. I had to use my left hand to control the gas on the right side because my fingers were numb from the rain and my arm hurt from trying to maneuver the ATV throughout the trails. We were completely drenched from our waste down so yeah, the poncho was not too much help but at least my hair still looked good. LOL.
We returned back and Wild Bill got off the ATV and told me that in all his years of doing this he had never ever rode in conditions like that. I was proud! Go us! So yes, the picture you see as my featured image is that of Wild Bill, moi, da hubby, and Brooks.
So now that we had those two adventures behind us what was next? On day one I had told my hubby I wanted to go ziplining to which he just said yeah, no. Well it was our last day to do something so we had to figure it out. I showed da hubby the brochures: helicopter rides, buggie jumping, wine tours, and etc. Of course included in that was ziplining. He pulled the Camelback brochure out and mentioned how they had a package. I insisted we did not have to do it but if he wanted to I was in so we called and opted for the package.
We arrived at our scheduled time and after signing our third death waiver we waited in the lobby and I glanced at a video. OMG. As my hubby would say, “er, this stuff’s legit!” This was not any little package we chose! This was a FULL treetop adventure course where you “zip, fly, zoom and climb!” I can assure you it is marketed very well! In addition to the treetop adventure you do one major zip line and you get to ride on the mountain roller coaster.
So what is a treetop adventure? There is no easy way to really explain it! LOL. Basically it is 5 individual courses which remind me of Army boot camp! As the web site says, “A day in the trees at Camelback Mountain Adventures is all about fun, challenging yourself and unleashing your inner monkey!” No doubt! Think circus and tight ropes. Think of the movie, “Romancing the stone.” Think of Tarzan and Jane. Think fear (LOTS OF FEAR). Think vertigo. Think 80 feet up in the air with two little ropes holding your fat arse up. Ya know what, on second thought? Don’t think! Just do!
Basically they harness you up, give you a few instructions, put you through a demo course and ship you on your way! I was shocked at how uninvolved the guides were! So there you are up in the air, with literally “swaying bridges, wobbly logs, wind-in-your-face zip lines, vertical cargo nets, ladders, high-wires and so much more!” Once you get to the end (IF YOU LIVE) “you will have conquered 100 aerial obstacles of heart-pounding adventure.” Heart-pounding to say the least!
Keep in mind after the demo course I reminded my hubby that I only wanted to zip line. Yeah one little zip line, not two, and not a treetop “adventure”! I gave him the option to back out knowing he likely would not and honestly really wanting to do it!
Now let’s take a moment here for people who do not know us personally. I am a Princess but I am also a big, crazy, insane, hyper, energic woman. I only recently started working out and that “working out” is light swimming. My hubby is a leader in his field, a professional, a sweet, loving adorable big man who knows all the words to all of the Disney songs and is not afraid to sing them even if it is a woman character’s song! Elsa imitations? PFT, no problem. He has worked out every day since I have known him and before that he was into body building. He would likely have preferred sleeping in then dangling on a tight rope but me, I would chose no other place to be!
With that said my hubby wanted to move from demo course to course number one. I had heard, many years ago, that companies do things like this to promote team building and practice trust exercises so I was joking with my hubby about it. “This is the perfect way for us to work on anything we are lacking in as a team, darling!” He would just smirk at me.
Course one was intense. I could tell from the very first part that my hubby was having a hard time with this. I was not sure if it was just hard for him or if it was hard for him to watch me (or both!). After all, the man is the protector and there was nothing he could really do for me. He was behind me at first but we switched because there were certain points where you come to the end and you, if you are like me, need help. I loved it because I really needed his help to get up! We often are so busy doing that we don’t stop to think about how I need him and he needs me. He would be on the other side cheering me on, reminding me that I was almost there. When you are trying to balance your fat self on a swaying bridge that never seems to end, I can assure you I NEEDED to hear him. Just like he needed to hear me say, “good job honey!” when he completed a difficult obstacle.
As hard as it was and I mean IT WAS FRIGGIN HARD I was thoroughly enjoying it. I even shouted to him at one point and asked him if he was enjoying the trees, the views, and the mountain to which he replied no and told me not to look down. But I, so opposite to him, was looking up, down and all around. You can’t imagine how exhilarating it is for me, a wild gal, to be dangling on a line, walking on a bridge so far up in the air with water flowing and big rocks right below me. Yes, it’s scary but for me it’s not the type of scary it would be for others.
After the first course we both looked at each other because we were not sure we should go on. It was intense in that it took ever part of you; all your senses to be up there. The photographer told us that the next two courses were not as hard so we forged ahead and boy did I disagree with her! After course two I suggested that we stop. I told him no one would know that we did not complete the course to which he replied that he would know. He opted to move forward and I was utterly impressed. At this point I did not question that he was doing this any longer for me but for himself and that made me so proud. I would have stopped but I wanted to keep going.
We finished the third course and there were high fives all around! We had done it. We had never ever done anything like that before and I can assure you, I doubt we ever will! We then moved on to the mountain rollercoaster ride which seemed like a walk in the park after the three courses! And last, but certainly not least was the 1000 feet zip line from the top of the mountain to the bottom. At this point my husband was telling me to JUMP instead of just start slowly sliding! My, how things change! But we did, together, at the same time, we jumped and zip lined side-by-side down that glorious mountain and it was like nothing I have ever experienced! At last I could be Tinkerbell! Another check off the bucket list!
I got so much more out of it then the exercise, then the pushing myself, the challenging myself. As I watched my husband I found it amazing that though he worked out so much some things were so hard for him but somewhat easy for me. I mentioned to him afterwards I honestly think that my younger years in ballet, and gymnastics paired with my new found love of squats and lunges in the pool is what saved me and made the balancing act so much easier for me. What was so interesting to me is that I would tackle the swaying bridge head on, face on, walking across it directly one plank at a time but he would not, he went sideways. Whose method was correct? Who did it better? Trust me when I say that when you are up there ain’t noboy cares; it’s only about survival!
Witnessing all of that and thinking about that in our lives I was just so very thankful for the opportunity to experience this. I thought of how he does things differently in the house than I do, how he interacts with our children differently than I do. There is no “better” way; to each his own. It’s just about survival, side-by-side, hand-in-hand.
I had a new found respect and love for my husband after the treetop course. I soaked in the moment and remembered that we are both different, both unique, but that we complement each other and we do, in fact, “complete” each other. Did I need to be living on the edge, literally, to know that? No, but it was a very good reminder.
The reality of the situation is that when you compare all of those adventures to the adventure I live every day at home they are not much different! Every day I encounter obstacles, every day I am scared and feel like I am going to die! Every day I feel like I am living on the edge. But every day I push myself and my hubby pushes me and we get through it, together.
So think about it. If given the opportunity what would you do to step outside of your element and take a walk on the wild side? Who knows? Maybe you are already doing it from the comfort of your own home.
P.S. Should you too want to step outside your element and to sign three death waivers yet have the time of your life here are the links to the places of our Pocono adventures: