Boundaries and bucket lists reached in Mexico

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’ve never really considered myself an adventurous person, at least not an extreme adventurer. I mean, I’ve tried my hand at a few things that might be considered exciting — like snow and water skiing, snowmobiling and motorcycles, riding horseback — stuff that is readily available in our beautiful hills and plains.

However, I have always had a real respect for life and partaking in activities that threaten it has not necessarily been high on my list of priorities. I’m afraid of heights, am a bit claustrophobic, I’m sure deadly snakes are hiding in any tall grass, and I’m pretty positive a mountain lion stalks me when I’m hiking in the Hills.

Unfortunately, I think I may have passed some of my cautious nature on to my children, or at least to my daughter, so as I was planning our family vacation to Mexico this June, I was determined to make it a trip to remember for all three of us.

Of course, relaxing on the soft sand beach of the Pacific and lounging in the perfect water of the pool was high on our list of priorities. And, with several fine restaurants at our disposal in our all-inclusive package, we planned on eating to our heart’s, and stomach’s, content.

However, getting into water with ocean mammals, flying through tree tops at speeds of up to 70 mph and jumping off of a perfectly sound platform standing high in the air are all things I would never have thought would be part of mine or my kids’ wheelhouses. Nevertheless in the course of two days, we did all of that and more

The thought of swimming with dolphins has always appealed to us because who doesn’t love those playful, sweet creatures? However, the reality of jumping into a pool with mammals who are eight to nine feet long and weigh in anywhere from 450-700 pounds got the butterflies going in our tummies. 

It didn’t take long for those initial nervous rumblings to turn into excitement and joy as we interacted with our two dolphins. Their strength and athleticism was awesome, and we were amazed with their intelligence and with how soft and gentle they were.

We were able to hug and kiss, as well as dance with them. We got to ride on their bellies and race through the water holding on to their dorsal fins. The whole experience was beyond what any of us imagined it would be.

Our next adventure was both terrifying and thrilling. While Cooper was all in from the get-go, Bailey and I are both afraid of heights. Given that, it may seem odd that zip lining 1.2 kilometers high above the trees in the mountains of Mexico would be something we would opt to partake in, but we threw caution to the wind and signed up for a four hour excursion to do just that.

To be honest, had we known what we were in for as we set out, Bailey and I may not have been as brave. However, I am proud to announce that we committed to the experience, even though saying that it pushed both our limits is an understatement.

We started out with a straight-up zip line ride. Though we were jittery, all three of us gained a little confidence from our initial run. 

From there, things got interesting.

Our next challenge was to let go of our ropes and the zip line in order to ride the next run upside down. Admittedly, this was not our favorite way to ride the line — not that it was as scary as we thought it would be, but because it was hard to see anything besides sky.

Just as we got a little more accustomed to zip lining, we were faced with rappelling from our platform to the ground below. This was pretty frightening for one who is scared of heights, but we made it through.

As we touched the ground after rappelling, we were blissfully unaware of the terrifying task called the Pendulum. That was awaiting us on the next platform. 

This phase of our adventure presented Bailey and I – and even Cooper – with our most daunting challenge of the day. We had to stand on the edge of the platform and jump off to a short free fall before swinging from our ropes until we were caught by a guide. Though the free fall was brief, the panic we felt in that second or so was incredibly real, and it took a minute to fend off the fight-or-flight physical reaction afterward.

I won’t lie, at this point of the experience, I was beginning to wonder if I would make it through to the end because we still had ahead of us the big, Superman run where we would be zip lining on our bellies and would reach speeds of up to 70 miles per hour.

Fortunately, we didn’t really have a choice at that point of turning back. I say this was fortunate because this run ended up being one of the most incredible moments all three of us have ever experienced.

As I was released from the platform, my breath was taken away as I realized what it must be like to fly. I opted to go first this go-round because I wanted to watch my children as they experienced the ride, and I got a little teary-eyed to see the unbridled joy written all over both of their faces as they came in for their landing.

We finished our adventure with simulated sky diving, which will be as close as I get to actually jumping out of a plane.

Throughout the experience of these two days, all three of us checked off some big boxes on our bucket lists and we definitely pushed boundaries we had set for ourselves. We left our tropical get-away not only rested and relaxed, but with a sense of accomplishment of overcoming some of our fears and with memories that will last a lifetime.

After returning home, I discovered that there is a new zip line experience available in Keystone called Rushmore Tramway Adventures. Reaching heights of 400 feet, this will also push my limits a bit. However, I’m thinking I may have to give it a go.

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