The next great adventure I went on after conquering Half Dome was whitewater rafting on the Lower Kern River. I had never rafted before and was thrilled about the opportunity to go. I went with one of the hiking groups I’m involved with.
After the Half Dome conquest, I was like, bring on the adventures! I wasn’t afraid of anything. That is, until we reached a place along the river where our guides parked the rafts and allowed people to get out, hike up to the top of this big rock that stood about 30 feet up from the swiftly flowing river, and (you guessed it) jump.
At first, I was dead set against jumping off of that rock. After watching several people jump, I got curious enough to make the short hike up there and get in line. When it was my turn to jump, fear socked me in the gut. I walked over to the edge and peered over.
The distance between me and the swift current below frightened me. People near the rafts who had already jumped, as well as the ones behind me who had yet to jump, cheered me on. I couldn’t do it. I stepped aside to allow someone else to go. I yearned for further motivation.
After the guy jumped, I went to the edge again and looked down at the water. My heart was beating so fast that I thought I was going to have a heart attack. I heard the people below cheering for me again, but I still couldn’t do it. I backed away from the edge and one more person jumped.
I was the last person and the guide told me that we had to start heading down the river in a few minutes. I either had to jump or take the walk of shame back down to the rafts. I went to the edge one more time and heard Karen, from our group, say that she was going to count to three. She began the countdown.
I started to back away, but then decided to make the jump and go against my fears. I stood right at the edge with my heart beating ever so fast, took a deep breath, and literally stepped off the rock into nothing. I was no longer in control of anything that happened after that. Nothing was beneath my feet. Nothing was near me to grab onto to. I had completely surrendered my will to the unknown.
Yes, there was water, but how deep was it? Yes, I wore a life vest, but would it really hold up if I went too deep? Were there rocks beneath the surface on which I could have hit my head or broken a bone? I didn’t have the answers to any of those questions. I just jumped.