The Day I Almost Died

You have to understand that I am a middle of the road kind of person when it comes to almost anything in my life.  I think and decide, and then re-think and re-decide, and then kind of come up with an opinion and then I definitely make a decision.  And then I re-think it again.  I’m hardly ever sure that I am absolutely correct in a situation and more often than not that theory has been proven true.  When I was a kid I used to love Choose Your Own Adventure stories and I would read them ad nauseam.  Only problem was that whenever I had to choose a prompt on where to take the story next, I could never commit.  By the time I got to the juicy part of one story I could hardly continue because all of my fingers were marking the pages of the choices I had already made that I might want to change again later. Hmmm, my personality in a nut shell, ladies and gentlemen.

One thing I have always felt strongly about is my desire for excitement and fun.  I can’t honestly say that I feel 100% ready to do crazy, frightening things every minute of the day, but for the most part, I’m up for a thrill.  Wooden coasters? They’re fun and all, but too rickety for me to truly enjoy them.  Steel coasters? Right up my alley!  I could ride them all day and still feel great at the end of the day.  Hamster ball, bungee thingies that shoot you up into the sky and bounce you around like a wooden paddle ball? Uh, I don’t know, haven’t tried any of those yet, but I think I’m leaning towards no.  Giant swings that almost flip you over? Yes, those are fun! I love that tickling feeling I get in my stomach. No problem.

Cut to Glenwood Caverns Springs Adventure Park in the good old rocky mountains of Colorado.  It is a smallish amusement park that features an alpine slide, caverns, a roller coaster and a giant swing, all on the edge of a mountain.  You actually have to ride a gondola to get to the top.  It is quite the sight to see and one of the most fun places to visit if you’re ever up that way.  The first time I ever visited I was ready to try everything the park had to offer, and then some.  I had heard about the giant swing from my aunt and uncle who lived in the area but they had never ridden it and had no great perspective on whether it was a fun ride or not.  It was up to Greg and me to decide whether or not we were going to give it a try.

We had arrived very early that day because we knew that the swing was popular and the longer we waited to try it, the longer the wait would be and we aren’t exactly known for being patient in line.  So, as soon as we got up to the park, we bee-lined straight to the swing.  It was a small distance away from the gondola drop off and as we started following the signs directing us where to go we could start to hear some faint screaming. I wasn’t really alarmed because I knew it was a pretty intense ride and it was only natural to hear the screams.  Then we turned the corner and I saw exactly where those screams were coming from.  The swing was only large enough to hold four people at a time, but it was tall!  The arm that the seats were attached to seemed to stretch forever into the sky.  And, heaven help me, it was perched right on the edge of a cliff.

Uh, I don’t think so, ma’am.  Not gonna happen.  Not gonna happen.  Not gonna EVER happen.  My body pretty much froze and I wasn’t able to move forward.  I’d like to think it was the thin air from being in the mountains that made me feel dizzy, but who am I kidding?  The blood in my head dropped straight to my toes.  Greg gave me a big smile and said, “Alright, let’s do this!”  I had nothing to say back.  I couldn’t believe he was serious, but he walked right up to the gate and straight into a seat.  There was an overlook about fifty feet up from where he was sitting and I rushed up to get a good viewing spot.  Now, neither of us had previously seen how the ride started, and we both kind of assumed (smh) that the swing would gradually go higher and higher, like you would see at a “normal” amusement park.  Ha.  Ha ha.  We were so stupid.

That thing went almost full speed from the very beginning and it arced right into the sky.  Greg started whooping and hollering and was having the best damn time of his life.  And it seemed that the ride went on forever.  I was horrified and amused at the same time.  Was I really thinking of riding that death trap?  Well, Greg was doing it and I said I would do it and I’m freaking terrified, but I said I was going to do it.  I’ll live, right?  I didn’t even see Greg’s ride end because I was too busy arguing with myself on that deck.  My legs finally made the decision that I was going to ride and walked me down the stairs and towards the line.  Now that I think about it, they may have been heading for the entrance to the park and back down the mountain, but my head intervened and decided that I said I was going to ride, and that was that.

My glasses were stowed in the little box near the ride controls and I was seated next to a young man who was riding for his second time.  I know this because I asked if he had been dumb enough to try the ride before and he said yes.  I was going to love it, he said.  Effing liar. (I’m sure that he had someone recording our ride and that he still watches it from time to time just to see me freak the hell out.) They buckled me in, and I asked them to push down harder on the harness.  No free floating time for me.  I wanted them to make it hurt but good.  The ride operator walked over to the controls and pushed the button.  She pushed the freaking button.

I still remember my heart trying to jump out of throat and into the canyon.  I can still recall my lack of breath and my inability to enjoy (?) the moment.  I can still visualize my body being flung out of my seat and onto the major highway hundreds of feet below.  I thought I was going to die.  Straight up.  I had nowhere to grab so I ended up putting my hands behind my head and gripping my headrest.  As if my puny arm strength was going to save me from sudden death.  I heard the kid next to me screaming and laughing as I squeezed my eyes shut and held on to the seat as hard as I could.  I started to chant to myself, “Make it stop, Oh God, please make it stop! I don’t want to die.  I don’t want to die.  I don’t want to die.” I swear that I was on that ride for seven hours.  It. Would. Not. Stop.  And then, miraculously, it did.

By this time there were about fifteen people in line and they were all pretty much laughing at me.  I’m sure I was hella entertaining, but I was also wrung out, scared to death, and I could barely get out of the chair and walk away.  I forgot my glasses and the kid that had been next to me brought them over and I could barely muster a thank you.  My head was pounding and I could barely hear through the blood rushing through my ears.  I had made it but I didn’t have fun.  I thought that I had made just about the worst decision ever by going on that machine.  I was never going to do that again.

Of course, I’m pretty middle of the road when it comes to my decisions and I wasn’t really sure that I had made the right one concerning the big giant swing.  I have always tried to teach my son that he should at least try something twice just to make sure he really doesn’t like it.  Eating spinach, going roller skating, playing Uno, etc…so I wanted to set a good example.  The next time we went to the Adventure Park, I rode that giant swing again.  I knew what to expect and I knew I wouldn’t die and I managed to keep my eyes open and experience the whole thing in a different way.  It was scary as hell, but it was spectacular, and I can’t wait to try it again.

© DRB 2015

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37 Comments

  1. We’ve been THERE! We took my son and daughter. They were like 5 and 7? My son is a thrill seeker and they let him ride that Canyon swing thingy. That swings you way out high over the canyon of nothingness. Then they did the zip line. I nearly had a heart attack. I watched once and went back to the hotel with my daughter and left dad and son to ride it multiple times. Everyone couldn’t believe the small kid was going on it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow, that blows my mind. I don’t know if I could watch a little person on that thing! Sounds like he loved it.

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      1. I told my husband “You better, hold onto him and constantly make sure the bars and stuff stay down” I’ll have to see if I can find that picture. I took tons and to take my mind off the fact they were going over the edge of the cliff each second. I think it was called the Cliff Hanger?

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I really would love to see that picture! My son is like me and he’d probably have to be in high school to get the nerve to get on!

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      3. I love roller coasters. We have passes to Six Flags Magic Mountain. Thrill Capital of the World. Love me the coasters! But, hell no, I would not get on the Cliff Hanger. That does not look fun to me…at all.

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  2. I have nominated you for the Encouraging Thunder Award. See more at: https://seeyoustarside.wordpress.com/2015/09/02/is-that-thunder-i-hear/

    Also, I feel you about the Choose Your Own Adventure books. I was the same way! I still need to know I’m making the absolute right decision! I wish I had your courage to ride something like that that my body was totally telling me not to! Go you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The more I read this story, the more I think I am so completely badass. (Not really!) Thank you for the nomination! I appreciate it. Thank you for commenting. (Choose Your Own Adventure books–great fun, but could be so stressful!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Wow, Bless your guts for getting on this ride! I feel life on two feet is scary enough. I wouldn’t even give a thought to entertain getting on this! Reading about your feelings and experience sacred me enough to make me feel I was on the ride with you. Thanks for experiencing the ride for me!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad you enjoyed safely from home. I might be going again in September, we shall see. Have a great day!

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  4. Oh, I would have been right there with you; at least for the eyes closed, holding on for dear life, praying not to die part! Don’t know that I would have had the courage to do it again though.
    Great post! Looking forward to reading more!

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    1. I lose my breath just thinking about it. Thank you for reading.

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  5. I am a person who is never able to decide too, but when we’re talking about an opportunity to try something new, to have another experience, I’m the person who’s saying “LET’S DO THIS!!”. So I would just jump on that thing and ride it once, twice, thrice and more. Also, that video looks awesome! I’ll add this thing to my bucket list, right now.
    Great post!
    -Vio

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    1. I love that you would jump into a new experience! Glenwood Springs has all kinds of awesome things to do, but that swing would definitely be the “exclamation point” a visit there!

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      1. Hahahaha.. Even looking at it, I feel fascinated. The view from there must be beautiful!

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  6. For some reason that I have no idea about, it’s not allowing me to like your post, but just so you know: This is a really good post, and I definitely “like” it –even though it’s not letting me!
    I am a person who is never able to decide too, but when we’re talking about an opportunity of trying something new, having another experience, I’m the person who’s saying “LET’S DO THIS!!”. So I would just jump on that thing and ride it once, twice, thrice and more. Also, that video looks awesome! I’ll add this thing to my bucket list, right now.
    -Vio

    Like

  7. For some reason that I have no idea about, it’s not allowing me to like your post, but just so you know: This is a really good post, and I definitely “like” it –even though it’s not allowing me to!
    I am a person who is never able to decide too, but when we’re talking about an opportunity of trying something new, having another experience, I’m the person who’s saying “LET’S DO THIS!!”. So I would just jump on that thing and ride it once, twice, thrice and more. Also, that video looks awesome! I’ll add this thing to my bucket list, right now.
    -Vio

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    1. I am trying to find out what is going on with my widgets. Thank you for reading and liking my story. I appreciate it.

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      1. I just realized that it sent the -almost- same comment twice. I thought it didn’t send the first one so commented again 😀

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      2. You can comment again if you want! I’m addicted to seeing the little orange ball light up on my wordpress site!

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  8. I’m a thinkier/rethinker too….but here’s the difference….I would never ever ever have even STARTED thinking about riding that. HELL. NO. I’ll just stick around and live vicariously through your crazyness!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. […] not sure he is a good guy, and I love that you felt the same uncertainty I do.  Also, your post about almost dying was similar to the feeling I had writing […]

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  10. Ha! I know that feeling. Gosh! After a last experience, never again, I said to myself. I like my anatomy intact.
    http://acookingpotandtwistedtales.wordpress.com/

    Liked by 1 person

  11. No. Effing. Way. I would not be able to get on that thing. I suddenly just developed a fear of heights one day. Bang! Weirdest thing ever! I couldn’t drive on the road past a high overhang with no freaking guardrail! I had driven it every day of my life, but that day, I just suddenly realized I was mortal, and I hit the brakes and could not move. I was paralyzed. So what did I do? Something entirely stupid and far more dangerous than driving where I should have. But I could not FORCE myself to drive near that sheer drop off! So, after sitting in the road at a dead stop for what felt like forever, I drove in the wrong lane, blowing my horn and flashing my lights, until I cleared that area. It was a very short area, about three-tenths of a mile, but dang! I have not driven on that road since.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Oh, man, I have never had fear of heights like that before! It’s funny how our thoughts can make us do things. Do you think you’ll ever drive on that road again?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Never, ever, ever again. I can’t even breathe when my husband drives us over it. Creepiest feeling in the world not to be in charge of my own actions!

        Liked by 2 people

  12. Love that you did this and lived to tell the tale! And you really took me there with your post. (Probably the only way I’ll experience the ride)

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Whoa….thanks for sharing the video….I prefer riding vicariously through someone else!! lol

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I hope the experience came through clearly. I was terrified!

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  14. I tried several coasters and glides, this looks awesome~
    Sometimes I would chicken out too but once you’re strapped, there’s no turning back!!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. widhopoenya

    Aww man.. I’m so envy with your live, it feels so lively. I only just imagining and planning about doing something crazy, but again and again, never have a chance to do it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I almost always have that moment of chickening out, but I try to never pass up an opportunity if it is front of me. You will get your chance and you will take it!

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Wooo, that’s scary. I’m a thinker and rethinker too, but every now and then I take a deep breath and say to myself, Stop dithering and do it. I’d never have got onto that swing (I hate heights) but, once done, I’m not surprised you did it again. Once might be an accident, and twice a coincidence, but three times? It could get to be a habit 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Soo scary! I actually re-lose my breath every time I read this. It’s usually easier the second time around! Thanks for reading.

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  17. You are crazy! I’ve been to Glenwood. I’ve seen that swing. I have NOT been on it. The story is great though! My heart is racing.

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    1. I still cannot believe I ever got on it in the first place.

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