Climbing Down to the Finish Line: Canyoning in Ecuador
My whole life I have loved feeling the rush of adrenaline flow through my body. My dad made sure that feeling was fulfilled when we were in Ecuador. He wanted to relive his youth, and brought me to the places where he knew I would have the most fun during our three week stay in his native land.
He and I are similar in a sense, as we love nature and living life on the edge. So, one of our destinations had to be Mindo. After hearing and doing research of what to do in Mindo, I knew I wanted to do some extreme sports. Mindo is popular for its diverse landscape and wildlife. It’s a small village in the Andes Mountains, through which many rivers flow, creating waterfalls in the rugged terrain. I knew I had to see those waterfalls.
“Just put all your weight back and climb down,” said my waterfall canyoning instructor as I felt the pressure of the water on my legs, and the emptiness of not having ground close enough behind me. My female instructor was much more petite than I am, and I had to trust her as my equipment was attached to her. My heart felt like it was going to come out of my chest, but I knew this was the only way down. It was far more nerve wracking experience than I had expected.
I completely regretted being up there at that moment. I realized my bravery and so-called adventurous spirit was being tested.
When my dad and I first arrived in the center of Mindo, we found a small tourist shop that offered waterfall canyoning. That exact moment flashed into my mind when I was at the tippy-top of the waterfall ready to go down. My earlier excitement had given away to fear.
My instructor told me to take one step at a time, but I couldn’t move my feet. I was at the edge of the cliff and my dad was looking up from below, as he had gone first. I completely regretted being up there at that moment. I realized my bravery and so-called adventurous spirit was being tested.
After five minutes of breathing deeply, I moved my feet down a bit to get a grip on the waterfall rocks. It was a bit of a disaster, as I didn’t put all my weight back and ended up getting a cut and bruise on my leg. My instructor had to constantly remind me to keep my weight back when I just wanted to climb down like Spiderman as I was so terrified.
From being stuck at the edge of the first waterfall to zooming down the second and third, I learned that I can push myself to do anything I set my mind to.
I was able to keep my motion going and next thing I knew, I heard my dad’s voice saying “there you go, put your foot on that rock”. I made it down the first waterfall in one piece! There were two more to go but I ended up going at a faster pace with each one.
Waterfall canyoning in Ecuador definitely tested my courage. I tested whether I could jump over my biggest obstacle – myself. I knew I wanted to do it but it was surreal that it caused me so much fear. When I was climbing down I had stumbled (literally and figuratively) a bit, but I knew that fear was all in my head. I saw my dad go down smoothly, and being his daughter, I knew I could do the same.
When I reached the small lake of the last waterfall, my smile went from ear to ear. From being stuck at the edge to zooming down the second and third waterfalls, I learned that I can push myself to do anything I set my mind to.
It felt liberating to be able to conquer a fear I didn’t know was there.