By Tui Frye
A company policy at Desafio is that all staff and partners experience their key adventures. It is important part of the company culture and philosophy that everyone understands that it is an experience vs. a product that we are selling. It is often a once in a lifetime experience for many and sometimes clients report back that it is even a life changing experience for some.
Last year we launched our Gravity Falls Tour – an extreme waterfall jumping tour. And ever then since I have found ways to avoid doing it. That is until my little sister came to visit from Chicago. She had heard me talking about it and was eager to go and check it out. She has done some class 3-4 rafting a few times in her life and has also skydived so she was not a newbie to adventures. I have done our other adventures which include rafting and canyoneering and loved both. Yet, somehow, I was not able to get my head around jumping, off a cliff, into a pool of water - without being attached to anything.
Upon arriving, my sister and husband got together to work to convince me to let go of my fear and experience Gravity Falls. Both really wanted to go and were determined to convince me to go and after two days, I finally broke down and agreed. I had almost set it up so that I might be able to wiggle out of it, but it fell through… so, I found myself committed - to jumping off of a waterfall.
As we drove to adventure location, about 45 minutes from Desafio headquarters, I found myself growing increasingly more anxious. I knew that I had to go through with it as I heard some of the other participants placing bets which of them would be the first to back out. I had committed, so I knew I had to do it. I felt my options were to either go through with it or be razzed every time I showed my face at headquarters again.
The whole process was seamless, as usual, as the friendly and funny guides got us geared up an into 4x4 vehicles for the somewhat sketchy drive down what looked like cow paths to deliver us to our destination -and the beginning of the tour. From there we hiked up to a demonstration point where were given instructions on the basics of rappelling for the first timers. It seemed most of the couples in our group had some adventure experience, except for a cute young couple who were German and Spanish. He had convinced her to come with him and when she agreed she had no idea what the tour was or what she was going to be doing. (As a side note – fellas, I am not so sure about that as a way to get your sweetie out there, but it seemed to work in this case!)
We started with a 90 foot rappel down the most picturesque waterfall and clear (and cold!) blue pool. When we were almost to the bottom, we were pulled out, away from the canyon wall, about 15 feet above the pool and were told we could let go of our ropes to take our first plunge into the water. It was so incredibly invigorating and got my adrenaline pumping. I was the next to last one down, except for the cute Spanish girl who I was not convinced was going to go through with it. But to my amazement she went for it and at the bottom of the first waterfall we agreed we were both hooked!
We then set out completing a series of climbs, jumps, swings, rappels and hikes as we made our way down the canyon. What I honestly enjoyed most about the tour was that it was an awesome combination of different challenges along the way. You never knew what you were going to find around the next corner. The fact that I was able to share this incomparable adventure with my husband and sister made it even more special!
We ended the tour with the biggest waterfall free jump. I actually had so much fun that I did it a few times! We then headed back to the changing rooms where we were treated to a well deserved ice cold beer. After changing into some dry clothes, we headed to a cool ranch for lunch.
We ordered the pictures so we would have photo evidence that we had actually jumped off of waterfalls in the middle of the jungle. I mean, who is going to believe that?! I absolutely loved receiving the photos and looking back over them and sharing them with my sister and husband. It was really the icing on the cake and the experience is something I will never forget in my life and made me feel like I can do anything! (And let’s face it makes me look like a bad ass adventurer in front of all of my facebook friends;-)
But honestly, for me the best part of the whole thing was talking to my sister about it afterwards. She had been going through a challenging patch in her life when she came to visit as she was closing some old chapters and in the process of starting some new ones. She commented that jumping off waterfalls was key in her ability to literally let things go of some of those things and move on. She said it was like life – there is nothing like taking a deep breath, closing your eyes and literally jumping in with both feet! Pura Vida!
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