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  • Writer's pictureSandra

Fear begins in your mind. courage too.

9th of july, 2022

"Zipline to the falls" is a thing on the to-do list for Canada that Patricia wrote to me as a suggestion and gave me to take with me. HyWire Adventures' zipline in Manitoba didn't feature any waterfalls, but at least it was operational — unlike those in Ontario, which were still closed due to Covid regulations. The day before we had already phoned a lady from HyWire and asked if the zipline was also possible for wheelchair users. She said yes, but couldn't tell me if we could come in the morning. When we called again that morning, she invited us to come. The people who usually do this would only come in the afternoon, but she and her husband could do it in this case. I suspect that could be adventurous. And I was right.

As it turned out, we had phoned the elderly owner; it was she who received us. We followed her into the office to complete the formalities. We also met her husband there. He explained to us that they are actually no longer involved in the day-to-day business because their son has taken over the whole thing. You could tell that very clearly, they seemed almost overwhelmed with the sale of a T-shirt and the cash for 2 x zipline. What was that supposed to be? I had a bad feeling... especially when it came to putting on the harness. I asked Seb' to stand in front of me so that I wouldn't tip over out of the wheelchair with the tugging and tugging. Contrary to expectations, the harness was quite comfortable, only the leg straps were quite loose at first. But that was quickly remedied. Finally there was the pink plastic bowl on the head and we were good to go. Seb' catapulted me into the buggy

and then we went through the jungle. It had rained a lot the last few days and the way to the zipline was just a muddy path through the forest. I held on to the roll bar, but had to put my hand out of harm's way a couple of times because her driving style had no mercy. When we got to the platform for the zip line I was confused. Because firstly we couldn't drive to the front because of the desolate path, secondly because of the steps and thirdly there was no seating. None of this had been mentioned beforehand. We had left my wheelchair behind because I would need it when I got down. So Seb' gave me a piggyback ride and climbed the stairs with me. The next challenge was to "hang" myself from the zipline, because the hook was in front of my chest. I had to lean back as far as possible while still hanging on to Sebastians' neck. Not so easy if you don't have orangutan arms. Well, at some point I was hanging on the gallows... uh, hook. As a pedestrian, you could have stood comfortably and without tension. Since I can't stand, I hung like a slaughtered something with my buttocks about 30 cm off the ground. And so that I didn't rush off unintentionally, I had to hold on to the railing from behind. Not a pleasant thing when you have shoulder issues like I do.

Seb' had to "zip" to that first, because he was tensed to catch me when I arrived at the bottom. I couldn't even wish him a lot of fun, he was gone so quickly and I was alone with the lady, who was so hectic and completely unexperienced. I was actually looking forward to the "ride" but I absolutely couldn't enjoy the surroundings. I had expected that she wouldn't let me go until my legs were hanging freely over the steps (since I can't lift them) but she was - as she told me afterwards - afraid of falling off the pedestal. Oh great! As she sent me off, one of my legs snapped under me, causing me to get stuck and twist. She seemed almost overwhelmed trying to free my foot. After my liberation it went downhill at breakneck speed, actually it would have been a great feeling if it hadn't been for the trees that seemed to be close enough to touch. Although grasping isn't the problem, pulling in your legs is! While one of my legs was hanging around quite helplessly, the other decided to stretch out (also called spasticity). It's pretty stupid when you spin uncontrollably on the zipline and race towards the trees with your leg stretched out to the side. I tried to catch my leg and turn forward, which worked semi-well. At least during a tree-free section I was able to briefly enjoy the speed and the view! Then the end was near. Praying again that my leg is spared the railing (or vice versa) and that my feet don't get caught on the platform... done!

What do we learn from this? The zipline wasn't the adventure, but it was an adventurous way to get there! According to the motto the way is the goal. Mission adventure ✔️

The next two days were less adventurous. Lots of rain, little sun. No particularly nice pitches. We had expected a lot from Riding Mountain National Park, but the weather spoiled our desire for hiking. However, we didn't want to miss the Bison Range. It was beyond the hustle and bustle of the Clear Lake town of Wasagaming and few seemed to make their way there. Probably because they knew more than we did, because after driving a few kilometers we came to a closed barrier; the only way to the bison was denied to us. As we found out later because of the no longer existing roads and bridges; the water masses have destroyed everything.

The following day, June 26th, 2022, we decided to drive to the "Duck Mountain Provincial Park", a recommendation from a more or less social media acquaintance, about which I will tell you more in my next post. To be honest, I wasn't expecting too much from this visit, especially since the weather was still quite mixed. But this time luck was on our side, the closer we got to the destination, about 150 km away, the warmer it got.

After what felt like endless gravel roads, which were in better shape than many of the paved main roads we were on, we came to Childs Lake. It lay there peacefully, embedded in the forest, hardly visited and so wonderfully quiet. It all looked very nice from the ground, but I was curious to see what the surroundings would look like from above.. so I sent my drone into the air.

What I then saw left me speechless. I only knew these incredibly beautiful colors from some image videos. The water sparkled turquoise blue in the sunlight.

I was hooked. Off to the next lake. There were quite a few to choose from, I chose the 'East Blue Lake' which was only 11 miles away...a short hop by Canadian standards. When we arrived the rain had just started again, but that didn't deter us from staying. We parked overlooking the water through the trees and had a leisurely dinner.

Since there was no sign that overnight parking was forbidden here, we decided to stay. Of course we could have also gone to the campsite, the entrance to which was only 100 m away, but why!? We didn't need electricity or water, and we didn't need to spend money unnecessarily. We took a chance and spent an undisturbed night; only a few creepy animal noises echoed through the valley. The next morning we were again greeted by good weather, so after coffee I could hardly wait to take more beautiful photos from above.

When I was in action a little later, a white car with the Park Officer sign pulled up and promptly stopped in front of our bus. I figured now I'm either going to get a shit about the drone or someone ratted us out on the overnight parking thing. But the two young men were super nice and first asked how I was doing and if everything was ok, they heard we had trouble with the bus. Then I remembered that the day before Sebastian had opened the bonnet to check the oil and meanwhile a little boy walked by with his mom and said:„Oh, the magic school bus broke down“. The person who informed the officers probably also had this suspicion. However, after we assured that everything was ok and we were just passing through, they seemed fine with it. They only mentioned that if we wanted to stay longer, the campsite was only a few meters away. We talked briefly about where we come from and where we are going, then they said goodbye. There was no scaring about the drone – which of course I had landed in the meantime. I know that it is forbidden to fly a drone in national parks, so I refrain from doing that. But Duck Mountain was just a provincial park and there were no prohibition signs.

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