Fat Dragon & I had the pleasure of participating in the Skytrex Adventure Extreme Challenge at the Taman Pertanian in Bukit Cerakah Seri Alam Park, in Shah Alam, Selangor recently. Tucked away in the jungle, lie 3 obstacle circuits ranging from 3metres (abt 9 ft) to 22 metres (abt 66 ft) high & it is built high amongst the canopy of the forest. Not for the faint hearted & certainly not those fear of heights. But then again, call it mid life crisis, whatever, these 2 Roaring Fortiers decided to give it a go ….. & straight into the deep end…or more appropriate, the high end ~ for The Extreme Challenge. Typical ~ sigh!
The first challenge, a flying fox challenge stretched across a river about 1 km long. Should be peanuts ….. or so I thought….
The start point involves climbing a rope ladder to a wooden platform built round a tree trunk. I was probably about 50 feet up in the air upon reaching the platform….. yup, only about 50 feet … the figure seems so miniscule on paper. The climb up the rope ladder seemed endless …. Imagine, by the time I reached the target … my hands were shaking from the strain & …. that so called ‘kacang puteh’ 50 feet seemed so daunting. Hmmm… why oh why, did the younger participants ahead of me make it look so easy????????
Before I knew it …. I stood frozen on the platform when confronted with the flying fox across the river. My feet stayed planted on the platform, refusing to move!
The park instructor below was gesturing HARD with his hands urging me to “LET GO! Start flying!” …… I looked down at him. Without shame I told him … “TAKUT!!!!” ….. He replied … “TAK TAKUTLAH!” …..
AAAARRRRrrrrrrrrGGGGGHhhhhhhhhhhh …. GULP! The next platform seems so far away ….. the person there looks like a matchstick ……. YES YES, I know our bodies are held by safety harnesses with 2 safety cables attached to the main line with carabiners but …… What if the carabiner unlocks itself????? …. What if the safety line breaks with my weight????…… What if I hold the contraption wrongly & I spin mid air?????? ……….. OH OH OH … WHAT HAVE I GOTTEN MYSELF INTO!!!!!!! Worse still, the river below looks so far below …… Huh… when in fear, that 50 feet feels magnified to a hundred feet up!!!!!!
MORE gesturing by the instructor. Panic panic. I looked down at him & showed him (again) that I was really scared by patting my chest repeatedly …. His eyes must have rolled up at that moment, but I was too high to see …. but I did see him waving his hand frantically urging me to GO! He was probably thinking “MORON…! Stop wasting time …. Vacate the platform for the next person climbing up!”.
Yikes … I have to let go soon …. yikes yikes yikes….. I reached up, dug both my thumbs into the carabiner & held hard … now if only I could just relax… swing my legs out & sit on the harness …….I CAN’T .. I CAN’T …… Oh NO, climber approaching platform … Have to go…HAVE TO GO! COME ON …. COME ON… LET gOoooooooOOOOooooo!!!!!! Next thing I know, I was flying through the air … arms ultra tense with the grip ….. ….Don’t look DOWN …. DON’T LOOK DOWN …*I look down of course* ~ law of opposites prevails …OMG, OMG, OMG ~ even my heart felt like it was flying out ….. I was flying through the air for only 15-20 seconds but it felt forever ……….
And that was the end of the first challenge. A rude awakening for me. Never knew I had a fear of heights. Seriously didn’t realize it. Boy was I relieved when I landed on the next platform with a big THUMP…………. Phew, I survived….. but that was just the beginning …. Onward to another rope ladder climb towards the next platform & another 20 challenges to come, only to emerge from the jungle 2 1/2 hours later!
Wikipedia defines acrophobia as “
Acrophobia (from the Greek: ἄκρον, ákron , meaning “peak, summit, edge” and φόβος, phóbos, “fear”) is an extreme or irrational fear of heights. It belongs to a category of specific phobias, called space and motion discomfort that share both similar etiology and options for treatment.
Acrophobia can be dangerous, as sufferers can experience a panic attack in a high place and become too agitated to get themselves down safely.”
Well, technically I guess I don’t suffer from acrophobia 100% but …. the moments of hesitation that I felt when flying & standing high up in the platform really surprised me. Never realized that I’d be feeling weak at the knees like that …..