We have all seen them. That couple that does outdoor activities together, but that it was obviously only one person’s idea. One is scared to death screaming their lungs out, the other is waiting on top of the hill.
Well, I am in one of those couples.
I hate you!
Why are you doing this to me?!?!
We’re breaking up!
I’m gonna die!
These are about a few of the things I have been screamed while on an outdoor activity with my girlfriend.
We Are Very Different
We met about a year ago and quickly became friends, started hanging out, fell in love, and eventually started dating. Now that I’m back home for the summer we have kept quite active outdoors, looking for hikes or other opportunities to spend the time outside.
However, Emmy is the type of person for whom a relaxing day equals spending a day at the spa. She is the type of traveller whose idea of the perfect holiday is chilling on a beach chair at a resort frying under the sun. She also happens to be terrified of heights.
So, how can someone like that get herself to climb a mountain, rappel another mountain down, and zip line through the forest at over 100 meters in the air??? How did this quiet girl afraid of being two floors up suddenly start climbing mountains?
Well, it hasn’t been easy.
Our First Hike
Our first hike was in Mount Royal Park in Montreal. The park is a small 230-metre-high hill within the island of Montreal which can be hiked and provides some nice views of the city.
There are two ways to get to the top; walking through an easy paved road, or hiking through a 20-minute-long non-marked path requiring some slight climbing through rocks and fallen tree branches, and through which if we were to fall, we might break something.
“We cannot go through here”.
“It looks dangerous, there is no trail”.
It’s not dangerous, I’ve done it before.
“I’m scared of heights”
Don’t worry, I know a safe route.
The truth is, I didn’t know a safe route.
In fact, I winged the trail so badly, that our first non-marked viewpoint was at the end of a small cliff. Terrified, she hugged a tree to get closer to it.
Eventually, she would get used to the difficulty of the small hike. It is then that I learned that in her previous relationships, a day outdoors meant walking in a park and eating out on a terrace, while a day-trip meant walking in a park and eating out on a terrace in a different city.
This poor girl had no idea what she had gotten herself into with me.
Our First Mountain Climb
Without her knowledge or approval, I booked Emmy and I a via ferrata climb of Montmorency Falls in Quebec City. A climb taking us almost 100 feet in the air through a rocky and wet surface above the Saint Lawrence river.
At first, she did not immediately back out of the idea.
Although she was nervous the day of the climb, she was still determined to do it.
But once we got to the site, reality started to sink in and she started to look for a way out.
“It’s going to rain, I don’t think we should do it, it’s not safe”.
I smiled at her but kept walking forward.
We had arrived a bit early, so we went for a walk on the suspended bridge on top of the falls. Emmy had enough difficulty holding still on top of the bridge, and I soon realized that she might not be able to do the climb.
“Oh my god!!!!”.
“BABE!!!!!! I don’t think I can do this”. “I DON’T THINK I CAN DO THIS!!!” “Please don’t make me do it!!!!”
Tears of terror started to fill up her eyes.
OK, I said, you don’t have to do it.
After all, she had been brave enough to get herself to the site, and even though she was quitting, I was proud that she had gotten herself minded to do it from the beginning. But this was as far as she would go.
Or so I thought.
As I was about to register and started to fill my “if-you-die-it’s-not-the-company’s-fault” waiver form, Emmy left for a moment. She came back a few seconds later, sat down and started to complete a form.
I smiled at her.
“Shut the fuck up”.
“If I die, I’ll kill you”.
In the minutes that followed, she would come close to quitting twice more. Once as she was putting her equipment, and once more when the climber in front of her started to panic and could not move for 20 minutes.
“What the fuck was I thinking???”
“You owe me a spa day!”
I would continue to take verbal abuse for the duration of the climb.
Once she finished and as the adrenaline started to go down, her legs could barely hold her and she could barely talk. Looking shocked, she went straight to the bar and ordered herself an early afternoon drink.
The drink must have been strong as, next think I knew, she was signing up to do the zip line (see the full video of our zip line here).
Our First Rappelling
We recently signed up for a half day of activities in Mont Tremblant, about 1 hour from Montreal. The day included outdoor activities we had already done, like hiking, via ferrata and zip lines, in addition to rappelling down a mountain.
While she was still hesitant about climbing up another mountain and letting herself slide through a 1-kilometer long metal cable hanging on top of a cliff, Emmy was able to do these without a problem.
But when time came to rappel down the mountain, the talks about quitting began. She had the same look in her face that she did on top of the bridge in Quebec City, the same fear in her eyes.
“I don’t trust this rope”.
“You should”, the guide said, “it’s the only thing holding your life”.
Dude, bad idea telling her that, I thought.
It would take another 10 minutes to talk her into gearing up, and an additional 10 for her to start taking the first steps towards the climb down.
But once again, she managed to succeed.
To my own disbelief, I haven’t been dumped yet. Even more surprising is the fact that although she is still horribly terrified of heights, Emmy is still looking into ways to one-up these past experiences.
Although I still owe her a spa day and I have been guaranteed that the verbal abuse will continue for as long as our feet are not on the ground, Emmy is still open to continue looking for new ways to challenge herself.
Coming soon, a mountain climb and hike at Fjord National Parc (picture below)!!!
Are you or your significant other different too when it comes to the outdoors? Tell me more in the comments 🙂