Friday, June 19, 2015

Bucket List Item: Sliding Down Mount St. Helens with My Kids (Check)

Reaching the top of Mount St. Helens is a great feeling; it's a strenuous hike that takes six hours to reach the top. It takes almost that long to get back down, too, unless.... 

Did you know that contractor-strength garbage bags make great sleds?

That's right; we sledded down part of Mt. St. Helens after we climbed to the top. I remembered doing so thirteen years ago and knew the kids would be up for it.

To say that I was uncertain after the kids took off is an understatement; I was kind of terrified. I mean look -- it's steep!

Climbing up, you can see other hikers sliding down as they go by; it's exciting!

Kendall made it sound so exciting, too. I could hear her squealing on her way down.

Later, I learned she had even videotaped her ride!
I had doubts, but I had to follow through; there was no way I was going to chicken out and hike down all of that distance! I sucked it up and stepped into my bag (We cut holes in the bottoms for our feet, btw.)

Now, I remembered from last time that digging my feet into the sides of the chute helped me slow down. I took a deep breath and started out...

HOLY MOTHER OF GOD! I immediately felt completely out of control, unable to stop or slow down for more than a second or two; it took my breath away! I felt like a Jamaican bobsledder! That heel digging thing? It wasn't working at all! I tried digging my elbows in, instead, and that helped a little, but I still did not gain complete control. At times, I felt terrified that I wouldn't stop at all! I had a flash of my kids watching their mother careen to her death. Maybe that's a bit melodramatic, but it's the truth; I was scared. I managed to slow myself a few times, but I was unable to stand up to walk down when I decided I was over the sledding thing; it was just too steep. I had to surrender; I let go and continued skidding down the mountain. Here's what I looked like near the bottom (It's okay to laugh.):

So, yeah; I survived, but I don't need to do that ever again, thank you very much.  I should also mention that because we couldn't slide down as far as we wanted, we found ourselves far from the main trail and had to cross a treacherous valley of slippery, fine stones to get back. It was slow, stressful going; every step had to be slow and deliberate, and without our trekking poles, we might still be there today! We obviously made it down, but I can't say that I recommend this activity for everyone. I'm happy to say that this part of my bucket list has now been checked off!

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