My climbing buddy invited me to tag along while he rappelled off a very tall bridge just outside of Victoria, BC on his birthday.
I was able to fall asleep the night before by convincing myself I was only going to take pictures.
When I woke up, I knew that had been totally kidding myself. I was going for a ride!
The Goldstream Trestle is part of a railroad and was not built for walking on, though many people (and their dogs!) venture out there all the time.
The uneven spacing between wooden beams and the long drop below always makes uncomfortable. I had never made it all the way across before this weekend, as I found just walking on it so unpleasant.
But it was so cold, I had to keep pacing back and forth to stay warm as Aaron set up.
He started by setting up a three point anchor.
He tied a clove hitch into the master point with a second backup knot tied into a second backup anchor … because safety!!
He then slowly let his 300 foot rope down over the edge.
Have you ever flaked out a 300 foot rope? Not easy.
The rope had a mind of its own and decided to test our patience with 300 feet of tangles.
Aaron worked. I had a sandwich. The life of a photographer…
Once that was all sorted, Aaron anchored himself in and got ready to crawl over the side.
This is what I thought would keep me from rappelling. Lowering myself over the edge … ughhh!
But Aaron did it, like a champ. Even though he hates exposure way more than I do.
And before I knew it, I was down there with him getting ready to go on my rappel.
Did I mention this was a 260ft down?! To get an idea of scale, if you put the Empress and the Legislative Building on top of each other, that is only 228 feet!
Rappelling was very peaceful. I got to escape the crowds that had gathered and just be among the trees like a bird.
Aaron recommended that I stop part of the way down and enjoy the view.
I’m glad I did. And I’m glad he reminded me to slow down.
Then I scrambled up the hill to watch Aaron do his rappel. He went very quickly … and upside down! (Not his first time doing this…)
I didn’t get any good photos of that. But then he decided to go for one more try and I got in position to take photos.
While Aaron was setting up before his rappel, I noticed he was having a long conversation with a woman.
I hung out in my spot taking some photos of Aaron rappelling. Looked so cool!
When returned to the bridge to get some more photos, the same woman was still there. She let me know that her son had died in the park about a year ago. She visits every month to remember him.
I told her I was very sorry for her loss and took her hand to help her walk a bit on the trestle, as she was uneasy being on the bridge and it was starting to get a little icy.
I found out later that she and Aaron had a conversation about her son’s life and what had happened. I am not sure what it meant for her to be able to talk to us, but for me it just reminded me how precious each of our days are.