In the days that led up to our Costa Rica Adventure we often talked about what would become our “Adventure Day.” My Mom and I both loved telling people that we were heading off to Costa Rica and would be partaking in once in a lifetime opportunities like tree climbing and rappelling waterfalls. So needless to say, this day came with much anticipation.

After an amazing sunrise yoga and another yummy breakfast it was time for our group to hit the equipment shack and gear up.

woman getting geared up for tree climbing

Needless to say one of our guides, Devan, was quite the ham!

1st Adventure – Tree Climbing

After our orientation to climbing it was time for us to get tied off and start climbing. Mom and I loved watching all of the other ladies tackle the tree. It was a lot harder than it looked!

woman climbing tree in costa rica

My Mom was a little uncertain on what her skill level would be citing, “I’ve never done this before.” That excitement that led us into the trip had dimished and that little voice of doubt was getting louder in her head.

With hesitation she tackled the tree. And guess what… SHE ROCKED IT:

woman climbing tree at the Run Like A Girl Adventure and Wellness Retreat in Costa Rica

Yes, not only was my Mom flying up the tree, but she was doing it with style and grace. All of the ladies in our group were cheering her on as she reached up and moved steps closer to her goal. I was running around taking as many pictures as I could, yelling, “Dad is not going to believe this,” with tears in my eyes. (They somehow seem to have reappeared as I’m writing this!)

It was a truly amazing moment to watch as my Mom conquered her fears and exceeded her own expectations. Mark one up for Mom!

woman hanging from tree while climbing it

Next was my turn to try the line. I’m going to be honest, I don’t love rock climbing. Gripping to a rock edge is not only terribly uncomfortable, but I really am not flexible enough to maneuver my way on a climb. So while I wasn’t nervous for the height or the activity, I wasn’t excited to be struggling to find holds.

I’m happy to report though that tree climbing is WAY more fun than rock climbing and not as tiring! There are more places to sit and get a hold, as well as bigger places to get a good hand grip to pull up on. I was proud to make it all the way to the top of the tree and would absolutely love to try tree climbing again.

woman hanging from a tree after having climbed to the top

Tree climbing was one of those moments that we will never forget from our trip! Before we headed off on our next adventure we had to pause for one more picture with our guides!

tree climbing guides and guests group photo

2nd Adventure – Rappelling

If you want to learn how to rappel a waterfall, one must first learn to rappel a rock face! This was another big first for many of the women on our trip, so the RLAG team took it nice and slow, starting us off with small rock faces and slowly working us up to the big waterfall.

woman reppelling down a rock face in costa rica

My mom wasn’t as confident in rappelling (or so she thought!) but check out her tackling the wall with ease:

woman reppelling down a steep rock cliff in costa rica

I absolutely LOVE this picture! It’s one of those moments that I’ll never forget. As much as this adventure was about me and my experiences, it was pretty cool having this moment where I was able to witness my mom overcome her fears.

woman smiling because she was able to finish her reppelling down a cliff face

Now that we were all practically masters on the ropes, it was time for our biggest challenge yet, the one we had all flown here for. It was time for the waterfall!

I popped up and took the opportunity to go second, I was so excited to try something unlike anything I had ever done before… and being a water baby this felt like an opportunity to explore a new playground!

woman reppelling down a waterfall in costa rica

I flew down the waterfall… it was so much fun!

reppelling down the waterfall

Rappelling was relatively easy and felt very similar to being on a straight rock wall. The most challenging part of the whole rappel was letting go! When you let go, your rope is supposed to pull out from you, but I didn’t trust it. I was thinking it was going to pull me back in! But after being coached by Devan, I counted to three and took a huge leap into the cold water:

woman jumping into waterfall after reppelling down

Check out the video of my rappel and fall: 

 

I came out of the water and looked up to my mom, expecting a proud mom moment to unveil. Instead I was greeted by a grief stricken face, “I’m terrified, Jami” and she was frozen with fear. I’ve never realized it before but my Mom isn’t a strong swimmer. I never even thought about that, we grew up on the water and I always remember her swimming with me. But when I look back now I realize that she wasn’t as confident in the water as my memories served and this was going to be an adventure that was way out of her element.

We had a heart-to-heart meeting, right there on the forest floor. I shared my experience of how safe the activity was, and she shared her concerns not about the rappelling, but about letting go and hitting the water. With some reassurance that we would be there at the bottom, along with a little, “You didn’t come all this way..” coaching, she picked up her gloves and headed to the top of the hill.

woman and guide reppelling down a waterfall

And with that my Mom said she “Felt the fear and did it anyways” (read all about her experience!) . I was so proud of her, she let go of the rope at the end and made it all the way safely to shore. She had left behind her inhibitions and came out of the water a more confident and cooler Grandma.

Funny, the effects waterfalls can have on people….

Make sure you check out Day One and Day Two of my Run Like A Girl Adventure Retreat adventures!

Did you read about my Costa Rica Countdown and my longing to go on this adventure and what I felt was holding me back?