Highline Adventures with Chaco Ambassador Emily Sukiennik
Posted On: Wednesday, December 19, 2012 - Chaconians
I'd love to share a little bit about my most recent highline adventure, which didn't go exactly as planned. I decided that I wanted to go rig a line that I had done a few years back; a very picturesque line with quite a bit of an approach but totally worth it. My boyfriend Mark and I packed up all the gear and invited two other friends Richard and Krystle to join us. They said they would meet us out there so I gave them some vague directions from what I could remember from years past: "Yeah, you just wanna park right before the switch backs and then hike Southwest, following the rim. You should find us within a mile or two."
Mark and I drove to the location and it was a gorgeous sunny day in the desert. Our packs full, we headed out to look for the line. I felt fairly confident that I would remember where it was. We began hiking and it turns out my memory wasn't as solid as I thought it was. This particular area has a bunch of "fins" breaking off of the main "fin" and we started to follow the wrong rim. We didn't realize it was the wrong rim until about 3 hours had gone by and we hadn't found the line. It was hot, our packs were heavy and full of steel, my dog was even getting tired and we just wanted to rest! We didn't want to leave our friends hanging so I whipped out my iPhone and our ultimate savior ended up being the Google Earth App. I didn't have service out there but somehow the application had saved views of the area and we were able to pinpoint exactly where we thought we were. That's when we noticed the multiple "fins". "Oh!! We need to go check out that fin to the right, I'm pretty sure we're just on the wrong one." So we started hiking.
We had gone pretty far off course so we had a long way to go. We used our mental compasses to guide us towards the proper fin and as we approached we started to hear: "HEY!.....HEY!! MARK? EMILY?". It was our friends Richard and Krystle who were just as lost as we were. Thank goodness! Now we had four people to look for the line, we were bound to find it now. Just before sunset, Richard spotted the line which ended up being pretty hidden from plain view. We didn't have time to start rigging the line that night so we set up camp, made a fire and drank some wine in the desert moonlight. I feel so lucky in those moments, nothing will ever feel so pure.
The next day, we rigged. And by my own mistake, the webbing I brought for both the main line and the backup was just about 20 feet too short. Damn! All this way and we don't even get to walk? Disappointed, I felt so silly. How could I be so stupid?? But then I realized....mistakes are part of the game. I'm always so hard on myself but I had to take a step back and laugh. Without mistakes there is no growth and without mistakes there is no deviation from the path. Our mistakes are our teachers and the one thing I've learned from my mistakes is to enjoy my life despite of them.
I'm still learning to laugh at myself and the more I do, the happier I am. Later that week we were all able to go back to the line and walk it with the proper webbing and it was glorious. Mark is working on his slacklining and highlining skills and gave it some great attempts; one of my favorite things in the world is to watch someone push themselves on the line. I had such a great time walking, it had been a while since I had been on a highline. I love pushing myself and feeling strong. Overall it was a great experience, a little adventure never hurt anyone ;-)
About Chaco Ambassador Emily Sukiennik: A competitive athlete, Emily challenges herself by walking across a one-inch wide piece of webbing suspended high above the ground. She's looking to surpass the women's world highline record and gain attention for her sport. Read more about Emily at www.emilysukiennik.com.