May 20, 2013
Written by Joe Pisani
Monday, 02 August 2010 17:16
My last great adventure was back in the ’70s when I hitchhiked from New York City to Ohio in the worst blizzard of the decade to go to a keg party.
Throughout the Northeast, roads were closed, and I had to battle biting temperatures, blinding snow and a stomach virus, but nothing could stop me, and I got there just as they were tapping the keg. (My virus was instantly cured.)
I love adventures. Mine, however, have been generally limited to four-hour commutes into and out of Manhattan on trains with faulty air conditioning and clogged toilets, while I challenge myself with beginner-level Sudoku puzzles. My other recent adventure was sitting in the dentist’s chair for two hours with my mouth pried open while I had my teeth whitened.
So, when my daughter told me she’d planned an “adventure,” I assumed she meant a perilous journey on Route 287 to the Westchester mall. That New York sales tax can be deadly.
Instead, she’d signed up for a “canopy tour” at Bretton Woods in the White Mountains, a 3.5-hour, 1,000-foot descent down the mountain on 10 zip lines, across ravines and sky bridges — with the possibility of encountering man-eating chipmunks.
She showed me a brochure with a picture of a fellow swinging above the treetops like Tarzan on what looked like my mother’s old clothesline with a headline that proclaimed, “This could be you!”
“Go without me,” I said. Too much adventure isn’t good for a middle-aged guy whose diet consists of sprouts, granola and Mylanta. Then, her mother snarled, “What kind of father would let his daughter do that alone?” To which I replied, “What kind of wife would risk her husband’s life?”
When my manhood is threatened, I stand tall. Against my better judgment, I joined my daughter and some other thrill-seekers, dressed like cable TV repairmen wearing red helmets from Harley-Davidson’s fall collection.
By the time I came to my senses, I was 75 feet in the air, standing on a platform the size of a pool table with nine other people about to rappel off the top of a terrifyingly tall white pine. I gulped and stepped out into thin air.
The real test came when we reached the longest zip line, 850 feet across the canyon and almost 200 feet off the ground. I grit my chemically whitened teeth and sailed into space at 35 miles per hour, convinced I’d end up like a Christmas angel hanging from the top of an evergreen, destined for Rockefeller Center.
I was a little nervous, but our guides — Doug Harman, who moved to the mountains from New Canaan, and Bobby Wisnouckas, who hiked the Appalachian Trail and the Pacific Rim Trail, probably in the same week — made sure we made it out in one piece.
The crazy thing is, two weeks later I did it again. Some guys just can’t get enough adventure.
When it was over, I felt like a real man. I was so psyched I was ready to hitchhike to Alaska for a keg party at Sarah Palin’s.
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