Waterfall Rappelling in the Pocono Mountains

I initially planned for us to spend our July date going whitewater rafting in Jim Thorpe, but found this really great deal on Groupon & Living Social that I could not give up. This activity begs you to answer the question: why not throw yourself down a waterfall?
 There is nothing more exhilarating than the start of summer; the wind in your hair, sun in your face, and us throwing ourselves down a waterfall in the Poconos. I mean really, what could possibly go wrong? 

I’ve always thought of myself to have a very adventurous spirit, so I decided to test my need for speed adventure. In late May when I was searching the world wide web for a new date for us to go on, I came across a great deal on Living Social; a waterfall rappelling package for two people for only $65. Fabulous. 

We’ve never rappelled before, like ever. We’ve never rappelled down a cliff, rock face, or an indoor rock climbing wall, but somehow I KNEW I was going to be a natural. Waterfalls and I go together like peanut butter and jelly, Bert and Ernie, Batman and Robin, and…well, you get it. I was going to be a the best you’ve ever seen when it came to waterfall rappelling.

As soon as I bought my voucher, not wasting any time, I emailed and called up the company providing our expedition, Northeast Mountain Guiding. I booked my reservation for Sunday, May 31, just 5 days after I purchased the voucher for waterfall rappelling. I received an email shortly with all of the information: date, time, meeting place, what to expect, what to bring, and anything else you would need to know. 

This was a surprise for Adam. All I gave Adam was the coordinates and told him that I would tell him on the way there…or just wait until we were at the base of the falls. Tomato, tomahto. You see, Adam is all about adventure and trying something new. I like to think that I’m the same, but quite often adventure reality slaps me across the face and says “girlll,who are you kidding?!” This was one of those times. 

Now to say this went off without a hitch would be a complete lie. You see, this seems to be the summer of never ending thunderstorms, rain, and hell, add in some tornadoes, for good measure! I’m not sure about you, but we never seem to catch a break. 

Anyway, Friday rolled around and I receive an email stating that, surprise, there is a thunderstorm expected on Sunday in the Poconos, which was threatening to our waterfall rappelling extravaganza. Thunderstorms = cancellation, BUT cancellations = no dead Ashley. I was completely fine with the idea that they didn’t want me to die, I mean, I am pretty irreplaceable. On the other hand, however…Why Mother Nature?! Whyyy? Sunday got cancelled and so the saga continues.

We rescheduled our waterfall rappelling trip in the Poconos for the following Sunday (June 7th, if you’re following along). You better believe I stalked the Weather Channel App and the Accuweather App like it was nobody’s business. It was not gonna get cancelled again. This time Adam knew about the date because, you can only cancel so many times before questions get asked. We arrived at the Poconos at the Delaware Water Gap and met up with the Guide and 16 others who were dumb smart enough to hurl themselves down a waterfall as well.

And then we were off to the waterfall.

Meet Slateford Falls, all 60 feet of her:

She’s beautiful. She’s gorgeous. But she is a bitch. 

We were the second group of the day to got waterfall rappelling, so the ropes were all set up. We just had to get into gear; helmets and harnesses and make our way to the top of the waterfall, following a trail. We took pictures with our cellphones and had our GoPro’s strapped on our helmets to capture our experience and oh, the things we captured. 

We met up with the Lead Guide Chadd who was a seasoned professional at what appears to be everything outdoorsy. He gave us a quick rundown on how to go down the waterfall safely and then we were all sent on our merry ways. I watched almost everyone from the group descend down before me as I tried to suppress my anxiety until…

“You two are next, right?” a couple asked, reluctant to go.

Was I ready, you ask?
Let’s just put it this way, we can scratch waterfall rappelling off of the list of things I am good at. 

Adam on the other hand…

…was a natural when it came to waterfall rappelling.

The guides were very helpful and did everything they could to assist and direct you, but let’s be honest. There was no helping this hot mess. I slipped once and lost any composure I was holding onto. I went into straight up panic mode. 

Oh I’m supposed to lean back? Feed the rope? Baby steps? You get the picture, I forgot everything I just learned and I could not find my way down the waterfall. Several “what do I do’s?,” and “I can’t do this’s” later, I was able to safely make it down the waterfall with the direction of Adam and the guides. I only managed to have a few slips/falls along the way.

I was defeated. My idea of being a natural, the best, and anything else did not exactly come to fruition. We were given the option of going down the waterfall for a second time. While I was recovering from my anxiety attack, visibly upset from not being as good as I hoped, and ready to throw in the towel, Adam convinced me to conquer my fears, push aside my anxiety, and try it for a second time. It is true, we drove all the way to the Poconos for this waterfall rappelling adventure. What did I have to lose, I mean, besides my dignity?

So I marched back up the the falls, not amused, to finish what I started and get down this waterfall without falling a single time.

Well, that did not happen because…suddenly half way down I slipped and slammed against the rock wall. Everything that I mentioned above happened, but magnified by 20. I was defeated. I froze and panic set it. 
Looking up the waterfall at Adam and down at the guide, I tried to figure out the fastest way down the waterfall as quick as possible. Adam came down and helped me down the rest of the way. Somehow, I made it down in one piece and I could not have done it without him. 
So was I the best, as I expected? 
Depends on what best you are talking about.
The best at almost drowning?
The best at falling?
The best at witty comebacks and commentary?
Then yes, I most certainly was the best! But, I am proud of myself. Proud that I took the steps to overcoming and work through my anxiety. Proud that I did something I normally would not do. And proud that I did not give up. While my experience was slightly frightening, Adam loved it and would do it in a heartbeat.  
I, however, might need a xanax.
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