My First Montana Sled

My First Montana Sled

Checked my gloves, winter jacket, waterproof pants, boots and hat; I was ready to embark on a new adventure. I, my husband and brother-in-law, Kip and Jordan were on our way to Lawrence Park, in Kalispell, to do that which we had been itching to do: sledding. Green day music blasted as we drove our RV along Main Street. I was at the front seat, gripping tightly while we fish tailed on the icy road. I knew this day was going to be awesome.

My husband, who grew up skiing the Big Sky Mountain, kept telling me how fun it was to sled and that I should try it. I believed him. But as a first-timer, I had mixed emotions. I felt scared yet determined to take this one off of the many firsts I have in life. He seemed to notice my will power. Gave me a nice rub on the shoulder and uttered, “You can do this!”.

Lawrence Park was packed with people—mostly parents and their kids. The parking was on the upper part of the hill and the venue of fun was a little bit below. Few steps away from our RV, there was a bunny hill occupied by children. My husband asked me if I wanted to give it a shot. I jumpily said yes. So he took my sled and sat on its back part. He signaled me to sit at the front.  At the count of three, we slid down. I screamed frantically like a dying cat. Then it was over. I’d be honest, it was seamless. I can tell that my husband is a pro by the way he controlled the slide. Having him by my side made me feel protected. It was such a relief. We continued pacing farther because Kip and his brother didn’t like to play with the children. Two grown men sleighing with kids on a small hill would have been awkward.

After almost five minutes of walking, we found a bigger hill which Jordan called “adult hill”. It was not all covered in snow. Just in the middle. Both sides were grass and rocks. We trekked its steepness up to look for big stones that could hurt us. It was tough for me to climb since I couldn’t breathe properly in a cold weather. My petite nose in particular, was not built to survive winter. It hurts to breathe a little but I just shrugged it. I wanted to have fun. Once we decided the area was cleared of any hindrances, the adventure began.

We went halfway up the hill to do our first round. It would be me and Kip again, with him taking control. This time he’s giving me instructions. I assured him that I understood. After he said “Okay”, he kicked, just like he would start our Volkswagen Golf engine. It was an absolute bliss. It happened so fast that I didn’t even have time to get scared.

“Did you like it?” He asked.

“Of course,” I said.

“Now it’s your turn alone.”

“What?!” I responded.

I couldn’t believe he wanted me to do this alone. My mood changed quickly. This time it would be just me. It’s not that I don’t trust myself just that I’ve never done this before. I managed to look calm but inside the thoughts of killing myself frightened me. I would never get the chance to finish my study; I would never get the chance to have babies. It’s the end of me. Although I didn’t want to, I just followed what he said because I love him. However stupid it might sound, I’ve got to face this. I climbed back up until I reached the top.

“That’s my girl!”

His words echoed from where I stood. Up there, were a couple of people looking weirdly at me. I must have looked awful with unkempt, low ponytailed hair. My mind was blank. I couldn’t think. My heart was beating very fast. I put my sled down and sat. This is it. Before the spirit of fear even got the chance to possess me, the gravity pulled me down. As my sled began moving, I knew there’s no turning back. It’s do or die.

The ground was not smooth at all. I tried so hard to concentrate. I could see the snow fly in slow motion while I raked them up to the sky. Some of them went to my eyes making me half blinded. In few seconds I was turning left to the grass. I put weight on my butt to turn back. How I wished this nightmare would end soon but for some reason, it seemed to be taking longer than when I was with my husband. I coasted left towards the grass again so I turned right; this time, I had it rough. I overly stirred, lost my track and hit a rock. I went flying off five feet. I didn’t know what’s going on anymore. I totally lost control of everything. Next thing I know, I was laying on the snow. Bones aching.

Kip and Jordan helped me up. I felt like a withered flower, unable to stand straight. Where did all my energy go? My kind husband pointed to the culprit rock that almost killed me. It took me couple minutes to realize I had broken my plastic sled and—my tailbone. Thank God, I didn’t break my neck!

I could’ve refused to do this alone in the first place. My husband would’ve never insisted. But I didn’t. Because I always believe that in life, there are constant challenges. We can choose to be passive, let it slide, or face it with courage. I’ve always been passive my whole life. This time I want to live differently. It’s time to show what I’ve got and thrive. Helen Keller once said, “Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. The fearful are caught as often as the bold.” I agree.

Traumatized, my husband dragged me lying face down on my wagon back to the RV. It was indeed an awesome day!

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