Monday — never an easy time for the outdoors enthusiast. After a weekend of adventure, returning to the humdrum work-a-day world can make one melancholy. To help ease the transition, every Monday we feature a 90 Second Escape — essentially, a 90-second video or slide show of a place you’d probably rather be: a trail, a park, a greenway, a lake … anywhere as long as it’s not under a fluorescent bulb.
“We had a slot open up for Over The Edge and you were the first person I thought of to fill it.”
Over the Edge — that thing where you rappel off a 12-story building?
“It’s only 11,” Chuck said. “You don’t need to give me an answer now. Take a minute to think about it.”
I wasn’t sure how to take being the “first person” thought of to go over the side of an 11-story building. “Chuck, if I take a minute to think about it I’ll say no. So I’ll say yes now.”
Over The Edge is a fundraiser in which non-profits raise money by getting supporters to rappel over the side of a building. An individual can raise the minimum pledge of $1,000 to participate, or an individual can offer to go over the edge if others raise $1,000. A principal, say, or a management type whose employees would gladly ante up. The size of the drop varies. Last year, Special Olympics raised money by sending people off the 32-story Wells Fargo Capitol Center in downtown Raleigh. Saturday, we’ll be going over the edge of the 11-story Smoketree Tower in North Raleigh’s Highwoods Office Center as a fundraiser for the Occoneechee Council of the Boy Scouts of America. (Point of note: I’ll be dangling 150 feet up courtesy of Great Outdoor Provision Co., which is helping to promote the event. GOPC’s Prime Minister of Culture Chuck Millsaps is the one who envisioned me going over the edge.)
I’m not crazy about heights. I’m also not comfortable with my record of late of stepping outside my comfort zone. I realized this earlier in the week interviewing Betty Woodard, Director of Nursing Research & Evidence Based Practice at WakeMed. She and her husband had just gotten back from Belize, where they went cave tubing, scuba diving and ziplining. She mentioned an upcoming trip to Duck. I said she should checkout the tandem hang-gliding lesson at Kitty Hawk, where an ultralight tows you and an instructor to 2,000 feet, then cuts you lose; Her eyes lit up. I realized it a couple days ago when 102-year-old Dorothy Custer base-jumped off a bridge in Idaho, then grumbled that the 486-foot plummet to earth was too short. I realized it this morning at my climbing gym when I struggled with a 5.8 climb, and I’d been doing 5.9s six months ago.
I need something that will shake me loose. Stepping over the side of an 11-story building should do it.
Anyone who successfully goes over is christened an “Edger.” I’ll report back afterward and let you know if I’ve earned that distinction.