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Adventures in Puerto Vallarta

Puerto Vallarta was a ton of fun. It was full of unexpected twists and turns (literally) but fun. Before we left for the trip. My brother-in-law, Collen, and his partner, Michael, had already mentioned an excursion but dealing with plantar fasciitis, I didn’t think much of it. I thought that Corey and I would just hang out by the pool while Collen and Michael completed the excursion. As it got closer and closer to “the” day, I became more confident that I could pull it off. My feet weren’t throbbing and had fared well with the walking we had done thus far. And, it didn’t seem like a “ton” of walking. Corey probably asked me 10 times if I was sure I was up for it. See, my feet have been an issue since the summer of '21.

I got up that morning, put in my custom insoles, and set off for an adventure. The excursion started with a 30-minute speed boat ride to a small fishing town. The scenery was beautiful and gliding across the water was exhilarating. Once we arrived, we had to climb onto a pier that had steps created out of sandbags. That’s when I started to get nervous. Where in the world were we and why wasn’t this considered unsafe? All along the coast, people were fishing, and kids were swimming and playing. It was something that you see on TV. Ok, I loosened up and boarded the open-air SUPER Jeep thingy that took up into the mountains/rainforest. It did have seatbelts, but it was a rough ride and I felt like we were driving forever.

We passed small local restaurants, schools, and homes.

We arrived at the adventure park (that was tucked away in the middle of nowhere) and we were met by our guide right away. We were allowed to use the restroom and fitted with our gear. Our safety briefing lasted all of 5 minutes. No lie. Again, what in the world was I thinking and was it too late to run. After a few pictures (by their photographer) because no phones were allowed, for safety reasons, we headed to the mules. Yes, mules. We were briefed again. “The mules have a built in GPS, hold on but not too tight, keep your back straight, pull the reigns to slow them down, but they should do the rest.” I thought, “This is it. This is how I will meet my maker.” I was the next to the last to get a mule and we headed further up the mountain. I always feel sorry for animals forced to work BUT at that moment, I was thankful I didn’t have to make that climb. Their living quarters were clean. They looked well care for and so I let the thoughts slip my mind. I just knew my mule was going to take off and I was going to plunged (to my death) down the side of the mountain. But, she was well behaved and I made it. Riding a mule made me tired. I felt like I used every muscle in my body to keep from falling off that thing. There was a short climb (about 30 steps) to the first zip line. I’ll admit. I was out of breath. I don’t know why because there hadn’t been much walking. I know I’m out of shape, but I was surprised at how I felt and we hadn’t did anything yet! We had another brief safety meeting about how zip lines work and then we were off.

I have zip lined before, in Puerto Rico, and I loved it. The first zipline went off without a hitch. And, thus the beginning of a 4 hour adventure. During those 4 hours, I rappelled down a waterfall. I hiked through dense landscape and through streams. You know what? I don’t think I saw any bugs. Anyway, I crossed steep suspension bridges and splashed in freshwater pools. There was a waterslide between the ziplines that helped cool us off. The water at the end of that waterslide was deep. Corey and I thought we had drowned. Basically, you followed the course. There is hiking involved. Some areas had ropes for balance and others, well you had to do your best not to fall and die. After the 3rd or 4th zipline, I don’t think I felt my feet. I think they were numb. Close to the end was the roller coaster zip line. It wasn’t scary. I just didn’t like the “drop” feeling. I screamed the whole time. Well, until the ending, which is a pool of freshwater. Again, I thought I had drowned. Ok, I’m exaggerating. I can swim but rounding a corner and then being dunked into water… Well, I just wasn’t prepared for it.

I waited for Corey and we crossed the stream together. Well, not before he tripped and fell in. There were a few more ziplines after that, a couple of scary bridges and a platform. Oh, and the last zipline was on something that looked like a surfboard. We got to the last part- what I had been dreading since I heard about it. The waterslide with the longest drop in Mexico and I was about to chicken out. Out of everything I did that day, I really, really didn’t want to go on the waterslide. I had two choices- I could take the water slide or hike the rest of the way down the mountain. So, here goes nothing. There is a video right before I am pushed down. It’s like I’m in a trace. I’m terrified. I just scream all the way down. When I finally come to a stop, the first half of our group asked, “Are you ok?” They had already started drying off and enjoying the refreshments. I did it! I made it. After everyone in our group had finished, we were allowed to change. Our gear had been removed before the last water slide. I didn’t even care that it was an “open air” changing room, I was cold and wet, and I wanted out of my clothes. I took off everything and dried off and then dressed in the clothes that I’m thankful I bought.

We had margaritas and quesadillas before the start back to Puerto Vallarta. During that time, I got a chance to see our pictures. All 100+ of them. Most were hilarious.

About an hour later, we boarded the jeep and headed back to the pier to take the boat back. The sun was setting, and it was breathtaking. I felt wonderful! I just knew I’d need a nap when I got back to the condo but surprisingly, I was energized. We got back, showered, and had our last dinner before our flight the next day. I got up the next morning and I still felt ok. I thought, “Maybe I’m not as old as I think I am. Maybe I’m in better shape than I realize.” Let me tell you… I was wrong. It was the adrenaline. We arrived home on Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning when Corey and I got up, everything hurt. It even hurt to blink. I felt like I had been in a car accident. I couldn’t lift my head off the pillow. I couldn’t lift myself off of the toilet. My feet were on fire. Tylenol and Advil did nothing but laugh at my pain. Even my hands hurt. I think it was the death grip I had on the bridges because I didn’t want to slip. By Saturday, we were moving around a little better and laughing at how we had been limping around the previous days. I ended up seeing my podiatrist and having injections in both feet. Those injections HURT but after 2 days, I felt like I could tap dance. Now, it’s PT. Ugh! After all of that, I’d do it all over again. If I go back to Puerto Vallarta, I’d book the excursion again but this time, I’m hiking back down. I’m not taking that waterslide.


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