Somewhere along the Green River, ripping over ridges of waves in Eric Pehota's jet boat, I suddenly realized that I had no idea where I was.
I spend a lot of time in the Pemberton area, but rarely get into its waterways or airspace. It was briefly disconcerting and then rather thrilling to see the region in totally new ways last Thursday (June 10), thanks to tours arranged by Pemberton's Economic Development Commission, Tourism Pemberton and the Chamber of Commerce.
Seeing the area from a jet boat and then a graceful glider was both a ton of fun and a valuable reminder of the importance of constantly shaking up your perspective on anything and everything. There's never just one way of looking at something, be it a mountain, river, town, idea or person; changing tacks and trying new angles is invaluable.
Speeding along Pemberton rivers in the Whistler Jet Boating craft piloted by the experienced and knowledgeable Pehota, I started to get an entirely new sense of the way Pemberton is divided up by waterways, and why Pehota has said he loves "the different perspective you get from a river."
Even though it wasn't much lower than I usually stand on the ground in the Pemberton area, the view from his boat revealed an even taller and (to me) more forbidding Mount Currie than usual. It also brought us closer to fascinating bird activities and low-lying wetlands that are expected to be protected soon by a provincial wildlife management area, bringing into sharp focus a reminder of the beautiful things going on below as I whip along the roads.
I also now have a new perspective on the laconic phrase "you may want to hang on a bit, here." When Pehota says that, he sounds utterly relaxed - but mere mortals should grab on tight with two hands on something stable before he whips his craft into a 180-degree turn or plunges through waves to the delighted shrieks of his passengers.
And then it was up into the air for a breathtakingly graceful glider flight with the Pemberton Soaring Centre. From high above, the region seems so small and so perfectly formed.
It's easier to think of the whole area as a unified whole when you're soaring high above, where the individual parts - farmlands, homes, Village, Industrial Park, airport, waters, trails, rolling mountains - look like clean-edged puzzle pieces snapping easily together. I couldn't see any friction from way up there; it was all clarity and peace.
Later that evening, I hustled off to line up at the back of the pack for my first-ever Whistler Toonie Ride. That "race" changed my perspective on myself as someone who can ride a bike up a big hill: not so much, apparently.
In my own defence, my gears were wonky and wouldn't flip down into first, so at the beginning of each hill I struggled along briefly on the too-hard setting and then promptly gave up to push my uncooperative steed. As the wonderful and patient Kim VanLochem - formerly known to the many fans of her writing in The Question as Kim Thompson - said toward the end of our "ride," it was fun to take my bike for a walk. Truly.
If anyone was wondering who finished last in the June 10 Toonie, let there be no doubt: I owned last place! But I had started off mentally prepared to finish dead last - the kind of last where everyone has packed up and gone by the time you reach the line - so it was a pleasant surprise to find myself keeping up with the back of the pack and finishing while there was still a lineup for burgers.
With big thanks to Kim for the encouragement and support to get out there, I should note one more way last Thursday helped me shift my perspective: I guess I can start thinking of myself as the kind of person who can sort of complete a Toonie Ride. At long last!