As some of my Facebook followers and most all of my friends know, last week we returned from our first trip to Alaska to visit our property located along the Robertson River. We were welcomed by our wonderful friends the Timm family and somewhat reluctantly (for me) participated in their annual Highland Games celebration, which was really started 6 years ago as a birthday party for, whom we consider our little sis, Molly! For most, you would think the potential of being attacked by bears or wolves would be scarier, but the fear of being an Irish dismal failure was the only thing on my mind. This year we made changes to our original schedule to be able to attend the games and how excited we were that it even required that we dress up in what we could find as our finest Scottish/Irish attire.
The Hatchet Throw – Truly one of the most exciting things I wanted to attempt to master even if I didn’t win anything during the games. I’ve always been intrigued by knife throwing and wielding a hatchet brought just as much excitement to mind as a knife. I practiced the day before the games and seemed to get pretty good until my arm got tired and then the day of the games I was beat out of 3rd place, but made it to the throw off! I was proudly taking the 4th place spot this year, losing out to a fellow Ginger-haired lass!
The 15-Pound Stone Toss – For me, this was a little tough, but certainly not intimidating. We lined up behind a board and tossed a 15-pound stone as far as we could to attempt to earn a spot in the top 3. Though it sounds simple enough, my I resorted to the granny toss to get my stone to a little over 10 feet. We all start somewhere right!?!
The Cross-Cut Saw Team Event – Of course I teamed up with my Hubs for this event and it seemed so fitting since we were visiting our “off the grid” friends which require a lot of firewood for the brutally cold winters that are coming soon! Sadly, we didn’t have a photo taken of us participating in this event and our first-timer score was 44 seconds. We took it proudly and know that next year we just have to work a little bit harder!
The Caber Toss – Ok, so this was my ‘HOLY CRAP I can’t do that!‘ moment! What is a Caber you ask . . . a roughly trimmed tree trunk used in the Scottish Highland sport of tossing the caber . This involves holding the caber upright and running forward to toss it so that it lands on the opposite end. Yes, you must toss this and have it fly end-over-end to even qualify to move on to the next round. As I attempted to practice this the day before the games I was totally intimidated and even injured myself a little by ripping out one of my earrings. After which I proclaimed, I’m out! There were 5 Cabers for the tossing beginning with a 13′ and progressing to 14′, 15′ and variations of weight for the 16′. As the day of the games came I realized that women were allowed to receive assistance with picking up the Caber from the ground so I opted to give it another shot which meant if I failed YET AGAIN, it would be in front of everyone at the games. The pressure was ON! So, thankfully my Hubs helped me heave up the 13′ qualifying Caber and I was able to earn 1 point (not the full 3) to move forward to round 2 for the Women. As we moved to the 14′ Caber, it seemed much easier and less wonky (yep, technical word there) and I was able to get it end-over-end for the full 3 points coming in second behind our little sis, Molly! She’s a “no help required” Highland Games BEAST! I got a medal for 2nd place and I was so happy that I pushed past my fear and gave it a shot!
As we ended the day, I pointed out how rare it was to have so many Ginger’s in one place to me and I had to get all of my fellow fair-skinned friends together for a shot while we were still dressed in our Highland Games attire.
As I reflected back on the day I was overwhelmed with great pride. Not just that we were celebrating our ancestral heritage, but that I was actually able to participate in the games. Doing things to continue to challenge myself, that even though primitive, were physically challenging and amazing all at the same time! Sometimes even the smallest win gives us confidence to bigger and better things to grow as an individual! Lesson Learned – Never let FEAR hold you back from at least trying! We are excited at the notion of being able to return in 2015 to participate in the games again and to revisit our friends and our property to make even more lasting memories!
Coming next week, Part 2 of 3 of our 2014 Alaskan Adventure!