Let me begin this entry with 35!! Thirty-five, 35 of us, amazingly phenomenal, simply magical, and bad to the bone, GirlTrek Sheroes sprinkled all kindsa (I know that's not a word, so what, it fits,) Black Girl Healing, and Black Girl Magic in that park. Know that Tallulah Gorge, and the Falls at Tallulah Gorge have forever been changed and affected by the presence of such undeniable joy multiplied times 35!!!
Although we have taken on Tallulah Falls before, (chapter 3, on 11.11.17) this one was as different as each ch8se has proven to be. Each ch8se literally writes its own story, thus the reasoning behind coining each a chapter. Now that we have 10 previous ch8es under our belt, we've been able to find a rhythm and formula to the preparation and planning of each adventure to make the magic manifest. The return to Tallulah, as did the time before started with a lot of planning and preparing the ch8sers for the adventure ahead.
Chapter 11 welcomed six new ch8sers to the ch8sing waterfalls family. Ya'll, we proudly welcomed one lady who took a bus ride from Memphis, TN (my hometown) to scoop up her daughter, here in GA, and both join us on this ch8se. The fact that these two women were motivated to ch8se with us and travel such a distance continues to speak volumes to my spirit. You will have to ch8se with us to truly understand how contagious and infectious ch8sing waterfalls is. It blesses me that someone else appreciates the beauty found in nature. It humbles me that others love this passion as much as I do, and it amazes me that the desire for more continues to build.
Prior to the ch8se it is important that each lady understands the requirements, the intensity, and the terrain she is about to embark upon. Within the event invite, we maintain continual conversations to ensure that each lady is prepared. This ch8se presented stairs, lots, and lots of stairs, 1062, and a suspension bridge.
Conversations ensued regarding the number of stairs and length of the bridge. For some, the challenge proved too much to comprehend, and they decided not to join the ch8se; however, 34 joined me and body slammed both the stairs and the bridge. Yep, body slammed!
We had one lady who just months ago was unable to cross the bridge without closing her eyes and being guided by a sista friend to get her across. Months later, this same lady, found the courage, amongst her army of sistas, to not only tackle the bridge solo, but she ended up being an anchor of strength for a sista who was in the very same position she was months prior. You read that right, the sista that was afraid to cross before, was now helping another sista conquer her fears and cross the bridge, not once, but twice.
Remember, there are 35 of us, and we each present with our own backpacks, luggage, fears, doubts, call it what you want, but we all carried something to that gorge, and straight left it there.
When it's time to face fears and doubt head on, what better way to do so, than with an army of like minded soldiers on your side? Truly, what better way? When you are literally near paralyzed with fear, and decide to stay behind while your sistas go ahead, the super shero strength of the squad transcends, and before you know it, you are on the other side of the suspension bridge, that nearly stopped you from your victory. This was the story of one of the ch8sers this day. She felt she could not do it, and despite the support of the squad, the encouragement and motivation, she decided no, she would stay behind and wait on us. So she thought! As the 34 crossed the bridge, hesitantly leaving her waving on the other side, (while deciding I would stay with her,) the cheers, the cries, the emotional roar of support overtook the gorge, and that sista was crossing that bridge like it was solid ground. Ya'll she did the dang thang! We had a real spirit filled celebration at the end of her journey across that bridge. The air was filled with excitement, and hearts filled with pride, as we witnessed this sister slay doubt and flip fear over the bridge. Powerful it was, absolutely powerful.
The victory experienced by one of our sistas was simply venturing out into the woods. The fear of snakes and the unknown almost stopped her from enjoying the adventure, but guess who stomped those fears, and proved to be more than a conqueror. In this sista, I witnessed the truth of "I AM MY SISTAS KEEPER!!!" You see, sometimes, well, often times, it's not about us at all, but about something far, far greater than us. From my vantage point, I saw a sista put her fears aside to support her sista, and together they enjoyed the sweet victory of being fear defeators. That's love! That's ch8sing waterfalls.
There is so much more than the waterfall in the ch8se, so much more.
Fears unfold in so many sneaky ways, and can truly eliminate the adventure and the reward if given into. Everytime we ch8se, everytime, there are countless victories, whether big or small, there is always a victory in the midst.
Did I mention stairs? You do know that what goes down, must come.....yeah, you get it. We've now descended to the base, conquered the bridge, and tossed out fears, now it's time for the reverse. We pause to hydrate and fuel for the climb. Of course, we pack first aid, snacks, and hydration. We stay ready!! Besides, we are so GirlTrek!
We model the GirlTrek code, and no woman is ever left behind, even when the one was about to stay, we were prepared to have someone stay with her. No one is ever left behind. We stop to get our minds right, have our own internal prayer time, speak to our knees and begin the ascension. Each of us, one step at a time, at our own pace, we put in work and handle those stairs. No lie, it was tough. We felt every step and even said a few special words on the climb. We encouraged, motivated, supported one another, and like gang busters, all rose to the top of 1062 stairs. We rejoiced and celebrated with the victory bridge.
I get all in my feelings with humility when I hear the conversations of the ch8sers, when I see the amazement on their faces, especially those who have never seen a live waterfall in person. I enter into a fortress of gratitude and a uncontrollable happy place when the ch8sers find the same joy, and the same peace I experience on each adventure.
This is ch8sing waterfalls.
The ch8se ends with the victory bridge; however, the adventure does not stop there. The culmination of the entire experience happens when we all sit and enjoy a meal together. The chapter is not complete without a meal. This ch8se was no different.
Chapter 11 took us to Fortify Kitchen and Bar in Clayton, GA. The place was perfect for us. We had our own dinning room where we enjoyed recapping the day, the stairs, and the bridge. We shared stories of victory and reward. We celebrated one another, acknowledged our educators returning to the class rooms, and simply embraced all of the black girl magic in that one space, in that one place in time. It was magical.
The ch8se love continues, and so do the ch8sers. We have collectively taken on over 13 waterfalls with countless more to go. We're evolving, evolve with us.
Until we ch8se again, stay tuned for more..........