Parallel Trails is all about family snow and mountain adventures. We are passionate about skiing and families who love to ski. And families who love summer mountain holidays. This ski travel website aims to help you enjoy the perfect family ski holiday. It includes tips and advice so families can enjoy skiing holidays in parallel with their children - the team behind Parallel Trails love to ski as a family so we know how good it feels to go skiing with your children. Parallel Trails is an independent ski travel site for the family ski market, offering practical and honest articles on family ski holidays and family skiing. Why don't you join us on our online family snow & mountain adventure. © Parallel Trails 2018
Hello! Let me introduce myself – I am the mum part of the Parallel Trails team. We started this journey together eight years ago and I’ve been the ‘quiet one’ - until now that is! As we embark on new adventures I find myself with more and more to say – in my head mostly – and as I chat along with friends of a similar age, I’ve realised that some of our adventures are no mean feat when you’re getting older, a little out of shape and your job has drummed into you the need to risk assess everything (I’m a teacher by the way).
An adventurer at heart, I’ve done a fair bit of travelling but mostly when I was a lot younger and with my invincibility intact. So, when faced with the prospect of new and exciting challenges I can’t really turn them down but I can’t deny that my stomach does a few turns at the same time! Skiing has been at the heart of Parallel Trails and as a family we have grown together doing it. There was a blip seven years ago when I ruptured my ACL but that’s another story, which you can read about here.
So, every year before we go skiing I vow to myself that I must get fitter, stronger and braver in order to face new challenges on the slopes but nothing prepared me for the mental gymnastics of this year’s summer adventure.
Let’s go to the Pyrenees we said – we love it there! What shall we do and where shall we go we said – it wasn’t long before we had our action-packed itinerary planned! A whistle-stop, adrenalin-pumping experience for all the family. The boys were beyond excited; me – a little bit apprehensive.
The itinerary – e-biking, canyoning, via ferrata, rafting, mountain scooters – when I told my book club ladies over the weeks running up to the trip I could visibly see the colour drain from their cheeks and heard comments such as “rather you than me”, “are you sure that’s wise”, “not a very relaxing holiday is it”. Whilst I heard what they were saying, at the same time I was quite proud of my future self already – embarking on adventure activities at my age – that’s pretty cool.
So, day one was e-biking – a gentle introduction to our activities but physically strenuous nevertheless. Bearing in mind, fitting rigorous exercise into an already jam packed life is tricky so to have managed 25km of off-road trail cycling up and down hills at speed was a small achievement in my world. Plus I have a war wound as proof that I’m an adventurer (thanks to a major wipe out on a steep hairpin bend!).
Going to bed that evening I did feel like I needed all my energy for the next day’s activity – not to mention nerves. Canyoning looked, from the pictures I’d seen to be a thrilling experience for the young and stupid and there I was lying in my bed, staring at the ceiling, contemplating what the next day had in store for me. I was terrified!
We arrived at our destination and in true French style (the only way in my eyes) our guide handed me the buoyancy wetsuit and helmet as if it were a perfectly normal thing to be doing; like a stroll in the park – you just can’t argue with that approach. I certainly wasn’t able to back out now!
Before I knew it I was clambering down the steep, stony path into the canyon and I obviously hadn’t realised but I was chatting to myself about all sorts of nonsense but when my son turned around and said “are you nervous Mum?”. I suddenly realised that I was indeed nervous.
Nerves soon turned to fear once again when we reached the river and saw a multitude of ‘nutters’ leaping off cliffs. I shouldn’t be here I thought to myself – I should be reading my book – I have loads of books to get through this summer. Again, I had no option – in a blink of an eye, adrenalin had led me to the top of the lowest cliff – the lowest! I was told “just step forward, don’t look down, look straight ahead”. So after a couple of minutes I did it – it was great! After that I ventured higher but I stopped short of the 8m jump as my risk assessment brain kicked in. It’s ok, I thought, it’s ok to be out of my comfort zone without going into the panic zone – I was proud of myself. I can do this!
Canyoning was a unique and wonderful experience, the mountain scooters experience wasn’t as adrenalin pumping but required a fair amount of nerves and go for it attitude. But after the canyoning I’d sorted that all out in my head. The rafting was lovely and a sedate version of what I’d done in my youth but again, I did it – it’s too easy as a mum to avoid doing these activities. Our confidence is diminishing year on year and our self -preservation is kicking in so it is definitely a challenge to get past your own head.
The full article about the action-packed family roadtrip is here. So you can read in detail what got up to.
In summary - I did it, I loved it and what’s more – I did it with my family. That is the most exciting and rewarding part of it, we had this wonderful, natural experience together and made memories. I could have stayed in the van and read my book but that wouldn’t have been an adventure, would it?