Courageous camaraderie on West Virginia’s New and Gauley rivers

I was the last one onboard after some serious convincing and still I wonder how they persuaded me to go whitewater rafting when I didn’t even know what whitewater rafting was. But my friends’ energy, love, and excitement pushed me to a level of intrigue, trust, and adventure that I couldn’t have imagined.

Prior to that, I honestly didn’t have a desire or see a need to travel anywhere without my husband. Once I decided to go, I shared the news with him. He was actually all for it; so, in July 2009, we jumped into a truck and drove from Detroit to West Virginia for an escapade on the New and Gauley rivers.

The morning of the adventure I was excited and nervous. We prayed, we squealed with excitement, and we held moments of silence just to get our minds ready. For a city girl like me, even the drive through town was a reminder that I was in unfamiliar territory.

Our hearts pumping, we prepared ourselves for our first rapid—a level 3! Our mission, to not fall out of the raft. When we conquered that rapid without losing passengers, confidence washed over us. Again, we took on this challenge a few more times and were simply thrilled with ourselves. There were high fives all around and a lot of exhaling.

rafting

Just when we thought things were settling down, a large wave swept our guide from the raft. Pure panic set in as we witnessed fear surge across our guide’s face. Thankfully, a few of us moved into action, holding out the end of the paddle as our guide instructed us in the beginning. Of course that was in case one of us fell off, not her.

In just a few short hours, we shared moments of fear, excitement, and triumph. None of us fell out of the raft! We bonded and emerged victorious!
All for 1 rafting

Encouraging one another and sharing the adrenaline and excitement of the day felt great. While we were individuals with unique journeys, we came together to support and push one another to overcome any fears prior to our next adventure… Because there surely would be another adventure.

© Copyright DARE DIVAS 2016

Freestyling into friendship on Michigan’s Boyne Mountain

Pic for Mias Fav DD Trip copy

One oDare Divas at Boyne Mountainf my most memorable trips was in 2010. It was only our second adventure together, and we were still getting to know one another—our likes, dislikes, fears and passions—but didn’t yet have a name for our group.

For this trip to the Boyne Mountain Ski Resort in Northern Michigan, we decided to embark on a spiritual, vegan fast. During the four-hour drive from Detroit, we talked excitedly about the numerous foods we packed into coolers in the vehicle’s hatch and how creative we would be in preparing vegan meals in our rented weekend kitchen.

I think bDare Divas at Boyne Mountain3ecause of the fast and because we were praying diligently through it, God opened our hearts and minds to
relax, relate and release. Without realizing it, we began forming an unconditional and non-Dare Divas at Boyne Mountain2judgmental sisterhood/friendship. We were bonding through laughter until tears freely flowed, and we shared our life stories.

We talked about our upcoming dare, what we thought we were going to do on the ski slopes and later compared that to what we actually did. We were simply hilarious as first time skiers! The four of us zipped-lined through snow-covered mountains, some of us upside down, and skied until the “Spirit of Non-Stop” (an inside joke) flowed no more as we literally plowed through barricades trying to perfect the pizza position and watched 7-year-olds dust us in the snow.

Soon, it hit us. “WOW,” we said. “Something amazing is happening.” We built an unbreakable bond built on service, dares and sisterly love.

© Copyright DARE DIVAS 2016

Next stop: Climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro

Has there ever been a feat in your life that seemed so insurmountable you had no idea how to master it, weather it, or endure it?

Those times in life can be chilling… basically, they can take your breath away.

We all have been there. No one will walk away from this planet unscathed from that one moment (or several) where the floor underneath your feet shifts and causes you to adapt, adjust, and somehow find your way.

The Dare Divas are set to tackle a big mountain. It is gargantuan. It stands 16,000 feet tall; the altitude is thin; and if not properly equipped, the trek can be hair-raising and dangerous. So there is the disclaimer.

WHY CLIMB?

Top of Mt. Kilimanjaro - Uhuru Peak, 5895 m
Uluru Peaks, the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, Africa, is 19,340-foot climb.  Credit iStock.

IT IS A JOURNEY OF A LIFETIME. Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania is the highest mountain in Africa and has been trekked by both seasoned and novice hikers since the 1800s. You don’t need to be an expert climber to do this. This will be the first time the Dare Divas have ever climbed. We each will check with our physicians and get the OK, but we know it is DOABLE.

The six-day trek is manageable, and we will have expert guides on hand to help along the way.  We are doing it because, well, WE CAN. And so can you. Even if we don’t make it to the top — to be honest the top is not the goal, trying is the goal – we will be successful.

Won’t you come with us?

This journey, trekking Mt. Kilimanjaro can be your way to celebrate a recent accomplishment. Maybe you need to heal and need this outlet, or you need to add a zest of life to your mundane one.  Whatever your reason, join the Dare Divas as we hike Mt. Kilimanjaro in 2018.

Join in on the fun, the adventure, and the hike of a lifetime. More information is to come.

But, first let’s start the conversation, what about the hike makes you thrilled, nervous, excited?

Let’s talk about it all right here…

Rallying bravery, honoring unity at 14,000 feet

We all were amped. We put on our Top Gun suits with pride, placed on our aviator sunglasses, got instructions about our parachute, walked toward the airplane like Navy Seals on a special mission, and boarded.  We pranced and danced and sang “To Infinity and beyond,” our little chant to fire-up courage and quiet fear.
 
I felt like a top-dog, until I was next up to skydive. With my tandem instructor behind me, I did the unthinkable. I looked down.  The wind violently coursed through my lungs as my tandem instructor counted, “1-2-3,” and then hurled us into the atmosphere. I felt like a boulder rushing to land. Nothing was in my control as I bolted toward earth with speed that felt like lightning. But, my spirit quieted and I relaxed.
Even before the second parachute deployed, softening the brutal speed, I knew God was holding my heart, and I was safe. The glide down was the best. I saw the beauty of earth…tops of trees, vast land, translucent sky, and tiny specs that were homes.
 
When all four DARE DIVAS jumped and landed, we formed a circle of love, hair tousled, sweat trapped inside our jump suits, laughing, hugging, and thankful it all ended with each of us solidly on ground and intact. 
 
There are times when you just have to jump, and you have to do it alone; but it is so sweet when you land and others are there to celebrate with you. That is why skydiving on that sweet August 2014 day with the Dare Divas was my favorite dare of them all.

 Find out how this thrilling skydive brought Sheri Hunter back to life. 

© Copyright DARE DIVAS 2016

Learning on the fly at North Carolina’s NASCAR speedway

Angenette by NASCARMy favorite dare, so far, was the NASCAR Racing Experience. Growing up in Detroit with a household full of car guys who could quote Chilton repair manuals chapter and verse, I regularly overheard conversations filled with exotic words like “chassis”, “engine torque” and “suspension systems”.

And even though I barely understood a word of what they were saying, the message was clear: Cars are cool; and the faster, the better. Once I learned how to drive, I wanted a piece of the action. Unfortunately for me though, my first car was a well-worn
1976 Chevy Chevette with a 4-speed manual transmission (stick shift) …not exactly the stuff an aspiring car girl’s dreams are made of. It didn’t matter though. The seed was planted; and like Walter Mitty, my imagination was fertile ground.

Fast forward to December 2015 when the DARE DIVAS decided to drive actual NASCAR race cars on the Charlotte Motor Speedway in North Carolina. I was so thrilled you could have knocked me over with a feather. When we finally arrived at the race track, I couIMG_2618ld feel my adrenaline pumping as drivers revved their engines and cars took steeply banked turns at super high speeds. Let. Me. At. It.

And then I noticed something that snapped me out of my own thoughts and opened my eyes to the best thing about being a DARE DIVA. I saw my girls nervously chatting with one another and grilling our instructor about what to expect once we got out there. I really wanted to know too, but there was something about the way they sought out information that grabbed my attention. They pressed in and listened carefully out of sheer determination to do this despite any fear or uncertainty that was trying to bubble up inside.

Angenette, Mia, Brenda NASCAR jumpThey defiantly stepped out of their comfort zones. I watched them steel their nerves and learn how to drive a stick shift for the first time – on a NASCAR race car, no less! Then, when the time came, we each slid into our cars in true “Dukes of Hazzard” style; and after giving each other a vigorous thumbs up, we held on to all 900 of those “horses” and went on the rides of our lives! We were exhilarated, empowered, and scared as all get-out – but we were in this thing together. And that’s what’s in the heart of a true DARE DIVA.

© Copyright DARE DIVAS 2016