Saturday, September 26, 2009
So, the thing I have been looking forward to posting about the most is this: An epic trip centered around slacklining in various European cities. It started out as an idea between Kornie and I, however it ended up taking various twists and turns and ended up being another trip altogether.
We originally decided to hitchhike from Wroclaw to Berlin, Germany, then to Czech Republic for a slackline festival, then to Paris, France, and lastly to Barcelona, Spain before heading back to Poland. We planned to slackline in the streets for money in order to fund our trip. Janek decided to come along, so we embarked upon our epic adventure in the end of August.
Our first destination, Berlin, was fan-fucking-tastic. I love Berlin, it is a great city. Janek and Kornie had a friend there, Tomek (Soya) who worked at the Kegel climbing gym in the RAW gelander. Through him we also met Iana, who runs the Skatehalle there. We ended up staying at her place for the week we were there. It was great at first, spending all day hanging out in this awesome area of Berlin, slacklining or whatever we liked really. The first night we went to an awesome Burger restaurant (in what used to be a public toilet, now renovated) and set up a night slackline between the legs of the metal bridge while we waited for our foot. That was when I did my first double drop knee!
After a day we decided to start "work," and took a train to the Hackescher Markt stop, got off and walked around the Marks-Engels building until we found a suitable spot for a line. We made a Slacktrip sign on a piece of cardboard and propped it up on a tree with a jar underneath. At first not many people stopped by, but slowly they came, and took pictures, and some put change in out jar. It was working! We set up a white magic line about 20 meters long, and a shorter trick line with my tubular webbing. Later Janek and Kornie decided it would be better to move out show towards the street, so we moved. The unfortunate thing about this location was that it was right over concrete and uneven stone steps. Oh well! That never stops slackliners! After about 3 hours of doing all we could do, I was surfing on the white magic when I took a fall. It was a stupid fall, because I was surfing right over the uneven steps. My head was on a direct route for the stones, so I instinctively put my arm under me to catch my fall. This was an even worse idea, because I fell bad on my wrist. I went to the bench and sat down holding my injury and wincing at the pain, and within five minutes it had a huge swollen lump on the wrist. Bad news bears. Kornie suggested I go dunk my wrist in the fountain because the cold water would be good for it, so I went and submerged it for a bit. Pain was still a-coming! I went back over to the guys and actually slacklined a bit more, but found that it was an unpleasant feeling. After a bit we headed back to the Kegel, taking in 25 euros in earnings! Not too bad, at least I thought. It was enough to be able to eat. Tomek is very into medical stuff, and took a look at my wrist and decided it was a good idea to see a doctor the next day.
The previous day Iana had fallen in the bouldering gym in a bad way and jacked up her elbow very badly, so she was injured as well, and had to go to the hospital. It seemed to be a week of injuries. That same day two inexperienced climbers had quite an accident; the girl belaying the guy let him off the end of the rope when he fell, and he landed on the wooden roof over some bouldering, leaving a large human size hole in it. Smart. Anyhow, Iana and I were able to be injured buddies and the next day headed to a doctor together. I was shit outta luck because I had no insurance, so she was going to ask if it was at all possible for me to just use hers, however the doctor said No. We scheduled a visit the next day, so two days after the accident I finally met with a doctor. He grabbed my wrist and pressed in various spots, asking "does it hurt?" and I replied "no...no...kind of...YES YES OUCH OUCH OUCH!" so he said I needed an X-ray. So, downstairs we went, I had an X-ray, and when they were printed the very sensitive technician responded "oh ja, es ist Kaputt." Lovely Germans. And yes, I needed some form of cast. So, I was placed in a half-cast, hard on the bottom and wrapped with a bright red bandage. It would have to stay on for 4 weeks, basically the duration of my epic slacktrip. No highlining for Faith! Nooooooo!
Anyhow, while I was gallivanting around the doctors, Jordan Tybon had since joined the Epic trip, and the boys were out working to make some dough. They did quite well in some other locations, however when I returned to the Kegel they informed me of some great news: My slackline had broken. My lovely, tubular threaded webbing that had been so good to me for the half a year I owned it was ripped. It was still usable, but now the pieces were much shorter. Broken wrist and broken slackline. I think skulling a bottle of whiskey would have been understandable in my situation. Anyhow, the guys agreed they would all pitch in and use some of the earnings to buy me a new line eventually, so my broken heart was slightly mended.
After Berlin we were supposed to go to Czech Republic, and Kornie left a couple days early to stop in Wroclaw and see his girlfriend (oh, how romantic!)so Janek and I took off in that direction. Little did I know we would end up in Wroclaw as well. Due to personal reasons Janek decided not to come on the rest of the trip. I was not able to communicate with Kornie and he continued on to the festival, but it was too late for me to make it there, so I slept one night in Wroclaw and went straight back to Berlin the next day. It was my first hitchhiking alone, and I was a bit nervous since I had a kaputt wrist and was a lone female, however it was awesome! I made it from Wroclaw to Berlin in 4 hours! I hardly waited more than 10 minutes anywhere! Anyways, I went to Jordans to stay, and began my attempts at convincing him to come on the epic trip to Paris. Finally after some convincing he agreed to go, and we set out for France. Kornie and his roommate Szimon would meet us there. We made it to Paris fairly quickly, in two days, and stayed with a girl Jordan had couchsurfed with before.
In Paris things are quite expensive, so we started out work immediately. Kornie and Szimon stayed in another place with a girl they had met in Berlin, so in the day we would meet up with them wherever they were with the gear for setting up lines. We first tried a location near a giant fountain, where many people were passing by. I forgot to bring tree protection, so we used a lovely Nike shoe box. Professionals! It was going alright, though not many people were throwing us money. There was also a strange creepy man who was lurking around, and enjoyed sitting near the slackline with a shorts that had a hole in them so that one ball could hang out free. So gross! Three groups of French police came by, and yet all of them passed on after talking to us briefly. We had been there for at least two hours when the fateful group of Police came who destroyed our work environment. They said it was illegal, and that the slackline was a danger to all those people. If there was an emergency on the other side they would not be able to run through! These police were not the most friendly. They threatened Jordan to take him to the station just for yelling to the spectators that the "police were here to help you!" We still earned about 25 Euros in our time, enough to eat that night :)
Our next location was in front of the Arch of Triumph. It was an absolutely beautiful location. No police bothered us, though we only earned about 20 euros. Most people passing were taking more pictures of the Arch than watching us. It was not the best location because of the roundabout which was packed with traffic and the sound of automobiles was deafening. Either way, we were able to eat and drink cheap french wine, so all ended well.
The last location we slacked in was the best. It was near the Louve, on a stretch of sidewalk that had tourists passing constantly. We set up two lines, and encouraged passersby to stop and try. It was a great spot, many people tried, and many people stopped and read out signs and listened to our story. Jordan had to stand in as Janek as the resident jumper, and was getting quite tired. I was slacking as much as possible with my broken wrist, and hoping it did not scare people away from trying. We made 96 Euros in a couple hours there! Then it all went to shit as undercover police came and said it was "forbidden" to slackline or perform any type of art on that stretch of street. They were not nice either, these police. So, sadly and feeling a bit defeated we took our equipment down and headed to find some alcohol. Our earnings that day made up for the police being dickheads, though we wish we had been there longer.
The photographer Loc Boyle who lived at the flat Kornie and Szimon were staying at decided to take some nice shots of us, so we went to a park and all wore the same outfit: Leather gentleman's shoes, a blazer, jeans and a black shirt. I felt especially silly in this outfit, but agreed to wear it for the photographer's vision. It was difficult to walk in shoes that are way too large for your feet, plus I was attempting to try and hold my broken wrist behind my back and out of view. Anyway, the pictures turned out lovely. A super manly French policeman came on his little petit electric scooter and informed us it was impossible and forbidden to do what we were doing in the park, so we took our line down and moved on. Jordan by this time had decided to bail on the trip as well, and he headed back to Berlin.
The next destination was Barcelona, and Kornie and I split off to hitchhike leaving Szimon on his own. We had a difficult time getting through France, and it took the longest to get to Spain on the whole trip. Eventually Kornie and I were picked up by a great Spanish trucker who spoke no English but talked to us the whole time and bought us beers when we made it to Spain. That night a couple friends from Germany (students travelling) picked us up on their way to Barcelona, driving a 25 year old Passat Wagon named "Fritz." We stopped for the night on some beach outside Barcelona, drank wine, talked and eventually passed out in the sand. It was lovely, and the two Germans were pretty cool. In the morning we saw how beautiful out surroundings were! We played on the beach until about noon then headed to Barcelona. Szimon meanwhile had been having a terrible time since his nice camera was stolen that morning from under his feet. When we arrived in Barcelona we parked Fritz in a garage and split off from the Germans to find Szimon. That day we mostly just explored Barcelona, then later I was lost for 3 hours and finally found everyone again slacklining near La Rambla. As soon as I got on the line and began to do some static tricks the Spanish police pulled up and informed us it was "prohibido." Dammit! Not again!
We went to Guell Park, the one designed by Gaudi, and set up a slackline between two Palm tree's there. It turned out to be a great location. No police came, and it was just a fun environment. We made something like 24 euros in an hour, and we all wished we had come to that spot earlier. Slacklining with the view of Barcelona in the background is pretty dern nice. People were so friendly too, some tried the line, many were applauding, and in the end it was just a great experience despite the money. Two little girls even asked for my autograph! so sweet.
We moved to a place a bit farther away, under some palm trees over marble. We were all feeling a bit lazy I think and sort of gave up on attempting to make any money, and just settled for having a good time. That night we slept on the beach and dealt with crazy crackpots coming around asking for cigarettes. The next day the Germans took off, and Szimon, Kornie and I had to sleep on the beach with all out bags. Out remedy for thieves was to have Kornie sleep on top of all the bags, with everything tied together. If anyone wanted those backpacks they were taking Kornie too. It was a noisy and restless night, and the next day we were lazy bums and spent all day on the beach. We thankfully found a place to couchsurf the last night, so we did not have to guard our belongings. The last day we got a ride out of Barcelona with two girls and began our long trek back to Poland. Kornie and I had the most epic hitchhiking of our lives, making it from Barcelona to Wroclaw in under 30 hours! We were even picked up by an empty tour bus on its way through Germany! Epic!
So the trip was scattered, disorganized and slightly chaotic, but definitely a success. I almost went insane travelling with just Kornie and Szimon, since them two enjoy farting and burping as much as anything, but overall I had an amazing time. We saw Berlin, Paris and Barcelona for under 60 Euros each I think! This is phenomenal. And we Slacked our way across Europe. Plus, many people saw slacklining and had no clue what we were doing! So we even had the opportunity to educate people about it.
I think next time it will be a North American Slacktrip ;)
So, in between hitchhiking between Poland and Germany over and over again for festivals, I was spending my time mostly in Wroclaw, Poland. After the festival in Lublin I had a lovely two days at Janek's Grandmothers house in Krasnik, where she stuffed Janek, Damian and I full of home-cooked Polish food. It was great although I think I doubled my weight. During the day we set up a couple tree highlines in the woods behind the house. One was about 82ft (25m) long and 14 feet high (4 m.) I on-sighted this line one way, and walked it full tits later. It was interesting doing this line in the woods, where it was dark and mossy and mosquito's were biting you as you walked. The next day we set up a bit longer of a line in a different spot, same woods. This line was 105 ft (32m)long and 17ft high (5 m.)I did not on-sight the line, but sent it. We used my tubular threaded webbing for both these lines. It was really a lovely two days, almost relaxing compared to the usual fast paces slacklife I had been living.
When in Wroclaw we went longlining as much as possible in the Parks, but usually I was only there for a few days at a time before hitchhiking off to some other adventure. The last longline session we had before our epic trip was one of the last we had in nice weather. This day we set up a 50 meter, a 100 meter and a 130 meter line in a park in Wroclaw. I was still struggling on long lines at this point, but I walked the 100 meter full tits, and only fell twice all day on it. I tried the 130 meter that day as well, but was not ready for such length apparently. I love longlines. They are very meditative for me, focusing on my breathing and trying to tune out my surroundings, to ignore the dogs barking or chasing frisbees, to tune out thoughts about the people around me or things I had on my mind earlier that day. The mosquitos were so bad that day we actually decided to leave. Jan Galek and Damian Czermak both onsited the 130 meter line, of course. They full manned it as well. You might imagine we all cheered and yelled congratulations to them, but its not quite like this when you slackline with those two. Basically at this point it is not surprising anymore when they do something amazing. So, as they returned from their sends it was more like "good job, dude." To both of them. It is still impressive, though. 130 meters is no short thing. Korny was struggling on the 100 meter, he really wanted to send it. He walked the 50, but was not quite satisfied with himself. For myself the 50 felt so easy after walking the 100, it was almost like a break for your legs and arms.
Slacklining with two of the next worlds-best (Damian and Janek) sure is helpful, I improved leaps and bounds since getting to know them. Kornie is pretty amazing too, in half a year he is right at my heels in slackline level, though I have been slacking twice as long as him. It is a great feeling to think how much I have improved since I came to Europe. I have now walked 457 foot (139 meter) longline, and am able to on-sight full man 328ft (100 meter) lines, not every time, but enough. Highlining is coming along as well. I have had the privilege to attempt a total of 9 highlines since July, and have sent 6 of them. It really began to feel like a European Slackline trip in the last four months.
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
After Bremen I decided to see Berlin. I contacted a guy named Jordan Tybon about couchsurfing with him, but during the time I wanted to come he was heading south to Bodensee for a slackline festival July 11th and 12th. Slackline Festivals? Those exist?! I decided I had to go, so he said to come to Berlin an we would travel together. With mitfahrgelegenheit we got a ride down to Radolfzell, where Walk The Line 3 was happening, an event created by Marty Szwed and Anna Hergenröder. Through Jordan I met Jan Galek and Michal Korniewicz, two slackliners from Poland. The festival was great, such a mix of slackliners, at all stages of slacklining! They had longlines, highlines, trick lines, waterlines and many types of webbing. It was here I made some of my first connections to other slackliners and slackline companies as well. At this festival I tried my first longlines (not completing any of them!) and my first highline, an urban one set between an old water tower and the climbing gym, about 8 meters long. Being on a highline was something different, much more frightening then I ever expected. I was not afraid of falling, because with a harness and a leash I was safe, yet my body was shaking, my stomach dropped out of me and my heart was beating so hard against my chest. I stood up from the chongo, took a step and fell. I repeated this over and over and over and over. At best I walked halfway across. This was the most frustrating experience of my life! I took some painful leash falls, and my thighs were bruised up and down every color of the rainbow, and as you can see in the picture my arm took some pain as well.
After three or four days of slacklining nonstop I was looking like I had an abusive boyfriend. We all ended up staying at Marty's house, and him and Anna showed us immense hospitality, fed us, gave us beer :) and shared many laughs.
Jordan headed back to Berlin, and I decided to stay behind with Jan and Michal (Janek and Kornie.) Eventually Kornie left as well, and Janek and I continued to slackline. We also went to a town near Singen and tried a tree highline over water. I did not send it, fell a few times and was feeling so worn down from the last few days that I decided to leave it. Of course Janek and Bernhard (an excellent highliner from Switzerland) sent it both no problem. Janek even sent it free-solo. Very inspiring to watch. On one of the later days in Radolfzell, after a long day of being active, Janek and I decided to try the longlines in front of Marty's home. One was a 70 Meter and the other a 90. I got on the 70, Janek on the 90 and we both on-sighted them full man. It was a great moment, and it was a great way to end our time in Radolfzell. After not sending any longlines, this was such an accomplishment for me.
After the Walk the Line Festival ended, Janek had a job working at the Out Door Festival 2009. I tagged along, nothing better to do. The great thing about this festival was all the slackline companies! I was able to see Slackstar and their companies information, met the guys from Slackline Tools, Slack.fr, and saw the Gibbon company in action. Also met Andy Lewis briefly while eating lunch with Janek. Saw his backflips in person and all that jazz. I still was not a fan of the Gibbon lines, so thick! They are strange and terrible for static tricks! But I suppose if you want to slack in fat shoes and jump around like a monkey, Gibbon is great. I practiced jumps on the small indoor slackline set up at the Slackstar booth where Janek was working, and by the end of the festival had gotten quite better at getting air. Slackstar actually gave me a 15m line of tubular webbing and tree slings for free for practicing at their booth! Nice!
After this we headed to Chamonix, France, to spend two weeks in the mountains climbing. I had only begun climbing a month before, so for my first real rock experience to be in the Alps was amazing! We set up a night slackline in the town one night when we were there, between two old lamps, just for fun. Quite a few drunk people passing by came and tried or took pictures. I guess the lamps were not so well wired because every time Janek did a jump on the line one of the bulbs would go out on either side. Then, when he jumped again the light would come back on. One guy who was quite drunk said he used to slackline, and told Janek and I that as good as we were we should definitely join the circus! He seemed to think we had much potential to be crazy circus slackers. Hmmm...another person associating balance with circus performing. Dammit. Anyhow, we did not slackline again for our time in the mountains, and when we came down we proceeded to hitchhike back to Poland.
The next festival I attended was Urban Highline in Lublin, Poland. I went with Janek and the other best polish slackliner, Damian Czermak. There Damian and Janek set up first a tree highline about 99feet (30 meters) long using my tubular threaded webbing. They both sent it quite easily, with a huge crowd underneath all looking up and snapping photos of this newfangled sport: highlining! Being the only female, I felt a bit of extra pressure. I did not send the tree highline on my first few attempts, however the next day, once the crowd had dissipated and I was practically alone (with only a photographer up in the tree next to the pulley system,) I sent the line full man. This was a great feeling! The line was just a tree line, only about 26 feet high (8 meters) but it was my first real send of any line higher than a normal slackline. After I finished I climbed down and headed over to the real Urban highline: a beastly 197 ft (60 meter) line that was 12 stories high, strung between two office buildings in downtown Lublin. I was on the roof during the rigging of this line, and on one side the anchors looked quite secure, however on the other side they were secured by large pieces of wood propped against the outside of doorways lengthwise. Sketchy looking! However they held. I knew before trying this line that it was pretty much out of my range, yet I was excited to try such a highline. It was the same length as the world record highline! For two days I watched Janek and Damian struggle with this Urban Highline. The two best highliners I knew struggling on a line proved its difficulty. I only tried twice in the two days, mainly because the event was more aimed at the two Polish guys, not the random American chick travelling with them. I stood up from a chongo both times, and took a leash fall both times immediately after standing. Not a single step! But this line was like nothing I had ever experienced. You are twelve stories high, with a sea of windows on the white wall in front of you and the open blue sky above you. Strange kind of vertigo. I did not once look down at the street below while on the line. It was really amazing to see Damian and Janek walking on this line, despite the difficulty they seemed so steady. Unfortunately because the line was in the center of town the festivals organizers could only get the street shut down from traffic for a few hours each day. Because of this Janek and Damian had time limits on their attempts. I am almost positive if they had more time they would have sent this line. Janek came so close to the end on his last attempt, we were all pressed to the windows barely breathing, hardly saying a word as if that word would be carried out the window and somehow throw him off balance. When he fell I think we all fell with him in a way. It was still an amazing try. We then all had to be bombarded by news crews (mostly talking to Damian and Janek, though they somehow found me and thought I would be interesting to interview.) The funniest interview of all was the news station that interviewed us three as we all sat on the Urban Highline. It took about ten minutes, but was very uncomfortable and if one person moved at all it shook the line and almost caused another person to fall off. The last question they asked threw us all off guard a bit, "what do you love?" I had never been asked this so abruptly, so I said something cliche along the lines of "I love living, and testing myself."
After two days of this tree highline and Urban line, we went to the "beach" and set up a couple of waterlines on a square dock. There was also a Gibbon waterline (nice gaybbon water jumping!) but we all stayed away from it. I had not been on a water line in some time, and my first few attempts were quite shit. I ended up in the water, which actually was not too cold and quite refreshing. After a couple tried I was walking alright. The big strong Polish Policja were there to keep the normal beachgoers from entering the docks, so they all crowded behind the cops and took pictures while making the usual spectator noises. So, this wrapped up the festival, the first of it's kind in Lublin. I was really grateful to have been a part of it, and was so thankful to the organizers for treating me as one of the VIP crew.
The next festival was sometime later, in Chemnitz, Germany, in the second weekend of August. Janek and his girlfriend hitchhiked from Poland, and I came with Kornie. It was a nice festival, easygoing and free entry. The location was nice as well, in a tree-laden area of a park on the edge of the town. There was a campsite you could pay to camp at but Kornie and I just ended up throwing out tent in the woods behind some bushes and no one was the wiser :) There were longlines, tricklines, and of course a gibbon. On the first day I decided to try a 295 ft (90 meter) longline, and I on-sighted it full man! Was really pleased, especially since there was a bunch of people playing badminton right next to the line as I was walking, and the sun was beating down. During this festival I also took part in a trick jam-session competition, hoping to win a tent. There was no female section, but I decided to try anyway. I was number 13, and was eliminated after 6 other people. At least I stayed in halfway! Janek of course won the competition, getting a nice chunk of webbing for it. Later I tried a 345ft line (105 meter) and almost on-sighted it! I fell 1 meter before the end! So frustrating! However the next day I sent the line one way, but ran out of time to finish it full man. At this festival the term "full-tits" was born, a gender-correct term for females who send lines both ways. The festival went quite well, I was feeling pretty lazy after spending a full month or so just slacklining non-stop, so there were quite a few times spent lazing around not doing anything. There was also a highest jump contest (did not take part, Janek of course won that as well.) In the end we hitchhiked our tired asses back to Wroclaw.
I probably should not count this as a Festival, but I will mention the Drunkline Festival in Wroclaw thrown by Kornie. Nice nighttime slacklining with Polish beer and Polish people in a park. Good times until the alcohol level surpasses your balancing skills. Actually only 4 people sent the longline we had set up at this festival, it was about 148 feet (45 meters.)
In February I headed to London to travel Europe. I took my slackline, of course, more as something to do in spare time. I spent 4 months in London, longer then expected (that's another story for another blog) and when I was bored I took my slackline to the Hampstead Heath park for fun. I actually met some of my good friends in that very park who happened to pass and began slacklining with me! Carlos and Julio from Spain, two very nice guys. I was only slacklining once or twice a week, sometimes less. Most people in London looked at me curiously, asked if I was in the circus, or wanted their children to try. Hardly anyone knew what the heck I was doing. These pictures are from slacklining in Queens Park.
In June I was fed up with London and feeling the travelling bug, so I took my line and huge crank with me to Germany, to visit a friend near Bremen. My friend was climbing at a place called the Bunker, and when I went with him and his family I was delighted to find that they had a slackline set up near the climbing wall! First thing I did before climbing was slackline. One of the climbing instructors, named Thomas Grahl, who was also slacking some saw me on the line and said he had never met someone slacking like me! I was surprised because I was definitely not the best out there. He offered me a chance to be on the local news with him and a couple other beginning slackliners later that week. I went and they took footage of us all slacklining. It was a report on Seiltanz, which is the german name for slacklining. It means "rope-dance" which I think is a silly name. I met a wonderful girl who was 12 years old and doing amazing slacklining. She was already walking, doing a lunge position, walking backwards, turning and learning to surf with my instruction. Along with her we went to the Radio Bremen studio to do a live show. They did not interview me because my German skills were not quite good enough (3 years of German lessons out the window) but we both walked on the line live on TV and they interviewed her.
Here is the link to the video:
It all seemed quite silly to me, especially since coming to Germany the last thing I expected was to be on the news. Anyways, a good memory of my slackline beginnings.
Where to begin? I suppose I should start at the beginning, my beginning with slackline. I touched on it briefly in my "about me" blurb, but here I can write a few more details.
Summer of 2008 I spent most of my days at Barton Springs, in Austin, Texas. I tried a slackline that was set up between two huge ancient Pecan trees just outside the pool fence, some tubular webbing on a simple system, and with the hand of my friend I walked across. My first thought was "Screw this! I will never be able to walk on that alone!" And for a week I did not go near the line again. One day, however, I decided to try again, and I stepped up on the line alone. I paused for a moment in balance, then hopped off as I lost it. For some reason, determination began to creep into my veins, and then and there I decided I would try repeatedly until I could at least walk across. I begin going to the park almost everyday, and slacklining with two guys, named Chris Boswell and Zach Brebaugh, for 4 or 5 hours at a time. It was a great summer. With the consistency of practice I progressed quickly, and in two weeks I could walk smoothly. After a couple months I learned my first static tricks, as well as surfing. We set up a waterline over Barton creek, about 90 feet long, using Camalots on one side between some big boulders. We tensioned it with a makeshift pulley system, and the other side was wrapped around a tree. Just as the line was tensioned perfectly, and Boswell got ready to step on it, the cams ripped clean out of the boulders, shooting all the way across the creek. Luckily no kayaks were passing or else we might have killed the boaters. So, apparently we needed a new system. A week later we returned to the same spot with expansion bolts and a drill. We placed two lovely bolts in the rock, then set up the line again with daisy chains attached to the tensioning system. This worked best. It was so difficult walking on this line! Not only was it 50 feet longer then what I was used to, but the water moving by underneath sure played tricks on your eyes and your balance. A jogging trail ran right past our location, so people would stop and watch the happenings. Boswell of course could walk it and do some tricks. Many people and kids came to try it as well, starting from the side attached to the tree. Finally, on the 3rd time of setting up the line I walked it. Texas is a great place to do waterlines, because you usually get so hot and sweaty walking the line that falling in is a welcome refreshment. Boswell also happened to show me videos of the Yosemite Lost Arrow Spires Highline. After seeing this video, I immediately knew I wanted to do it. It seemed like something far and distant in the future though.
As summer came to a close (not the hot weather however) Boswell took off for burning man, along with his slackline. My new slackline friend, an awesome hippie-massage-therapist called TarZen, luckily bought his own line just in time. So, we began using his line, threaded tubular webbing from the local climbing shop REI. After a couple months I decided I wanted my own webbing, and with TarZens help we went to REI, I bought about 120 foot of tubular 1 inch webbing and smaller tubular to go inside. We took it to the fields behind Barton springs, stretched it out long, then sewed with floss the smaller webbing to a piece of wire, acting as a big needle. I secured the end of the 1 inch webbing, and TarZen worked the wire through the length of my line. It was beautiful! Oh my new webbing! Never walked on! As far as system, I went to Home Depot and bought a giant heavy utility crank. It apparently was a very strong ratchet, though it appeared a bit sketchy. For the next couple months setting up my line consisted of tying knots to the Mallion Rapide screw links, tensioning the line with the giant beast of a crank, then walking. This was not such a bad system, except that if I wanted to change the length of the line, I would have to beat the knots against trees, hit them with a hammer and then use my teeth to undo them. I knew no other way to do a slackline, but I was also weakening my line by tying so many knots. So, I began slacklining with my own line. Winter did come to Texas, and I took about a 4 month break from slacklining. When it warmed up I found time to set a line up about once a week, though I was hardly progressing.