by Paloma Márquez

 It is a sunny, bright, hot day, and you decide to do something thrilling. You are traveling and making the most out of your experience in Madrid. You are going to visit Cuenca and what is the first thing that comes to mind? Canyoning!

What is Canyoning?

Canyoning is a sport that mixes adrenaline with natural beauty all in one. You typically hike down a mountain full of green trees, plants, and smaller rocks. Until you make your way down to the breathtaking view of blue water hues and caramel colored stones. It is all exciting. You are jumping off hills while taking in nature’s beauty! After you are wearing the proper equipment: wetsuit, wet socks, comfortable, sporty shoes and a helmet, you get adequate training for what to do when jumping off. The instructor ensures you that you must dive in an upright pencil-like position while crossing both arms and clenching your butt to avoid getting hurt.

Swimming your way through

As you continue to get closer to the water, it is becoming more real. You make the first jump into the river, and you feel the icy cold bright blue water, and you tell yourself, I am doing it! Then, it is time for your first cliff jump. You ask yourself, do I really want to do it? However, it is too late to back out now.

All your friends are doing it, and they survived, telling yourself that you will, too! 1, 2, 3 Jump! You make sure to go through the list in your head while being in the air and you feel the coldness and pressure of the depths of the river flowing through your entire body. Ah, you come out for a deep breathe, smiling to your friends and yourself you knew it was worth it. You jumped off a cliff. You quickly realize that there’s going to get harder and that there are six more cliffs to jump off. You suddenly don’t mind; you just jumped off a seven-meeter rock, you got this.

The activity continues, and you ungracefully keep jumping and swimming through the course. There are higher rocks, colder waters, and a lot more fun ahead. The fear of jumping begins to exit your body, realizing that you cannot think about jumping off. You just do it. If you overthink about it, you analyze it, and it scares you too much. Quickly, laughing and jerking at different styles of jumps three hours of trekking go by and proudly realizing that you have officially done it. You have jumped off seven cliffs and stayed alive.

Bucket list: Canyoning- check.

Where can you go canyoning?

There are multiple places around Spain where you can go canyoning with trained instructors. My activity was through City Life Madrid, where we got to experience a thrilling experience while also being able to explore the beauty of Cuenca and Las Casas Colgadas (the hanging houses) for 59 euros (transportation is included).

**Important: Make sure to do this under trained supervision and with the correct equipment**