Zipping from tree top to tree top, I felt like an eagle soaring high but going so fast I would never be able to spot prey. While in my fantasy I was an agile winged bird of prey, in reality I looked like a rotating chicken on a spit because I never could keep the line straight as directed and found myself twisting around. I could only take in the splendor of Cascade Lake and the mountains when standing on the wooden perches waiting my turn. There were 9 in our group but the tour can accommodate up to 10. The first zip, the tour guide, had to pry off my hands from what he described as the “clutch of death”.
For safety purposes, everyone is tethered onto the tree platforms in-between zips. The highest perch was 125 feet. The platforms are sky-high tree houses about 12 feet square with a tree rising through middle of the platform and serving as the structure. The tree is partially covered with padding to avoid out of control humanoids slamming into bark and surrounded by tethers to keep the tour group from accidently pitching over the side and becoming a causality of the exercise.
The correct position is a tucked canon ball with one hand on the zip tether for guidance and the other free floating for an airbrake if necessary. An air brake means you stick you your hand out and madly grab for air to slow yourself down in an awkward flapping maneuver. The demonstration of this technique looks like sky diving without a parachute. Fortunately, I was never going fast enough to try to stop myself. On the other hand, if you aren’t going fast enough to reach the landing you are to grab the safety cord so the tour guide can pull you in. The second zip, zipping in my own little zone, I didn’t hear the guide shouting at me to grab the safety line. I came to my senses just in time to avoid an incident of hanging out in the middle of line needing to be fetched in by guides. When this happens, you are called “fish on a line”. That gives you some idea of how ungainly a non-moving zipper can become, hanging in mid-air waiting to be rescued. My daughter was on a different trip where a younger member (not enough weight, certainly not my problem) had this happen. Apparently, it took considerable time to fetch the kid from mid rope back up to the platform.
Trying zip lining was on my bucket list partially because my balance problems have eliminated so many of my challenges I easily accomplished when I was younger. Since one is held up when zipping, I thought I could accomplish this adrenal pump even with my limitations. I did drag my husband, Pete, along. At first, he said he would take me to the site and drop me off to do it by myself. But after shrieking at him that this wouldn’t help me at all, he came along reluctantly. In a bind, I can count on him to hold my hand and pull me up or down areas I can’t accommodate on my own. It turned out there was another gracious guy on the trip who kept stopping to help me. His wife had stayed at home and the guides were top notch and helped everyone.
I would like to report that the next day given my excellent condition I jumped out of bed not feeling anything. Unfortunately, I am 65. The next day my body felt like I’d been flung around in a dryer. I had bruises on my thighs from the equipment and a cut on my leg from the suspension bridge. One cannot be an adventurer without being willing to take the pain with the adrenal pump. Would I do it again? Oh yes. My bucket list also includes is sailing over the rain forest in Costa Rico.