Sunday, August 7, 2011

Slip Sliding Away

In Friday's post I shared my anxiety about ziplining through the Red River Gorge on Saturday.  I figure it is only fair to reward your concern (you were concerned, right?) with some pictures of the fabulous view! 

I've zipped a few times previously, all at scout camps with relatively small zip lines.  In those, you hook in, step (or sit down on and scootch) off a small platform, zip towards a tree or utility pole, then slide back and forth until gravity brings you to the middle of the line, where you unhook and climb down a ladder that it set up for you.  Those experiences have been scariest for me because you don't really test the line until after you jump off the platform and drop ten to fifteen feet.  For control-freak me, jumping into thin air and hoping the zip line catches you seems a little counter-intuitive. 

This zipline experience was more like the kind you see on  reality TV shows where there are several ziplines connected in a series.  Two of the five lines were even double zip lines so you could "race" a partner across the line!  The best part, for me, was that you were hooked into the zipline at least a couple feet before the edge of the platform and could put all of your weight onto the line before you actually left the safety of the platform.  If things were going to go horribly wrong (odds are totally in favor of nothing going wrong, by the way) the second I put my weight on the line I was still over the platform and would only drop a couple feet to safety.  Silly as it sounds, that's enough to mostly calm my nerves.

So I was still nervous enough on the first couple of lines that I forgot to take pictures, but imagine short-ish lines (150-300 feet probably) that go through trees.  Our guides joked that when the lines opened they could reach out and grab leaves as they passed through the trees.  The platforms are connected by bridges that help you climb to higher levels between each line.  Then, after the third line we climbed up a hill out of the woods to a clearing.  From the clearing we could see all the way across and around the Red River Gorge.  While it's beautiful in August, I can only imagine how pretty it's going to be this fall!

From the clearing we climbed up to a platform (another perk over my previous zip experiences--you climb steps to platforms rather than climbing straight up a pole!), which then lead us up another bridge to a higher tower.  Finally, I had the presence of mind to pull out my phone and take a picture.  Here, you can see the bridge to the higher tower and across the Gorge to our landing zone--the brown spot that you can see between the uprights of the tower.  This line (Line 4) is the longest of the lines at nearly 2,000 feet.  Clearly, we travelled well above the treetops on this one!

What I loved about Line 4 is that it was long enough to step off, realize just how fast we were going, look down and realize just how high up I was, realize I was starting to slow down, sit back and enjoy the ride, then prepare to land.  The shorter lines just don't last long enough to go through all of those emotions!  The guides told us that was one of the better ones to take pictures from, but I still wasn't confident enough to let go and grab my camera! 

Here is a picture I took after I unhooked looking back at the tower.  From here, we climbed a little higher then zipped back across the Gorge to the Cliffview Inn, which is on the right side of the picture. 

Finally, this is a picture of me at the end of the course with the landing platform for Line 5 in the background. 

I seriously cannot say enough about what an amazing experience the guides at Kentucky Zipline Adventures offered us!  While the experience seemed a bit pricey (just under $100), the two hours of beautiful views, professional facilitation and camaraderie more than made up for the cost.  I am so thankful to the former co-workers who invited me along, and I'm already looking forward to going back!

1 comment:

Element said...

Yay! So much fun! :) Did the picture you took of me hanging out turn out alright? So glad you could come with us!