Sunday, August 5, 2018

Zipping NOT ripping

As you know, Susan W and I went zip lining on Friday. I thought I'd share some photos with you.

Why did we go? Zip lining was not on my bucket list. Matter of fact, I'm not that fond of heights. I remember going to the CN Tower - the very top observation deck and had my back plastered to the inside wall. It does take me a few minutes to warm up to heights. And roller coasters? Well, that's a whole different ball game and loads of stories to tell you about that experience.

But here's a quote by Mark Twain that I think sums up the experience rather nicely. This quote has been on my calendar since May and I haven't turned the page knowing that this experience was coming up.

An amazing quote by which to choose what you do

Shoot - I thought this next photo would be easier to read.

Venture quote by Mark Twain

Shoot - you still can't read that?  It says - Venture - Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones that you did do.

As I had mentioned, the place was far from my house. It's called The Skywood Eco Adventure just off The Thousand Islands Parkway east of Kingston.

Skywood Eco Adventure

I had to laugh as I drove down The Thousand Islands Parkway because while I've never actually driven on the parkway before, I've been on the bike path a couple of times. This is one of the BEST cycling paths I've ever ridden on. You're right beside the secondary highway but you have your own bike highway. It's a beautiful ride and goes on for quite a distance. I forget - I don't remember those kinds of things. More on that another day!

The bike path beside The Thousand Island Parkway

I had gotten there a bit early as I wanted to beat the traffic. No worries, I listened to my audiobook, but finally, the call of nature required that I go Base Camp to find the washrooms.

Off to base camp

Susan was waiting for me when I got back from the washrooms and we were set to get outfitted. That's a whole experience in itself. You have this big web harness on with all kinds of cables and stuff hanging off. It's a wee bit intimidating to say the least.

Suited up!
 Here's Susan getting herself outfitted. The two crew members we had were amazing. Anna and Garrett.

We felt like horses. You had to stand up to that railing. It was almost like you had two sets of harness. One for your body and one for the attachments to the cables. They flipped part of the harness over the railing while they got one part of the harness securely tightened onto your body. Then they flipped that other part back and you got to put your safety clips (part of the Smart Belay System) in your holsters. Just like guns! Except they were awkward to get the safety clips back in so no danger of shooting anyone.

Susan getting suited up

Susan and I chatted up a storm and frankly, we had NO time to even think about what we were going to do. It worked out perfectly since I don't either of us was super confident.

Then it was onto to the small demo/training area. But let's read the signs first.

OK - that's a sobering thought
Just in case you heard about that honeymoon couple who had a zip line accident in Honduras and one of them died. There was a serious thing that happened. She went first and had NOT arrived on the platform before he followed. Because he was heavier, he went faster and crashed into her. This was most certainly NOT allowed to happen where we were. They had walkie talkies and we were NOT allowed to leave the launch platform until the person in front had unclipped from the zip line on the landing platform. We did NOT know about the accident before we left, otherwise, I would have chatted up the guides.

Here's the little practise course. Trust me - it was worth it. There were so many steps. Unclip, clip, unclip, clip and it had to be done in a certain sequence and you couldn't disconnect your two safety clips at the same time - only one released at a time. I thought we were never get the hang of it.

While we had zip lines to go down, we also had to get between the trees if one zip didn't start where the other ended. We had "puzzles" to cross. In our case, there were super simple. Logs VERY SECURELY attached to each other with cables - big cables. Strong cables. It was half way across this bridge that we had to put faith in our harness and we had to lean back into the harness (feet on the cable, but no hands allowed) to show us that it would support us. It did and it wasn't so bad. I'm not sure I would have felt the same confidence if I had fallen, but none of us did.

Walking on the log bridge
 We had a fair number of these to walk on. You had two cables to hold onto and your safety clips were strapped to another cable. You'll see better in a bit. But imagine if it's wet? Yep - they run the course in the rain so those logs would be a tad slippery. I'm glad they weren't slippery.

Each time we got to the landing platform, we had to use our two safety clips to unclip from the safety line overhead to the safety line on the tree. One clip at a time so you were always connected.

Then we got to try the mini zip line. Oh boy - more stuff to connect. Thankfully the guides were with us the entire time, I don't think I could have remembered all the steps. Well, that's not ture - I'll show you where they weren't with us.

Here's Susan just coming in for a landing on the mini zip line.

Susan landing on the pracitse zip line
 Oh - there's a better picture of her.

Yeah Susan made it safely to the end of the practise zip
 I should mention how we got the pictures. I took my phone with me and so I snapped some of the photos. But when we were in the trees, I had to give my phone to one of the guides (I had no pockets) and they put it in their back pack. Susan had her camera with a strap and she also had pockets but I think she also gave her camera to one of the guides. And then we had to get the camera or phone back out to take pictures. Next time - yes there will be a next time - I'll know to take a small pouch or a small bag with a clip that can attach to the harness. We had NO idea what to expect.

Here we are going up the ladder to the first platform. One guide was already ahead of us. Once we were on the platform, we had a series of log bridges to cross. We were on our own to remember to clip/unclip. I mean you couldn't go ahead if you didn't unclip. We all managed just fine.

Climbing up!
Honestly, I didn't give two thoughts to the heights. I just went up. What's the matter with me? Perhaps heights are no longer an issue?

Here I am walking one of the log bridges. That third cable (the safety one) was an issue as it was the same height as me and kept hitting my helmet. Susan had the same problem.

Walking the log bridge

How far apart are the platforms?? Most were about 200 - 300 feet. Susan took the picture below with the zoom on her camera.

The landing platform
But it was also this far away. This is what it looked like to us from the launch platform.

AH - there's the landing platform

One must have good form. I was the last one (of the guests) on the first couple of zips and then Susan and I swapped places to take pictures. She was much better at that than I was.

Here's my zipping form. They said to be aerodynamic and so lifting your legs make you more aerodynamic. No need for a push at the start. I kept coming in to the landing platform with a LOT of speed. I love speed.

Good zip line form
The first zip, I don't think we saw anything except the landing platform. But once you got the hang of it, you could actually look around and enjoy the ride.

Here I am getting ready to clip to the zip line and release my safety clips.

Getting ready to clip to the zip line

Then we got to a larger platform where we had a water break and Ann took this picture of Susan and myself. What fun we had. We had to walk down three log bridges to get to this platform.

Susan and I enjoying the break

It's deceiving because part of the course is laid out on the edge of the escarpment. But in the distance is the platform which was on the tallest tree or the tree that we were the greatest height from the ground. Way in the distance. 

Highest platform from the ground in the distance

That platform was a double decker. There was a landing platform and then you had to take a ladder down to the launch platform. Getting attached to that ladder was a tad scary. I was on the ladder when our guide left the other platform and everything just shook like crazy.  AH - what's going on here?  OH - OK. That wasn't so bad.

Going down the ladder to the launch platform

I have to say that my legs were a wee bit shakey on the very first platform, but after that, I was totally fine. Perhaps because Susan and I talked up a storm either with ourselves or with the guides. I'm sure the family of four with us were saying - just SHUT UP already!!! But DAMMIT - we were there to enjoy ourselves and we certainly did that.

Oh here's a better view of that two level platform.

Two level platform
And from that platform was the longest zip line - 600 feet.  Yahoo!!!!  Of course, I had to do a yahoo every time I left the platform. Why not????

In the picture below, the upper cable was leading away from the double platform for the incoming zip line and the cable in the lower left was the 600 foot outgoing zip line. Great shots Susan!!!!

Incoming and outgoing zip lines
Too bad we didn't get all the safety clips, but this is what it looked like in the tree. We each had two safety clips attached to the safety line (red).

The safety clips secured to the safety cable

And then we were on the ground. Oh shoot - we were having a blast and wanted MORE!!!!

There was ZERO free fall. If you just sat in the harness and let your weight support you, it was just like going down a slide. I'm not kidding - it was amazing.

Time to get out of the harness. No - I'm not flapping my arms - Garrett was just loosening the safety harness and it was easier if I lifted my arms.

Removing the safety harness

Here's Susan getting rid of her harness.

Just before the harness came off

And here's a picture of Susan and myself with our two guides. Thanks to Anna and Garrett for a great day. It was loads of fun. I highly recommend if you get the chance - you should go. It wasn't nearly as bad as what I thought it was going to be. NO - I didn't even allow myself to think of it as scary. I just wanted to go.

Anna, ME, Susan and Garrett

Before we left, we went back to look at the adventure course. That's the one with the obstacles and you need to get through the obstacles in order to move on. I'm not sure that we could do that. It requires a LOT of upper body strength and I'm not sure I would have the strength or the courage. Anyway - it looked interesting and might be fun to try. At least it goes by level - you start with the beginner, then intermediate and then expert. You can get off at the end of any of the sections. Hmmm - Susan???  Are you going to start doing push-ups on the dock each morning?

Part of the adventure course

So there you have it. Way more information about zip lining than you ever wanted to know.

It was a long day to get home and I'll tell you about that another day.

Have a super day!!!!


1 comment:

  1. Wow! Fabulous and awesome and supercalafragalistic! Take me next time!