Monday, January 26, 2009

Zipping Through The Air





Zip Lining is one of those travel activities that intimidates a lot of people. I guess pairing sky-scraping heights with jungles and a single rope to hang from does sound scary. But it doesn't have to be. I sailed through the St.Lucian rain forest with not a flicker of fear. I glanced at the tops of palm trees and touched oversize ferns. A light sprinkle of rain started to fall and the experience was even more magical, even though it was hard to see after awhile. It was exhilarating because I'm tall and I could see the floor of the forest just a few feet beneath my legs. It's not so upsetting when you can imagine jumping from the rope and safely to the ground. St. Lucia is a small island and accordingly, it's zip line tour is relatively small.
On the other hand, I have known the gripping fear that comes from facing a true zip line. By true, I mean a zip line strung atop tree canopies of at least 20 feet. A few years ago in Costa Rica, I forced myself to do the zip line as a way of forcing myself out of my comfort zone. I don't typically gravitate toward many things that require athletic shoes and special equipment. But there I was, trudging through the yawning Costa Rican rain forest and climbing tower after tower of mind-numbingly high platforms, which I was pushed across. I was petrified. I vowed never to do it again but the thing about zip lines is that you can't turn back. You're in the middle of the jungle and the platforms are placed so that only the very last one is near the exit. So I didn't have much of a choice but I have to admit, I didn't love it. Especially when I got stuck hanging in the middle of the next to last platform. The velocity wasn't great enough and I hadn't listened when the guides said I'd have to use my hands to move the rest of the way. Right. A guide had to swing out on his arms and guide me back. So I was thrilling and brave on the St.Lucia zip line only because I'd already lived through the horrors of Costa Rica's. But I would recommend the zip line experience anyway. It's a great way to face your fears.

16 comments:

Stephen Bess said...

That looks fun!

Fly Girl said...

Sure it does.

Beth Partin said...

That's something I've thought of doing to take the edge off my fear of heights (I don't think I'll ever get rid of it completely). I wonder if there's a site that lists zip lines by order of difficulty?

Lola said...

Sounds like a total blast. I've only tried underground zip-lining.

Always wanted to try a jungle trek/zip

Fly Girl said...

That's a good question, Beth. Costa Rica started the zip line craze in the 90s and I believe the country has some of the steepest zip lines or canopy tours. They have since popped up everywhere, even in the U.S. and I've never seen a directory for ranking them but it's a useful idea! Thanks for dropping by.

Fly Girl said...

Lola, I've never heard of an underground zip. What's that like and where do they do them?

Tanja V said...

Hey you girl! So great to read your blog. I´m definitely exploring this more as being a freelancer journalist myself!

kristine said...

Love it!!! Had a wonderful ziplining trip at the Gibbon Experience in laos - and am happy to discover its a bit thing here in belize too. Its such an exhilerating experience!

Fly Girl said...

I've seen the Belize zips, they didn't look that high, are they? Or was that just my wishful thinking?

Ebony Intuition said...

That looks like so much fun, I really want to do that.

Wendy said...

I think I'd have to stay on the sidelines and photograph. Way too chicken.

Greg said...

I've zip lined once or twice, Always Fun! Did they let you spin around or turn upside down?

Fly Girl said...

Ebony, you can do it, Barbados has a zip line!
Wendy, you're not a chicken, you just have to do it and not think about it!
Greg, I refused to spin around or turn upside down, no Tarzan action for me. Thanks for dropping by.

Jacqueline Smith said...

As much as this looks fun, coward man keep soun' bone- I'm with Wendy!

Gennaro said...

Great photos! That was one of my favorite parts of Costa Rica. Zipping thru the cloud forests. Unfortunately, I don't have the photos of me in action :)

Fly Girl said...

Thanks for dropping by Gennaro. I was lucky enough to have fellow travel writer Karen Berger along with me on this zip trip to snap pix. WHen I did the Costa Rica zip, they videotaped it and I have the DVD with me screaming through the jungle.