Fly Through the Air
Well, you’re not exactly flying through the air, but you can get a lot of airtime. Zip lining is a way to get you down a slope by putting a pulley on a rope, strapping in tight and holding on. After that, you don't need to do anything. Gravity pulls you down from the top to the bottom. Use all that free time to concentrate on the gorgeous view of the surrounding vista. Ziplines can work anywhere you can go from a higher place to a lower place. You can do it in cities, in national parks, and just about anywhere where you need to go from a point lower than you started. I just wouldn’t try it in your backyard… or a city. Unless you have a permit, and become a certified instructor. I think the only exemption to this is if you’re Spiderman.
Anyways, zip-lines are usually situated in areas of beautiful, wooded terrain. They’re pretty accessible and abundant in South & Central America. But you can find them all over the U.S. and Canada. Some of them are in local vacation spots, like Catalina Island for Angelenos and in the Catskills for upstate New Yorkers.
Zip lining, especially longer and steeper zip-lines, can put you at adrenaline racing speeds of up to 100 mph. Unless you’re prepared to put on a wingsuit, this is one of the closest ways to feel as if you’re flying through the air. You zoom through open forest canopies, and sail above rivers. Zip lining gives life to the phrase, “A bird’s eye view.”
How it All Got Started
Zip lining has been around for centuries as a means for people to cross mountainous or heavily forested terrain. Most modern-day zip lines bill themselves as, “Eco-Tours,” and there is a reason for that. Biologists needed to get into the dense rainforests in places like Costa Rica, and zip lining provided an unobtrusive way to do that. Instead of paving a road or blowing up the side of a mountain, they put up a few highly secure poles and a small landing space.
A lot of zip lines are meant to be both educational and thrilling. They’re guided tours, explain the different trees, geographic features, and animals that inhabit the area. Some even have multiple zip-lines in a single course, so you’ll go down one, then switch over to the next till you’re all the way to the bottom. I don’t know about you, but I'm finding the idea of using zip lines to get from one high-rise office to another quite intriguing. It sure beats taking the slowest elevator ever.
So Ziplining is Fun. Is it Safe?
Yes, it’s very safe. Typically, zip-lines almost always include a mat or netting at the lower side of the zip-line. They also incorporate an arrester system to slow or stop your downward motion. Not only that, professional zip liners and their operators are accredited by either the Professional Ropes Course Association or Association for Challenge Course Technology. These two organizations work alongside the American National Standards Institute to bring additional safety regulations to ensure your experience is safe and worry free.
If you want to know more about it, you can read a great article by How Stuff Works.
Where Can I Go Zip Lining?
Zip lining is an amazing experience that should be tried at least once, and they tend to offer them in all 50 states. If you’re in Illinois, an especially if you live in Chicago, they’re doing it for free, off the side of a building. (I guess you just need a permit and certification. No spider-induced genetic modification required). There are also some pretty notable ones too, including the St. Augustine Alligator Farm, where you zip line right over an alligator cage, or there’s Gravity Canyon where you go up to 100mph. If you live in North Carolina or Kentucky, we’re offering deals on some zip lining places here and here. A new zip line tour has just opened up in Oracle, AZ as a means to bring some economic life into an area that’s suffered after the mines have closed.
So find your local vacation spots near you. Some of them are bound to have zip-lines. And don’t forget to drop us a line in the comment section below or and like us on Facebook.
Have fun zip-lining!