September 18 2012 by Sam Lowe
Back in those long past days when I still had all my hair and it was brown, not white, I volunteered my body for some rather Adrenalin-rushing adventures. Among them, wing-walking and para-sailing. But now well into my senior stage, I no longer have any need for such foolhardy stunts. (Read that: There ain't enough tequila in the world to get me to stand on top of a biplane while it's flying 2,500 feet above the ground ever again.)
However, while traveling through the Hocking Hills area of Ohio, I was introduced to zip lining and a small portion of the desire for the thrills of my youth popped up again. It was exhilarating with just a slight hint of danger, and quite safe even for those who might have qualms about riding a steel cable high above the landscape.
This was because the professionals at Zipline Canopy Tours made certain that I knew I was doing before they let me climb into the harness that would carry me through, and above, the forests, rivers, and rock formations. First, they secured me with the belts, hooks and straps that comprise the harness. Next, they ordered me to a practice area and conducted a trial run. Then we drove to the first station, a platform located in a tree about 150 feet above ground, where they attached my harness to a steel cable and told me to cast off.
Admittedly, there was some apprehension. (Read that: I wondered if it was too late to back out without being called a chicken.) But rather than be branded a weenie or something worse, I shoved off. It was fantastic. Just me and my harness, floating through the air at a pretty good pace, enjoying the scenery. The ride was brief, probably only about 15-20 seconds, until me and my harness landed at the next platform and prepared to take off again. There were 10 platforms in all, and each ride was better than the last because my comfort level rose with every plunge. The adventure lasted almost three hours, long enough to satisfy my latent desire to risk my body once again. But one of my zipping companions, a 93-year-old woman from Pittsburgh, went right back to the desk and signed up for another tour of the treetops.
Since then, I have learned of several other similar adventures, including one that zips you high above the animal enclosures at the San Diego Zoo. Prices vary, but be prepared to spend around $100 for this kind of excitement.