The Science Nerd

Stepping off the Ledge

April 2, 2012

Gayle, Mary Martha and I getting ready to zip

Yesterday, Gayle and I and a group of friends went to Fayetteville, NC to ZipQuest.  A few months ago, Gayle had major surgery after being sick for at least 2 months.  The road to recovery was long and difficult.  During recovery, the Geico commercial with Maxwell the pig on a zipline aired frequently.  Then we discovered there was a zipline just 2 hours away.  So, this became Gayle’s recovery goal – to ride the zipline.  And once she was cleared by her doctor for ALL activity, we planned our trip.

ZipQuest is a 2.5 hour eco-adventure outside of Fayetteville.  During your time, you travel on 8 ziplines, traverse 3 suspension bridges and climb 4 spiral staircases over trees, rivers, waterfalls – absolutely beautiful terrain.  The highest zip is 90 feet in the air and while zipping you attain speeds of up to 35 mph.

I must admit that while excited, I was incredibly nervous about it.  The staff at ZipQuest does a great job of easing you into your ride.  The first “practice zip is only about 6 feet off the ground.  You get to practice and get comfortable with how the harness feels, how to brake and where to put your hands, etc.  Then you head up two flights of stairs to the first zipline.  Still not too far off the ground, maybe 20 feet.  The lines get progressively higher and longer.  The second to last zip starts you off at 90 feet above the ground.  Along they way there is a beautiful waterfall, rivers and amazing trees.  We also walked across three suspension bridges.  They were not my favorite – mostly because of the swinging motion and the bouncing from others on the bridge.  Even though we were strapped in the entire time, I sometimes had to force myself to keep going.

Our guides, CT and Patrick were great.  They were funny, willinging to chat and joke with us, and very patient.  On the first zip, Gayle went first, then I was up.  Patrick hooked me to the line, and it was time to go.  Stepping off that stump, trusting that the line would hold and letting go were the most difficult things I have ever done.  Once I was going, it was great fun.  The scenery, feeling a part of the forest, it was awesome!  But that first step was incredibly difficult.  Every time.  Even though I knew, without a doubt, that once I got going I would love it.

The first step is a doozie

I want to remember that feeling – the almost paralyzing fear of stepping off the ledge, then doing it anyway and the exilerating feeling of flying above the trees.  And the sense of accomplishment afterwards.  It helped me realize that I could do anything I set my mind to.  I just need to take that first step.

If you ever get the chance to go to ZipQuest, I highly recommend it.  And even if you are nervous, or scared silly – it’s worth it.  You might be surprised at what you can do.

Head over to Gayle’s blog to read her account and see video and more pictures

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