The Science Nerd

Tag: ZipQuest

Pure Adrenaline

April 3, 2012

As you probably know by now, Gayle and I went to ZipQuest yesterday.  ZipQuest is a 2.5 hour zipline adventure through a North Carolina forest.  Our tour began at 1:30, and by 2:15 I was happy to be there.  I did not start out super excited about this trip.  It was something Gayle really wanted to do when she recovered from having major surgery in December and I wanted to be supportive – I really did.

So I stressed and worried and went back and forth about participating in her recovery zip.  For a while, I told myself that if she got enough people to go with her, I could just stand back and watch, holding everyone’s stuff while they went off and flew through the air.  Now that I think about it, that’s what I’ve been doing my entire life – standing back and letting others have fun.  Even when I was little, during recess at school, I would volunteer to be “permanent holder” and hold one end of the jump rope while others jumped.  I was afraid to take a turn.  In college when we would go to Magic Mountain or other amusement parks, I would hold people’s stuff while they rode the roller coasters and had a great time.

Well, not this trip.  About 2 weeks before our scheduled zip day, I made a decision.  Yes, I might be scared, terrified actually,  (Frequently walking down a flight of stairs is frightening to me) but I was going to do this.  I convinced myself that it wasn’t dangerous and just made the choice that I was going to go, participate and have fun, no matter how scared I was.  Celebrating Gayle’s recovery and return to health was more important than a little fear.

And it all worked – until the moment I was strapped to the first zip line and Patrick, one of our guides, told me to go ahead.  I couldn’t let go.  I turned to Patrick and said, “I’m not going anywhere am I?”, meaning “If I let go, I won’t fall straight down to the ground, right?”.  His reply – “Not right now,  you have to let go first.”  So, after a few deep breaths, I did it – I let go.  Here is Gayle’s video of my first ever zip.

Note the look on my face, and the tone of my voice.  I wasn’t having the greatest time.  But, I kept going.  And each one got a little easier.  Stepping off every platform still took a conscious decision and a mental push, but after a while, I was able to relax and enjoy the beautiful surroundings and even the rush of flying through the air.

Here is the video of a later zip.  It’s obvious by the tone in my voice that I am having fun!  And I was!  It was an amazing experience.

On the ride home, there was plenty of time for me to reflect on the day and how it really could change my life if I let it.  The biggest thing I realized was that I wanted to remember that terrifying feeling just before I stepped off the platforms and let the zipline carry me on.  I need to stop equating that feeling with stopping, backing down or giving up.   I want to remember in all situations, that even though I might be scared out of my mind, the important thing is to step out and enjoy the ride.

I would recommend a ZipQuest vacation to anyone!  The staff was friendly, patient, fun – the perfect guides!  I knew they actually cared about us having the best experience we could; they were not just out there punching a clock, waiting for the day to end.

I think our next adventure will either be Rock Climbing and Rappelling in the North Carolina mountains or a zipline course through the Redwoods in California.  Either way, I will be scared, but willing to let go and have fun!

Share Button

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

Share Button