- Sports and Recreation
Come Zip with Me. Zipling with a Twist
One of the items on my unofficial bucket list was to zipline. Recently, there has been a large cavern opened for zipliners in my area. I never thought about zipping in a cavern, but since it was close, I thought it would be a good experience for a beginner. I am going on a cruise soon and wanted to zipline in a tropical rain forest. I thought this would be good practice so I wouldn’t look like a complete novice on this trip.
The Cost of Zipling
It was a little more expensive than I had anticipated, but considering the great guides we had, it was well worth it. I might want to add that my husband and I were the oldest in our group, and while we didn’t jump fearlessly like a couple of the 17 year olds that were with us, we held our own.
What Will You See in a Cavern Zip
First, in the cavern situation, there were 5 ziplines and 3 bridges. Because it is a cavern, there is basically no way back. Once committed, illness is probably the only way someone is going to come get you, and that would be very difficult since the levels of the zips went up higher and higher from the cavern floor.
Instructions on Zipling
We started with a training session. We were fitted with our gear, asked to sign our disclaimer, and given the basic rules and guidelines. Our group was large with 22 people, so the gearing up took longer than planned. The gear was much heavier than I thought. I have a whole new appreciation of mountain climbers. The session was very informative, and the first “bunny” slope we went on gave confidence. We were then off to conquer to rest of the cavern.
The Darkness Factor of Zipling
The darkness factor was something I wasn’t anticipating. There is a commercial on television and the area is much lighter than when we were there. I am sure they added additional lighting to produce the commercial. It is not without lights, of course, but many lights are at the jump platforms or indirect lighting set back into the crevices. We also had white and red lights on our helmets that were used depending on whether we were walking or jumping.
How Difficult is Zipling?
Another surprise was how difficult the last two bridges were. They were something similar to rope bridges with a larger walking area (thank goodness) and strong steel cables. The bottom of the caverns looked deep for those brave enough to look.
The Experience of Zipling
Since I have never been ziplining I can only speak from my experience. The two instructors with us were great. They were calming, encouraging, funny, and very knowledgeable. One group member said they had ziplined in a foreign country, and the zippers were responsible for locking in their gear. There is a double locking system, so you are never in a position where you could fall. I think it wouldn’t have been fun for me, if I had to worry about locking my own gear all the time. The instructors were focused and safety minded. I definitely know what I need to look for, if I do try to zipline again.
I have to say those bridges were scary, and I felt a little like Indiana Jones in the jungle. I’m sure some people had a little more adventure in their sole than I did. The last zip was two zipliners side-by-side in a race. It was fun, but the jump off point was 82 feet from the bottom of the cave, and the jump was into total darkness. Talk about a leap of faith
I am anxious to do this again, but I would rather do it outside. Not that it’s safer, but being able to see what’s out there might work better for me psychologically.
For those who haven’t tried it. I would definitely go for it. Just be ready to sound like Goffy when you take that first step.
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