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Ziplining - a personal bird's eye view

Updated on December 2, 2012

Zip lining - a small slice of heaven (with a teeny piece of hell mixed in).

Well, this is what I get for letting John come up with a date day - zip lining! "WTH?" I said, incredulously. "Are you aware I'm a 53 year old overweight woman with nails?" He was and so off we went Sept 17, 2011 to wild, wonderful West Virginia (yes, really) for our very own zip line tour. OMG - I haven't laughed as hard in ages.

Ziplining, in case you're not familiar with this extreme sport, is when a crazy person (ie, me) shimmies into a harness, is attached by two lines to a thick overhead cable and steps off a perfectly good platform about 100 feet up in the air to go zipping through the air to the next platform. Crazy, you say? Yes, yes indeed it is, but ziplining is also the most fun you can have with your clothes on.

Come along with me as I detail our day, including bonus videos! Yes, they're that funny!

sports / ziplining / zip lining / west virginia / outdoor sport

Updated 2DEC12

Ziplining books on Amazon

Click on any of the below pictures to get more information.

Life on the Zipline: from Fear to Awe
Life on the Zipline: from Fear to Awe

I sort of wish I'd read this book before I stepped off the very first platform. I certain felt the fear but it was a few platforms later before I felt the awe.

Zip Line Construction Guide (Adventure Rope Gear Builder Books, Volume 1)
Zip Line Construction Guide (Adventure Rope Gear Builder Books, Volume 1)

Now, I'm not sure how many people would really want to build their own zipline but, if you do, here you go. I have two 150 feet tall oaks that I am eyeballing....

zipline ziplining
zipline ziplining

My introduction to ziplining

John found a new zipline here in Harper's Ferry, West Virginia - it wasn't just ziplining, it was an agility course too which is why they call it a "Canopy Tour." "WTF" was what I said this time around! "An agility course - a canopy tour? The last time I was on a canopy tour was when I stayed in a great hotel in the islands....

Anyway, in typical Lori fashion, I asked John "Are you aware that I'm an out of shape, overweight, 53 year old with a 94 year old Mama to care for?" He was and off we went after I assured him that he would inherit Gertie if anything happened to me. And, let me tell you, this was one time I was glad I hadn't toted her along with us. I wouldn't have had to worry about what she was going to eat for dinner as seeing her youngest daughter step off a platform 100 feet in the air would have killed her.

Anyway, I digressed so let me continue our zip lining introduction.

We arrived an hour early to sign the waivers(which were a bit voluminous) and then get a short lecture about ziplining safety, what to do, and, equally as important, what not to do. I found it interesting that the guides asked the group twice in 15 minutes if anyone needed to use the bathroom. Well, after hearing the full lecture, I decided it was prudent to visit the latrine. Good move.

Hint #1: Enter a zipline course with an empty bladder (and empty other parts too). You might have a few "pucker moments...."

Ziplining supplies

Since I am now in love with the sport, I've been looking around for some things that would improve my zipline experience. I took my new Sony camera which did pretty well but I'd love to have had a helmet with a camera!

The below are some things I've got my eye on to help with my next ziplining experience. Click any picture for best pricing and exact specifications of the ziplining equipment. John has a 3D camera that he won't let me touch and my Sony does take 3D pictures but not 3D video.

Ardinbir Breathable Waterproof Wind-proof Outdoor Sport Camp Fishing/HUNTING Gloves

Zipline Helmet Action Cam DVR Wireless Video Recorder - This would have been cool!

Fujifilm FinePix Real 3D W3 Digital Camera with 3.5-Inch LCD

Zip lining in Harper's Ferry WV
Zip lining in Harper's Ferry WV

Our first zipline was just about 30 feet...

...but I screamed anyway.

I guess they give you this little teeny zipline to sort of get you used to the feeling so, in the picture below, I'm perched on a rock and about to zipline over to the first platform. Now, I wasn't stepping off that rock, no sirree Bob. No way. The guide, quite sadly, had to push me off which is how I entered every single zipline. Maybe not the most graceful of the group, or the most thrilled (initially) but I really got into ziplining.

My first zip lining to platform #1

This platform was only about 30 feet off the ground but, still, stepping off that perfectly good rock seemed silly to me. But, here I go!

Here comes John on the first of the longer zip lines

The zip line platforms are way up in the air and are suspended by ropes so taking videos is shaky.

After ziplining to the first platform, we faced our first "Canopy Tour" challenge

The dreaded swinging wooden bridge.

My anticipation level of zip lining was a piece of cake compared to my fear of the two swinging bridges we had to cross (that's the part about a small piece of hell mixed in...). The first bridge was not too bad but it was very wobbly when two people were on it at once and, we were suspended up around 40 feet or so off the ground.

John of course ran through the bridge in no time flat - he was, after all, an ex-marine and ex-army too....Check out the video below of the show off.

John does the rope bridge on our Canopy zip line tour

I certainly didn't look like this when I was teetering on this rope bridge...

Crazy you say?

Was I crazy to go ziplining (remember, I'm 53, overweight and have finger nails)...

Build your own zip line... - ...I don't think so

If you're really into zip lining (or have a death wish), building your own zip line might be for you. I sure wouldn't do it as I trip going up the steps - the last thing I need is to be responsible for my own safety on my very own zip line.

Here's some zip lining DIY on Amazon if you're interested. The first two items are for adults and the last two are to build a small zip line for children.

This is the FUNNIEST zip lining video of all.

For the one and only time, I volunteered to be first off the platform to zip line across. This was a big triumph for me...until I went to step off the platform.

zip line ladder
zip line ladder

Another obstacle while ziplining

climbing ladders

Now, these ladders didn't particularly bother me as I was tethered to both John and there was a safety belay on both of us. The tallest of these ladders was probably 30 feet or so. The worst part was knowing that, by climbing the ladder, the platform we were supposed to zip line from was up there...

These swings are more my speed than having my own zip line

Now we're talkin....

Other ziplining videos on YouTube

I hope to zipline in Costa Rica which is supposed to be the most beautiful zip line of all.

zip line cable bridge
zip line cable bridge

Zip lining canopy tour scariest obstacle

The dreaded cable bridge

This cable bridge along the zip line course scared the hell out of me, initially. But, as I started to become more confident, it really wasn't too bad. The key was to not look down as it was suspended about 70 feet in the air. Of course, there was all kinds of safety equipment on us so, even if we tripped, we weren't going to go too far.

How about leaving me a comment about the lens? I'd love to hear from you.

Have you been zip lining or would you go?

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    • profile image

      AlleyCatLane 4 years ago

      Awesome! I've been trying to get the courage to do one. Maybe on our next cruise excursion.

    • DrBillSmithWriter profile image

      William Leverne Smith 5 years ago from Hollister, MO

      I'm proud of you. Thanks for sharing. But, you'll never see me on one of those things... ;-)

    • ccsonian profile image

      ccsonian 5 years ago

      I have been zipling at Royal Gorge Ziplining in Canon City, CO. It was a lot of fun and I would do it again in a second.

    • Senora M profile image

      Senora M 6 years ago

      Cool lens. Great videos! I went zip lining on my honeymoon in Costa Rica. *blessed*

    • savenlives profile image

      savenlives 6 years ago

      almost forgot, I stumbled this lens for you :)

    • savenlives profile image

      savenlives 6 years ago

      This was totally awesome!! Great videos! I give it 2 thumbs up!! We recently went ziplining in St. Lucia it was absolutely unbelievable. But, it was sooooo HOT!! I thought I was going to die of heat. Awesome lens!!

    • CherylsArt profile image

      Cheryl Paton 6 years ago from West Virginia

      Wow, Amazing! Congrats for your adventure. I haven't been but enjoyed watching your videos.

    • ArtformTheHeart profile image

      ArtformTheHeart 6 years ago

      I think I'd like to try it now, looks like you had a blast!!

    • RawBill1 profile image

      Bill 6 years ago from Gold Coast, Australia

      Wow! I really want to do that zip line n Costa Rica! What a rush! Well done on facing your fears and getting up into the canopies for a little fun. We have a similar course near me which I hope to take the family on once my children are both tall enough.