It sounded like a good idea. In fact, it sounded like so much fun that I couldn’t wait to do it. Then, suddenly, I was perched on a tree stand strapped into a harness attached to a wire and facing the prospect of leaping off the edge. This suddenly seemed like a bad idea … a very bad idea. Why did I agree to go on a zipline, again? That’s right – it’s supposed to be fun!
I never used to think I had a fear of heights. The overwhelming feeling of panic and fear only set in for the first time when I had another bright idea to go bungee jumping. That was about 20 years ago when I was possibly braver and obviously less wise. It looked harmless enough from the ground, but it’s funny how your perspective changes once you’re up in the air. Everything seems very tiny below. I mustered my courage back then, closed my eyes and jumped, and actually wound up having a really good time bungee jumping. Would I do it again? Um … no. Once was enough – check that off the list.
Here I was again on the precipice of an exciting adventure on the Seven Springs Laurel Ridgeline Zipline Experience. My mind and mouth were writing checks that at that moment my guts were not ready to cash. My guides Justin and Michael were excellent instructors, taught me everything I needed to know to have a safe, fun experience, and also seemed as if they really, really loved their jobs. The Laurel Ridgeline tour covers the whole North Face side of Seven Springs, includes 10 ziplines (including one that is nearly 1,500 feet long, 150 feet high and takes you at speeds up to 50 mph) and even has two rope suspension bridges a la an Indiana Jones movie, plus a 40-foot rappel. This is a terrific idea for someone with a slight fear of heights!
Images of the zipline breaking and me plunging to my death in the trees below kept running through my mind. But there went Michael leaping off the edge and zipping down to the other end, even lying backward as he went with a huge grin the whole time. This did look like fun! Before I jumped, I looked at Justin, tugged on the harness attachment and asked, “This is on here, right?” He triple-checked it and reassured me with a smile. I took a deep breath, a firm grasp of the handles and let go of my reservations. What a rush! After the first zipline, I was ready to go again. By the highest, longest zipline, I was having a grand old time and was amazingly not even feeling scared of heights anymore. One of my favorite sayings is “You only live once” (YOLO, as the young kids now say) and this zipline adventure left me singing, “Zip-a-dee-doo-dah” the whole ride down the mountain!
Kristin Emery can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.