Ziplining with Kids

Rising early this morning, I was getting ready to start writing …about what I was not sure. With my coffee in hand and computer in lap it occurred to me that I had not written about our most recent adventure! And I bet you cannot guess from the title what that adventure entailed.

source: www.pixabay.com

Ziplines.

It brings to mind the old Tarzan movies when he swings through the trees snagging one vine after another, moving from tree to tree. We have come a long way from those movies and ziplines can now be found almost anywhere. We’ve ridden them at the beach from poles to trees, from trees to stands, from stands to the ground. We’ve soared with them in open fields between two tall towers in which you had to climb a zillion stairs just to have a 15-25 second ride in mid-air. And now we’ve experienced them in the mountains.

No big deal. Until you add grandkids into the mix, then finding kidzips or tandem zips or waiting for them to be taller, heavier or older to ride full-blown ziplines becomes a hunt for the proverbial needle in the haystack. Whew…bit of a run-on sentence but that is the way the Internet searching for a zipline felt.

We finally located several kidzips (7-15’ off the ground) and a few tandem ziplines. Meeting age, height and weight criteria whittled the list down a bit more. Then came the price range and when all was said and done…the weather forecast indicated thunderstorms. But my daughter finally booked us at Canopy Ridge Farm ziplines in Lake Lure NC and come rain or shine we were bound for an aerial feast.

The weather was great (and remained so the entire time) as we got to the office. Checking in we discovered that not only could the boys ride solo on ziplines #3-5 but that they could switch off who they ride with on ziplines #1,2 and 6. After weigh-in, both boys qualified and their mom, grandmama and I became their potential partners on the tandem rides.

Jeremiah decided to ride with mom on the first two ziplines and Isaiah rode with me. As we buckled up, were told what was coming and got into the ATVs, I believe the parents were more nervous than the boys. I attribute this to the youthful feeling of immortality and the acknowledgement of mortality that some of us feel as we get older, “wiser,” and more cautious. Riding up to the first zipline in the ATV became our first adventure…to say that the path was bumpy is an understatement and I said a quiet thanks for seat padding. The boys were strapped into the back and thought it was a fun ride, of course.

Now the time had come. Instructions were given and the first guide zipped over to the first landing spot. Our family elected to go last. We got harnessed to the cable and Isaiah and I were soon flying through the air!

The boys enjoyed it so much that when they were given the choice of tandem or solo riding, they chose solo rides. Not only that but our youngest adventurer, Jeremiah, decided he wanted to go first and Isaiah being the kind, older brother let him (yes, Isaiah was second to fly)! I was in awe. My thoughts of them freezing up, getting scared, and needing to be walked out were dashed with the first squeal of delight and ear-to-ear grin. It just shows how much our worries, which constantly eat at us, can be vaporized by the joy seen in a 4- and a 7-year old as they soar through the woods.

So, Isaiah and Jeremiah both rode ziplines #3-5 by themselves and you could see the disappointment when they were told they had to ride tandem on the last zipline. Each chose to ride their last zip with one of the guides, since they were told it would be a faster ride. However, they did not feel like it was a faster ride and I am sure if they had been given the choice, they would have hiked to ziplines #3-5 and ridden them again.

As for me, I have ridden 5-6 different ziplines some that use hand (literally using gloved hand on the cable) brakes, assisted mechanical hand-braking, and, as with the Canopy Ridge Farm, no braking (cable design and landing are handled). I have soared over beaches, grassland, lakes, and mountains. I have yelled (Tarzan, Yodels, Cowabunga, or birdlike), swung upside down (new perspective and trust factor), and spun in circles. I have landed soft and hard, and against padded posts, mulched ground and in a lake (cold…very cold lake). The rides can take for 12 seconds to 30 seconds depending on the length of the cable, the speed of the ride and how much the cable sags (thus slowing the ride down).

So I am done with this adventure for now. If I go ziplining again, it will be with the kids or grandkids or a jungle canopy adventure. But I will carry with me the joy and courage my grandkids showed me during this adventure…and be glad at the perspectives they are teaching me.

Life Lesson

  • Sometimes our biggest fears only have life in our heads (will the cable hold, will the gkids have a meltdown, will I land hard, will I get stuck halfway across, am I holding the straps right, is the camera on, will I….)and prevent us from truly enjoying and soaring in the moment. Don’t listen to that voice in the head except where safety is a concern.
  • Sometimes we need to let go of the fear (or discover its’ root cause) and trust and embrace the adventure whatever that may be.
  • And as always, it is awe-inspiring to see things from another person’s point of view (ie., try a 4- or 7-year old point of view sometimes).

Attraction Notes

  1. Link: http://canopyridgefarm.com
  2. Location: 7115 U.S. 64/74A, Lake Lure, NC 28746
  3. Cost: $59-69 depending on tandem riding and age. See their pricing page at: http://canopyridgefarm.com/zipline/
  4. What did the kids like/dislike: Isaiah and Jeremiah both loved the solo rides. If anything, they would have liked more cables and longer rides.
  5. Kids opinion of it: joy.
  6. What to do: Zip.
  7. New places to eat along the way: La Strada in Lake Lure NC (https://lastradaatlakelure.com). Prices are in the $$ range and the food is good. For those needing a gluten-free meal, they have separate menus available. The best part is sitting outside so you have an unobstructed view of the lake, the mountains and Chimney Rock. (It should be noted there is a restaurant across the street from the Canopy Ridge Farm office and some in our zipline group ate there)
  8. Discoveries: hmmm. Wear bug spray for the zipline adventure. Don’t plan on any outstanding selfies or videos on the ziplines.
  9. Difficulty of getting around: none!
  10. Return? As said in the main text, if the kids or gkids want to go ziplining, I will go if only to see their expressions and gain an insight into their perspectives.
  11. Restrooms? Restroom is available in the office. Plan on no bathroom breaks for the 1.5 hours ziplining adventure.
  12. Parking: gravel lot near the office