Sports » Sports + Recreation

Zip Line course opens to public



I was ecstatic when my superiors offered me the opportunity to check out the new zip line course in Anderson over the weekend. I previously spent some time out at the construction site taking pictures so I had high expectations for the finished product.

Those expectations were blown out of the water, or sky - which seems more appropriate for this venture.

Now I'm no zip lining expert, having only been once before, but I'm a thrill seeker, so this type of thing was right up my alley.

Some small items of business must be taken care of before one can start their adventure. White River Zip Lines requires your basic safety precautions, but it's nothing too taxing - unless you get uncomfortable with people getting all up in "your business."

Putting all the necessary equipment on was a drawn-out but necessary process. No one wants to come flying out of his or her harness half way through the first zip line. Like it or not, you'll become quite, um, familiar with your guides during this time.

Next on the to-do list: watch a witty instructional video on zip lining that looks like it was filmed during the days of the Wright Brothers. Humor included, laughing recommended.

After a short ride on an all-terrain vehicle, thrill-seekers arrive at "Ground School" or what I like to call a baby zip line. Each person puts their newfound knowledge to use on the line, with guides making sure the basic principles are understood before allowing them onto the actual course.

Two eternities later and you'll find yourself standing on platform No. 1. All joking aside, the stairs up to the first platform reassured me on how out of shape I am. They're also a good foreshadowing of how exhausted you'll be after finishing the course.

There are few experiences like flying through the air, hands on the harness, hanging on for dear life yet enjoying every heart-pumping second of that first trip down a zip-line. The smell of burning gloves as you manually break, the wind in your face, the cheers of support at your back and the sudden realization that you landed safely on a wooden stump.

It's an experience I recommend to all, even those deathly afraid of heights.

And that's just the first zip line, the slowest and shortest of the entire course. What follows are seven more zip lines, each longer, faster and more thrilling than the first; as well as three sky bridges, which proved to be far more entertaining than I could have imagined.

One of the great features that the course has to offer are dual zip lines; side-by-side lines that allow you to face off against your brother, mother or person in the group that keeps talking about how they can beat anyone - trust me, they'll be one.

They really add that extra element to the experience, because who doesn't want to smoke someone while flying through the air at speeds upwards of 30 mph?

The first sky bridge is easily the toughest of the three. Featuring wooden planks that sway when stepped on and gaps the size of the planks, it's truly a test. Not to mention that spectators can jump on the bridge and throw you around like a ragdoll. With heavy breathing ensuing afterwards, this was the most strenuous obstacle on the course.

The course includes a few more zip lines, including one that crossed a small ravine (close your mouth unless you're hungry for some bugs) and two more bridges.

Once you finish those, the final and most exciting zip line is at your fingertips. A 1,000-foot dual racing line that starts in the treetops and ends in the middle of a field is the perfect way to end the course.

I swear I could have shaved my head with how long I was in the air. It gives you time to look around, enjoy the scenery and just forget about whatever else is on your mind at that moment. A calming experience while flying through the air, if that's possible. The three-hour trip will leave you worn out and sore in the morning, I had several bruises. But it's also the thrill seeking adventure that'll have you looking at the best date to make a return trip.

My only gripe about the whole experience: no water stations throughout the course - a must if they don't want customers passing out during extremely hot temperatures come summer time.

And expect a little hit to your wallet as the full course is no where close to cheap - $89 for an adult during the weekend if reserved online ($109 if not), $69 for a child. They do offer group rates for a discounted price.



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