I crossed off something on my bucket list while I was at a conference in Utah last weekend. At the closing party, the sponsors offered a limited number of tickets to a zipline. I’ve never even seen a zipline, unless you count the one my husband’s uncle has strung between two trees about 8 feet of the ground. Not exactly the same.
I wasn’t nervous, though my companion needed some encouragement.
When it came time to harness up, I was able to get my first good look at the ride down. I was surprised that I couldn’t see the end. It didn’t feel like we were that high up.
The young attendant thought he was being funny when he asked if we had bought the full harness package. The also-young girl I was riding with didn’t think that was a joking matter at all, and it was almost the final straw. I told her in a mother-tone to get in her harness now. She complied because she wasn’t overly fond of the luge ride down, either. When did college kids stop thinking they are invincible?
The zipline in Park City, Utah, is about 2,300 feet long, dropping 550 feet from the top to the base. You ride a chair lift up to an area where two rides start: the zipline and the Alpine slide (a luge-like ride). So, if you chicken out of the zipline, you can take the luge down. Several people recommended the Alpine slide, including a Skywest pilot I sat next to on the plane to Salt Lake City. Some people in line got tired of waiting for the zipline and took the Alpine slide. I figured it was an unusual opportunity to do something rather daring, at least for me, and stuck it out in the zipline line for over an hour.
The line was deceptively short, but only two people were going down at a time. The ride is 60 seconds long, then the attendants at the bottom check the harnesses, and send them back up. It probably takes 5-8 minutes per couple. With about 25 people in front of me, that’s over an hour wait. The upside to a long line is bonding with the people you are waiting with. We took pictures of each other and exchanged stories. Waiting isn’t my favorite pasttime, but making new friends was worth the wait.
I have to admit, the yellow footprints on the gate marking where you should put your feet, was a little unnerving. The attendants move pretty quickly once they get you harnessed. “Put your feet on the gate. Lean back. Get ready.” Then, the gate releases, and you’re off. Most people let out an involuntary scream. I mean, what else do you do when the floor drops out from under you and you’re 200 feet in the air?
The ride down was beautiful. The zipline goes down an alley cut between tall trees until it gets to the bottom where a small carnival-type park is nestled among a strip shopping center. I imagine everything is a bit busier in the winter because most of the ski shops were closed when I was there. No skiing in July?
I have to say that my husband and kids thought I was pretty cool for ziplining. Not that I’m at such an advanced age that I wouldn’t be a candidate for daring adventures, but I’m normally a fairly conservative person. “Let’s have fun but don’t be stupid” is my motto. Ziplining falls in that gray category. I reasoned that it leaned to the safe side since you are in a harness attached to a thick wire. If it were that dangerous, they wouldn’t be offering it-considering the litigious society we live in. Right?
I have a confession. I don’t really have a bucket list, but I think it would be fun to make one. When I do, I’m going to put zipline at the top, and cross it off. Then, I will feel like I have a jump start on accomplishing my bucket list items.
I’m not sure where you go from ziplining. I can safely say I don’t want to skydive. Why jump out of a perfectly good airplane for sport? I can see doing it if there is a need, but I don’t think I’ll ever be in that position. Hot air balloon. That sounds promising.
What is something unusual you would like to do?