I’ve always been something of a daredevil (there’s not a roller coaster on the Eastern Seaboard I haven’t ridden), so when the opportunity to ride the longest and highest zipline in North America — and the second largest in the world — presented itself, I took it.
Ziplining — riding a length of cable that is suspended very high off the ground — gained popularity as a recreational sport in Costa Rica. The ride requires participants to don a harness that is hooked to a wheel with handles called a trolley. That trolley is then attached to a steel cable suspended on an incline between two platforms. Finally, riders take a running leap and zip off down the line. There are a few tips for slowing down and landing, but mostly gravity takes control, propelling people at speeds of up to 50 miles per hour.
My friend and I felt pretty pumped about all that as we drove up to the aforementioned mammoth zip line on Hunter Mountain. The whole course takes approximately three hours to complete and has a total of five different ziplines to get you back down the mountain. It wasn’t until after we made it to the top and realized exactly how high up and far away from our end point we were — 600 feet high and 3,200 feet away in case you were wondering — that nerves began to get the better of us. But our cheerful guides were quick to reassure our group with an inspirational quote: “No refunds.”
Once I got going and learned to trust that the harness would indeed hold me, the rest was a breeze — literally. The winds whipped past me so fast I could barely hear my own excited whooping — at least, I whooped when I remembered to breathe. And even though I flew along at an incredibly fast pace, I still took in the many gnarled trees, boulders covered in fresh moss, and even a tiny babbling brook.
Seeing beautiful vistas, getting an adrenaline rush, and gaining bragging rights among friends? Sign me up again!
See the gallery below for some of my ziplining photos (and images from other zipliners).
New York Zipline Adventure Tours at Hunter Mountain, www.ziplinenewyork.com
Catamount Adventure Park, Hillsdale; www.catamounttrees.com
Frost Valley YMCA, Claryville; www.frostvalley.org
Big Bear Ziplines, Hyde Park; www.bigbearziplines.com
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