I did something kind of crazy over the weekend, to celebrate a friend's 50th birthday. We went white water rafting and ziplining in the New River Gorge. I'd never done either, and was little prepared for what was in store. Both were a pretty amazing experience, but I didn't bring my camera on the white water rafting tour because, unless you have a super-waterproof camera, you just don't want to do that. Every inch of you gets wet.
The ziplining, necessarily, started very technically, with our gear. The hardware is actually pretty cool, lots of ropes and pulleys, having the guides tighten them up to fit. We made our way on the bus to the training line and learned the basics. How to slow down (hold your hand flat over the bottom line, don't grasp it or you'll burn your hand), hold a stop position (both hands in front and behind the pulley, careful, don't pinch your hand), and if we break too early and don't make it to the next landing platform, how to turn around and crawl backwards & upwards, fully tilted backwards to see the platform. You stop when the guide holds out both arms. He doesn't want you to hug him. (Someone actually thought that once, apparently.) When each of us took our turn to try these moves out, the guide would ask a question. He asked one of my friends what superpower she would have if she could have any. "Great! I LOVE that question," I thought. But no, I got, "Where would you live if you could live anywhere in the world?" Really? Can't I have a superpower instead? So then we moved onto an actual line and the first was slow and short. It's odd, putting your life into this gear and just letting gravity take over, at 40 MPH at 80 feet above the ground. You have to put both hands over the pulley system and use your wrists to drive and set yourself straight if you start veering to the left or right. Cross your ankles and hold your legs straight if you mean to go fast. And pull your legs up to land on the stump.
And the smells. So many green smells rushing into your nostrils. The water flashing beneath you. Leaves fluttering when you pass. And what does one do after ziplining? Well, have a beer, of course!
Have you ever been ziplining or white water rafting?