By Evan Newman
March 5, 2020
I would consider myself to be more of a “homebody” than the adventurous type. That is not to say I do not step out of my comfort zone for certain activities, but lying in bed is a lot more comfortable than being outside and actually physically exerting myself. However, when I was given a Fish Out of Water segment to write, I chose to try zip lining through the trees.
Terrapin Adventures, an adventure activity-style business stationed in Old Savage Mill, advertised the multitude of courses they offered in the woods adjacent to the mall. However, since it was freezing at the time, the program said that they would only accept large company groups for “team-building exercises.” The workers there were very nice, luckily, and allowed me to book a spot regardless.
Once I arrived, the instructors taught me how to put my harness together so that I would not fall off the line, and we were off into the frigid forest. Given the weather, I was the only one there, besides the guides. Huge wooden posts supported large roped-together structures with many different cables and platforms spanned between them. However, what I came for was the near fifty-foot gap with a single line to keep me up: the zip line.
We walked to the farthest post from the building, high on a hill so that you could easily slide down. To get to the zip line itself, however, you would have to balance along a single rope between two platforms. One of the instructors, wearing just a flannel jacket and jeans, told me how to connect my harness to a metal cable so that I would not fall from the rope that I had to cross, and went ahead of me to prepare the lines and demonstrate the best method to cross. When it was my turn, I ascended a ladder to the first platform and grabbed the first rope that was parallel to my body. Then I shimmied across on the second rope at a 45-degree angle- only occasionally being blown the other direction by the wind.
When I got to the final platform before I began the actual zip line, I had to carefully circle around the pillar that held the platform up to the correct position. There, I was connected to the zip line and the instructor signaled for the other instructor to prepare the platform for me. Once it was ready, I was off.
The trees soared past and I forgot about the cold weather and the wind as I flew towards the building. The line itself was not very long, and the whole trip was only a matter of seconds, but once I had managed to actually grab the ladder and get in a position where I would not fall as I was unhooked from the line, I descended feeling full of energy.
While I will probably stick to being wrapped in a blanket than going out and moving around the large rope courses, it was thrilling and made me feel a feeling of excitement that learning about the effects of trade a thousand years ago just cannot seem to replicate. If I ever need a kick of adrenaline, I will know to go back for another go.