Sunday, July 18, 2010

Ziplining



I'm going to move on to our zipline adventure. We went to Big Island Eco Adventures for this phenomenal activity. And I really do mean phenomenal. I don't think I've ever experienced anything this exciting, and this much fun. AND it's easy enough that even Katie was able to do it. It requires almost no strength or training of any kind, but it makes you feel as if you are doing something crazy and death defying.



These were our guides. I can't remember their names, but trust me, if you get a chance to go there tell them you want these fellows. Print out a copy of this photo, take it in with you, and tell them you want these guys to be your guides. They were hilarious and made the day even more fun.

They had warned us a couple of times that there could be some wild pigs up there, and not to go near them if we saw any. They really emphasized that these are wild animals, not pets, and that they could be mean. At one point as we were hiking between zips, we heard some bushes rattling to our left. The guides said to us, "There's something up there." Then they reminded us that if there was a pig around, to stay away from it. Then there was more rattling in the bushes and I heard the guides mutter to each other, "There's definitely something right there." And they urged us to move along quickly.


We hurried to the next zip and just as we got there, one of the guides (who had snuck on up ahead) jumped out of a bush at us, grunting like a pig. Emily and I both shrieked, and Ben said he was scrambling for his knife (and then realizing he hadn't been allowed to bring it on the plane). We laughed so hard - we really liked our guides, they were hilarious!

It didn't occur to me until later that the guides had probably been flicking rocks into the bushes to make them rattle.




The first zipline is the keiki (kids) zip. It's a nice introduction to the whole process. You are only about five feet above the ground, so you aren't terrified of falling.

That happens later.

It's also very slow, although it doesn't feel like it at the time. I know I felt like I was going faster and faster as I crossed and I was very concerned about jolting to a stop on the other side. In retrospect though, when I watch this video, we were going very s-l-o-w-l-y.

It's a great system in that you start off on the easy ziplines and they progressively get higher, longer, and faster as you go. If you had to start off with the big ones, it would be easy to take one look and decide, "Nope".




There is some mild hiking in between zips. I think they said we went about two miles all together but it didn't seem that long at all. The distance between zips is fairly short and you can rest while you wait for all the other folks to zip across. But even Katie (who complains if we get a parking spot too far from the mall) was not bothered by the amount of walking we did. If she did it, you can.



At one point we had to cross a swinging bridge. We were attached to the bridge by our lines so there was no danger of falling. There was also a board running down the center of the bridge, which was a good thing because there were some seriously big gaps between the boards on that thing. One of the guides gave Katie a bunch of leaves and told her to throw it like confetti while she was out there. I don't think I even looked down as I went out. They were jumping up and down on the bridge as I came across, and I was laughing and concentrating on keeping my balance more than I was thinking about the view.


Katie just barely made the weight limit to go on the zipline. We had her wear a backpack with some water bottles in it just to make absolutely certain she wouldn't get stuck out there in the middle.

After Zipline 6 we took a break at the Mac Nut Hut. They have fruit kabobs, banana bread, trail mix, drinks and macadamia nuts you can crack yourself. This is also the spot to use the bathroom if you need to. I always take that option when offered. The guides have to help you get all your gear off before you go to the bathroom, and then they help you get it back on again when you are done.

There was a glorious view from the deck of the Mac Nut Hut..........

Which is a perfect time for a family photo.

It was just after this that things got scary (for me). I, of course, had taken the option of using the bathroom which meant removing all my gear and then getting it back on. The last two ziplines are the highest ones, and it occurred to me that if my gear wasn't on correctly, I wasn't going to find out on the kekei zip. I was going to find out when I fell several hundred feet into a two inch deep puddle.

So I got a little nervous.

Actually, I was shaking like a leaf, but I didn't tell anyone.



This was the point where we had to run and leap off of cliffs and bridges in order to do the zip.

I asked the guide to double check my gear and he said, "Don't worry I can do this with my eyes shut!" And he promptly demonstrated by hooking me up to the zip line with his eyes closed.

This did not give me confidence.



I survived it though!




On the last zip, they told us to scream so that any groups coming along behind us would hear it. Emily gave a nice bloodcurdling shriek, but Kerry said Katie sounded like a drowning gerbil.

This was HANDS DOWN our favorite activity on the Big Island, and possibly anywhere.

This is truly something you do not want to miss!

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