I am not afraid of heights. I like heights. If anything, I’m excited by looking over the cliff’s edge. But I had to reevaluate all of that when I recently visited Captain Zipline’s Aerial Adventure Park.
I’ve done some trust exercises in the past, and it’s hard to say which is scarier, trusting in someone else or trusting in equipment and yourself.
I tagged along with a 30-person group of Colorado tourism professionals. They were on a three-day conference about risk management. The adventure park seemed fitting.
Everyone was nice and welcoming, but it would’ve been that much more fun if I’d gone with 30 of my friends. Next time.
When we all met at the visitor’s center in Wellsville, owner Monty Holmes said the course is a combination of Superman and Indiana Jones. I found that to be quite an accurate description. But going through it, I felt more like Henry Jones Sr. Good, but not with the same level of grace as Indy.
The large group was split in two. I went with the first. We were given harnesses similar to those you wear rock climbing but with two hearty clamps. The clamps are part of the “smart belay” system. Only one unlocks at a time, so you’re constantly connected. Moving from one element to another involves unlocking and relocking on each platform.
Mastering this proved difficult at first, but it soon became routine. Clamp to the wire, lock the clamp on the tweezel, which unlocks the other clamp so you can move it. It was a lot of “tweezeling” and “toggling.” I learned a new set of words.
During our safety instruction our guide said, “Hold on to the exit cord on its way up because we don’t want “summer teeth – some teeth ʼre here and some ʼre over there.” Also, our guide has the same exact voice as actor Thomas Haden Church.
There are nine different courses in the park, rated similarly to ski slopes. Everyone starts on a yellow or green course, and then you can work your way up the 60-foot poles to the double black. I did a yellow, Jackrabbit, and a blue, Falcon. The yellow was fairly easy. The blue had some challenging obstacles, like locking and unlocking in the middle of a feature, and the jump-exit.
On more than one occasion I stood for a bit too long, working up my nerve. Namely two obstacles: a zipline element that I feared wouldn’t be able to hold my body weight and the jump-exit. The exit was a tethered-jump from a platform. The heavy-duty cable let you fall slowly to the ground, but the trusting of the cable was a mental challenge. (Like in the photo).
I would’ve liked to keep going, but I ran out of time. I will definitely go again, but next time, I’m wearing gloves.