Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Zip it good!

Even while having the time of your life at the New River Birding and Nature Festival, it can happen. Bird-Burn-Out (or BBO).

Bird songs, birdjams, (Hi, Jay!) bird photos, birds birds birds. There is a point that I think many people reach at this festival, where they just have sensory overload and can't handle any more birds.

The promoters realize this, and one of the ways they have chosen to deal with BBO is to offer some unconventional trips that aren't really about the birds, like Birding by Boat, a gentle float trip down the New River (that's for another post).

Another way, and frankly a zippy way, to deal with it is the Canopy Tour, aka "the Zipline".
This was offered on two different days of the festival at two separate companies.
(Ours was Ace Adventure Resort)

I was digging the idea of flying through the trees yelling like a kamikaze, so I signed up.
Nina also signed up, but was on another trip. Here's our adorable Nina, getting suited up and ready to zip:

nina zip
(Photo by Geoff Heeter)

I was pleasantly surprised that only four women, including me, had signed up for this day of zipping. I was the youngest of the four...that rocks.
We did some low-impact birding before suiting up.
Jeff Gordon acted like a very sexy female turkey and called in not only a male turkey, but a red-shouldered hawk:

Yes. That's JEFF making that sexy turkey noise.

my zip troup
Devo makes a comeback.
(Photo by Geoff Heeter)

jeff me zip
Why we look like we don't want to touch each other, I don't know.
I'm usually all over Jeff like a bad suit.
(Photo by Geoff Heeter)

The very competent young woman who was our leader made me feel quite safe.
And she reminded the men, as they geared up in their harnesses, "Make sure all of the furniture is in the same room."

"Jeff and Geoff, is all of your furniture in the same room?"

I am usually happy to not be a man, but this day, I was especially thankful.
Even without "furniture", that harness really should have bought me dinner first.
My bra did end up around my neck.

It was so fun, zipping from platform to platform, and platform up to tree, across ravines...
Since this was a free-style zip, your momentum usually makes you spin around a few times.

Here's a quick video of one of my zips, when I don't quite take off hard enough to reach the platform, necessitating pulling myself hand over hand on the safety line, hence the silly cackling at the end of the video.

(This video achieved by turning the camera on right before I zip,
and balancing said camera on my right boob):

The women were great...and the one that I will remember for the rest of my life was Dot.
Dot is a 70-something grandmother who, as she did the last and most terrifying zip (where instead of running off a platform, you scooted off on your rear end and basically did a free fall) went flying through the air yelling "Whoop! WHOOP! WHOOP!".

She had a plan for the photos that were taking of her zips.
"I'm giving them to my grandbabies, so when their friends show off pictures of their grandmas in a rocking chair on the porch, my grandbabies can show a picture of their grandma ziplining."
That's just awesome.

Here's Dot, on her Blackberry, no less:
Dot the rockin grandma

And in conclusion, Jeff Gordon: KAMAKAZE:


KGMom said...

Alrighty. . .
I am SO not cut out to go zipping through the trees, with or without a harness.
Makes my toes curl just to watch these videos.

Lynne at Hasty Brook said...

I'm with Donna.

Beth said...

I don't know, I think I would give it a try. Next year at the 2011 Festival.

Susan Gets Native said...

Well, at least Beth's with me. It really was fun.

MevetS said...

I'm a wimp when it comes to heights.

But damn, that looks like fun!

DJB's Photo Adventures said...

I would do it! Looks like a blast!

BANJO52 said...

Thanks for the intro to Jeff Gordon--very professional.