Monday, July 25, 2016

Zippity Do Dah!

Last year we wanted to do the Leavenworth Ziplines, but they only had one reservation available, so we couldn't do it. This year, I was more proactive, and made the reservation before we even got over to the cabin. Ironically, there are still many slots available this week....go figure. Unfortunately, Lorraine was not medically cleared to go on the zipline, so just Annette and I did it. 

Even though the company is called Leavenworth Ziplines, it's really located just outside of Plain (which is 13 miles up the Chumstick Hwy from Leavenworth), and only about a mile and a half from the cabin at a Resort called Mountain Springs Lodge. Our 10:45 reservation required us to be there at 10:25 to sign the waiver. There were 7 of us doing the full 3 hour tour (just sit right back and you'll hear a tale...). Three were kids (you have to be at least 70 lbs, and no more than 270). 

First they took us up in ATVs. Annette and I sat in the back.
We climbed up a dirt road up behind the lodge.

Our zipline guide dudes for the tour were James (aka Waterboi) and Nate (aka Nate Dog). Both were young guys who were quite entertaining. We each had to step on a scale that just made sure we were within the weight restriction. The smallest kid was barely 70 lbs. We were given harnesses appropriate for our size (blue handled ones for the adults, red for the kids). We also had helmets. Each helmet had a name on it (this way, the guides don't have to remember our real names, they just called us by our "zip names"). Annette was "Tinkerbell", I was "Shredder". The youngest boy was "Trouble". That would turn out to be the perfect name for him. Some of the other names were "Tater Tot", "Went Pro" (a helmet with a GoPro mount on it), and "Turbo". Turbo was very nervous, and you could tell the dad ("Went Pro") of one of the other kids was also a little nervous. 

After getting us all harnessed up, they showed us how to do the zipline. They had two of the people demonstrate on a short line.
Annette ready to go.

We had to hike up some switchbacks to get to the first line. Trouble wanted to go first on the first line. Turbo's grandma went, and I asked her if she wanted to go next after her grandma. She said no (remember, she was a little nervous), so I went next. The first one was fairly short--just getting the hang of it.
Nate Dog giving us the low down for the first zipline.
Annette, last to go, zipping on over.

The second one was a little longer. For the third one, Nate and James encouraged us to get out of our comfort zone, and do this one with a "trust fall" at the beginning. That meant falling backwards, and closing your eyes. Some of our group were not quite up for that yet. I did it, but forgot to close my eyes. It was fun! Annette did a video of me, but for some reason all the videos are in slow motion (I guess I still have to figure out some settings on my camera).

For the fourth line, we had to climb up a ladder from the end of the third line. This was the highest point.
The fourth platform

 The view from the platform. The center peak is Dirty Face (not really a very big mountain). Barely visible in the distance is Galcier Peak.
Entiat Ridge (and Waterboi).
The long swoop of #4.

On #4, I enjoyed spinning around in a few 360s. Nate said most people don't like the spinning around. Because this was a much longer line, we were now using a "capture" brake. So, as you came in toward the platform, the trolley was captured by the brake. In the previous lines, the brake was a rubber block that slid on the cable, but slowed us down.
The "trolley" on the cable.

To get to the 5th platform, we had to walk across a bridge. Of course our harnesses were clipped to a rope above the bridge. The 5th zipline was kind of a narrow one through the trees. They called this the Cannonball, as we (if you wanted) pushed off from the tree with our feet (most of the lines we just stepped off the platform), then remained in a cannonball position through the trees. 

For the 6th zip, we took a "weighted" step off the platform, and James bounced the cable as we rode across. You could increase the bounce by dropping your legs, then pulling up your knees. The timing was tricky (like bouncing on a trampoline). It was very fun!

On the 7th line, we were zipping over a pond that had a target in it.
See the target?
The object of this zip was to launch a duck toward the target as you were flying over it.
Bucket of ducks.
If you hit the center of the target, you would win a Leavenworth Zipline t-shirt. If you hit the outer circle, you would get a hug or a high-five (your choice). At this point, I was going last. I chose my duck.
Clearly a U of O duck!

I took off. As I zipped over the bushes just in front of the target, I let ducky go. I watched as he seemed to be headed right for the target. Then, at the last minute he must have opened his wings, because he suddenly went sideways, and missed the target entirely! Stupid duck! Oh well, no one else managed to hit the target either. Nate said he had only hit the center 3 times out of 40.

The 8th zipline was the last one we could do any tricks on. Since I had forgotten to close my eyes on the trust fall, I decided I would close my eyes as I fell off the platform on this one. It was awesome! 

We had to do another little hike to get to the final zipline. For this one, since Annette and I had gone last, or nearly last the whole day, we went first and second. The 9th zipline was 1409 feet long. It was about a 45 second ride.
Ready for the last ride!

I just took stills on the last ride.

Now going under the duck drop zip line.
Can't even see the platform.
Coming in for a landing.
Annette finishing.

Annette and I got to go sit in the shade to wait for the others. Nate had told me how he wanted us to go first because Trouble had gone first most of the day, and he was a handful (maybe 9 or 10 years old, and absolutely fearless). When Trouble came in, Nate told him the ladies (us) were now in charge of him. I told him to sit his butt down on the bench and don't move. He did as he was told.

When everyone finished, we went into a building and got out of our harnesses, and walked back to the lodge (so we could leave a tip for Nate and James).

This was an awesome adventure. I would recommend it, and will likely do it again! I felt completely safe the entire time.

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