The Benefits of Ziplining
“If you never have, you should. These things are fun and fun is good.”
Dr. Seuss, Oh the Places You’ll Go
When presented with the chance to ride a zip line on the Caribbean island of St. Lucia, I applied the above philosophy. How cool. Gliding through an emerald rainforest renewed my spirit and released giggles galore.
My friend and I arrived at Tree Top Adventure Park, near the village of Dennery, eager to try the challenge. Certainly wasn’t expecting someone to flop a white bakery-style hairnet onto our heads; nor top that off with yellow helmets.
Next, we found ourselves draped in more harnesses and clinking chains than the ghost of Jacob Marley. Then, we donned extra heavy-duty leather gloves.
“Ready?” asked Daniel, a guide with an impish smile.
“Sure,” replied Johanna, “but a little nervous.”
“No problem,” said Daniel, a hint of his Creole accent breaking through. “This is Simeon; he’ll be helping out.”
We climbed to a wooden platform built around a tree, making me feel akin to the Swiss Family Robinson. Daniel hitched three pulleys from his harness to a stainless steel wire strung across a ravine, then scooted off. Safety procedures require one guide to be on each end of the line.
“I’ll go next,” I shouted and lowered myself into a semi-sit, the harness cradling my body. Off I flew like Tarzan’s Jane, suspended from a vine. The process was easy and the ride just scary enough to cause a rush.
Swoosh; I landed on my feet, laughing and raving about the wild ride. The rest of the group crossed over with equally happy faces and cheers. We were clipped into safety lines, and then our guides snapped us onto the next cable.
I found it hard to resist the urge to pound my chest like an ape and let out a deep yodeling cry. Trouble was I needed to grip the tether with my left hand and stabilize any rotation with my right.
During ten more rides, we frolicked as monkeys in the mist. We soared as colorful yellow-headed parrots; took flight over small gushing rivers, flew higher than treetops and danced in dense tropical foliage.
Helen, age 50, conquered her fear of heights and couldn’t wait to tell her college-age daughters she won their challenge. Her husband David seemed to come alive, beaming with joy, as a child deep in an imaginary world.
I know it sounds dramatic to say a zipline escapade is therapeutic. But, for boomers fraught with creeping age, it just might be. The outing encouraged a return to carefree play, ignited laughter and an “I don’t wanna grow up” attitude. Dr. Seuss is right: “These things are fun and fun is good.”
If you find yourself on St. Lucia, don’t miss the chance to go ziplining: