Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Zippity Doo Dah

Want the perfect way to experience the fall foliage up close and personal? You could rake up a bunch of fallen leaves and jump into a huge pile over and over - OR - you could zoom through the multicolored treetops high above the ground by going ziplining!

Ziplining consists of a series of heavy duty wires suspended in the air, typically connected to a tree or manmade platform at either end. A harnass straps the daring rider in and a pulley system allows the rider to hang from the wire and glide - or "zip" - across from one end to the other! This extreme activity offers thrills on a multitude of levels. The speed and height of the zipline varies throughout each "course" and beautiful views of Ohio's lush flora are consistent through and through!

We are fortunate here in Ohio to have some pretty badass ziplining facilities right at our fingertips! There is Ozone Zipline Adventures located in Lebanon in Warren County (Southwest Ohio), which was built in 2009. It consists of 10 ziplines that lasts for about 4 hours. Some hiking is involved in this adventure, and a brave soul is required to tackle the heights that reach 200 feet above the valley. Amazing views of the Little Miami River as well as an educational aspect involving the surrounding nature make it even more enjoyable!

I visited Ozone Zipline Adventures twice - once in the summer, and once in the fall - and both were fantastic experiences. I was told by our tour guides that this was the longest (at 6,000 feet) and tallest zipline in the entire Midwest! They are looking into expanding the zipline tour so that it actually crosses the river, stopping on a platform at Fort Ancient, a historic and popular Native American site.

Ozone Zipline Adventures is located right off of Interstate 71 by the Jeremiah Morrow Bridge, and is approximately $80. I can personally vouch that the guides here were remarkable, kind and exciting! While I was apprehensive and a bit scared at first (as evidenced by my white knuckles on my harness), over time, it became more and more relaxing and natural. I learned techniques for speeding up and slowing down (such as the "starfish") and also got the chance to pass over a series of wooden "sky bridges." It was an all around fantastic experience!

The other ziplining experiences in Ohio are Hocking Hills Canopy Tours in Rockbridge in Hocking County and The Wilds Zipline Safari in Cumberland in Guernsey County.

Hocking Hills Canopy Tour is Ohio's FIRST World-Class Zipline Adventure and is unique in that it offers "night flight," canopy tours, and "Super Zips." It also is located in the middle of all the action in Hocking Hills, where you can enjoy a great deal of hiking, camping, canoeing, and many other outdoor adventures. It has been critically acclaimed and has won many awards on the national level. The Wilds Zipline Safari is new to the scene, and as indicated in its name, allows for zipliners to zoom above the Wilds, where exotic animals roam, including rhinos, giraffes and zebras!

Ziplining can be for almost anyone! While it offers and extreme thrill, it does not require a great deal of skill or athleticism. Aside from crossing footbridges and some slight hiking, most of the action comes from gravity and physics! There are weight, height, and health restrictions, however. When it comes to age, however, the sky is the limit! In fact, I went ziplining with peers my age as well as my old boss, who was in his early 60s! I also have a friend who went ziplining with his grandparents, who are nearly 80 years old!

There's virtually no excuse for you to get out and feel the wind against your face as you zip above Ohio this fall!

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