The Closest Thing to Flying

April 13, 2010
I soar through the air at 60 miles per hour with a white-knuckle grip on my full-body harness. My eyes are trying to stay open and take in the Mexican jungle’s beauty as it whizzes past me, but they snap shut due to the pure excitement and adrenaline pumping through my veins. I hope to God that this equipment stays true and keeps me alive long enough to get to the next checkpoint. I see the wooden platform about 100 feet ahead of me, and I take a deep breath of relief. I grab the excuse of a brake (which is really just a v-shaped stick) and lay it on the cable that is suspending me hundreds of feet above the ground. I begin to slow down as I come closer and closer to the wooden platform that is my safe haven.
I see a worker waiting to catch me, and I laugh at the thought of this 100 pound Mexican girl catching this 200 pound American boy. I come flying onto the platform almost mowing over this girl, and I stop myself inches before I fall off the other side. I have just made it my first half mile of the zip-line. Only ten to go!

“Woo! You came flyin’ in here!” congratulated the girl.

“Ha-ha, I know; I thought I was going to fall off the other side!” I said back.

“Yeah, well let’s keep you moving! Are you ready?”

“Ready as I’ll ever be!” I reply. The girl attaches my harness onto the next zip-line and then gives me the thumbs-up to go. I go the edge of the wooden platform and jump out into the open, shooting myself down a mile long cable.

This time I am above a turquoise blue cove of the Caribbean Sea where I had been scuba diving the previous day. I see the same boat that I had taken out, and I wave at its new passengers. I now see the next wooden platform that will grant me passage onto the jungle-gym of wooden ladders, bridges, and monkey walks that will bring me to the final set of cables.

Once again I come barreling onto the wooden platform, but this time I am caught by a rather large (300 pound) man, with the name “José” lettered on his shirt.

“Hola. Como estas?” asks José, in Spanish.

“Muy bien! Ha-ha I’m doing great man!”

“Alrighty, are you ready to try some tricks?” he asks in a very strong Mexican accent.

“What kind of tricks are we talking about here?” I ask.

“Well you can go upside down, backwards, sideways… there’s a lot of goofy stuff you can try!”

“Okay! I’ll try going upside down!” José gave me a thumb up and attached me to the next cable.

“Alright now put your feet right under the wheels on the cable. Just lay back and stay upside down as long as you want, but you have to get up before you get to the end!”

I put my feet right where José told me to and begin to lay back as he pushes me out into open air. My world is upside down as I watch José get smaller and smaller while I glide away. It’s a great feeling just flying through the open air. I get the same feeling when I ski and scuba dive; no past, no future, only the moment. Zip-lining is just another activity I get to add to my list of great, life-changing experiences. I think I’ll try sky diving next!

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