Learning to Fly
by Awesome Possum
Not long ago on a warm summer day, I found myself standing on a platform high in the air, tied to a tree. I was visiting the beautiful Mountain Springs Lodge, about 20 miles north of Leavenworth, WA, in search of a new experience. My ziplining adventure was just beginning. As my guide Becca told me “you got this” for about the 15th time that day and I stepped into space from 70 feet in the air, I paused to consider how I got myself into this position. I can’t even see. Wouldn’t it have been easier, safer, and just as much fun to go stand in front of a giant fan and pretend? But then I would have missed the birds, the shouts of happy people walking the plank, and that allusive feeling of soaring up to 190 feet over the Beaver Creek valley as I channeled my inner possumness.
I wanted to fly because it’s considered safe for people of all ages, between 70 and 270 pounds, who do not have neck or back injuries, and are not pregnant. Most importantly, it just sounded fun.
Before I went, I was very concerned about having control of my speed and being able to stop myself. Once I gave up any idea of control, it was much easier to relax and enjoy the flight.
We met our driver at the gate and rolled out to the trailhead on a Polaris Ranger UTV, where we met our guides. Once there, each of us in our group of eight had to step on a device similar to a scale to choose our helmets. It made me think of the sorting hat from Harry Potter. Keeping the mystery alive, they refused to say anything about how it actually worked. That is how I became the Awesome Possum. Returning to human form appears to be much more difficult. Others in my group included Sparkles, Cupcake, Bugs, Tinker Bell, Skywalker, Captain Time Travel, and Princess. Our guides were Tad and Pikachu.
Once this was done, we stepped into our harnesses. These must have been similar to parachute harnesses. They allow you to fly in a sitting position and have straps that go around your waste, chest, thighs, and shoulders. When not traveling through the air, your line was always clipped to a tree. Nothing was left to chance. The guides were in control of everyone at all times. They communicated by radio. It was all designed to take your mind off the process and focus on the fun.
My tour consisted of five ziplines. The longest one is about a quarter mile and takes about 45 seconds to complete.
They also offer a nine-line tour, but the five-line tour contains the longest line and is a better value, in my opinion. The entire process took about 2 hours.
First, those who had never done it before were allowed time to try a 15-foot practice line close to ground level.
When I asked, I was told that I was the only blind individual they had served in the 5 years of this facility. They did not single me out in any way or make me feel differently than anyone else. Obviously, canes and dogs stay on the ground, but you could bring your phones and smaller items.
So how does it feel? It feels wonderful! I would do it again. Walking the plank happened when our guides asked us to yell as we stepped off the platform. By comparison, parasailing allows you to stay in the air longer. Once you get past the nervousness of stepping into space, ziplining is exhilarating, safe, and fun. It’s thrilling to soar for almost a minute until the guide stops you and you lower your feet onto the tree platform, feeling the wind in your face, knowing we are all there because nature can be just as adventurous as any rollercoaster or amusement park. It certainly builds confidence. I was told that a 92-year-old lady had done the five-line course and loved it.
In my research, I learned about many ziplines across Washington. Amboy, Bellevue, Camano Island, Eatonville, Everett, Leavenworth, Liberty Lake, Silver Lake, Stevenson, and Woodinville all have options. Some are integrated with challenge courses like rope climbing, repelling, staircases, and suspension bridges. Once you choose your style of zipline, it is easy to find videos on YouTube. It’s a great experience for family reunions or team-building activities.
I recorded this fantastic journey from start to finish, and you can listen to this edited Binaural 1-hour recording. Headphones are recommended for maximum enjoyment.
Bottom line: I am thrilled to be able to recommend Leavenworth Ziplines as it was an adventure I won’t soon forget.
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