“Tell me, what is the appeal of ziplining?”
My mom had asked this question from the back of the car while we were driving around Oahu. I had just announced that I had hopes to take a zipline tour while on Kauai, since we didn’t get a chance to do it on Maui.
In the front seat, I shrugged. “It just seems fun,” I answered her. “I have some friends who have done it, and they’ve liked it…and it always seems like the one thing I could accomplish on The Amazing Race.”
My mom shook her head. She’s always been afraid of heights, so it’s hard for her to understand anyone in their right mind jumping off of anything higher than a footstool. I have a touch of acrophobia myself, but I’ve tried to get rid of it by putting myself in situations where I’ve had to face my fears. Sure, the thought of moving 30 miles an hour over jungle canopy suspended by only a wire makes me nervous, but so does swimming with sharks, and I did that the day after I got married.
So when we arrived on Kauai, one of the first things I did was book us on an early morning ziplining tour with Outfitters Kauai. We had booked so quickly that we couldn’t even back out during the 24-hour cancellation period, so we definitely had to go.
Early Friday morning, we got up, packed our bags for a day of adventure, and made our way down to Koloa for check-in. Our guides, Justin and Alix, were friendly, courteous, and professional. They got us through the safety demonstrations quickly and efficiently and made sure we all felt comfortable.
Justin drove us through the bumpy roads of Kipu Ranch, which is a working ranch where Outfitters Kauai have their ziplining course. Alix pointed out different spots where movies have been filmed (Jurassic Park, Outbreak, M.A.S.H., The Descendants, to name just a few). It was mildly interesting, but the whole group was much more focused on the upcoming zipline to dwell on who filmed what where.
At last, we were geared up and ready for our first zipline, which required a hike. I happened to be at the front of the line when we hiked, so I ended up at the front for the zip! I didn’t give myself any chances to be scared; I simply followed Alix’s instructions, stepped off the ramp and…
It was so fun! We did eight ziplines in all, each more interesting than the last. There were times when I was frightened, but I did it anyway, and I was never so scared that I was paralyzed. It made me comfortable seeing some of the other people in the group get scared as well. We all held it together, though.
After one of the ziplines, we started hearing loud mooing on the other side of the landing ramp. A herd of cattle (Kipu is a working ranch, after all) were moving slowly past our little party, and they didn’t seem happy to see us. We respectfully moved past the cows (and carefully avoided their “presents” on the path). Luckily, the next zipline was not far away, and we could quickly get on that one and away from the cows…but not before we got some bad cow jokes from our guides (What do you call a cow with no legs? Ground beef).
The tour ended at a little swimming hole called Blue Pond (it’s more green than blue). The only way you could get into the water was by jumping in, which is one of my bigger fears: being suspended high above things isn’t nearly so bad until you have to let go and allow gravity to do its business.
I did end up going in, using the little mini zip to carry me to the center so I could drop straight into the 20-foot-deep pool. I was only under for about three seconds, but it felt a whole lot longer to me! Water rushed through my nose (I had forgotten to pinch my nose on the way down), and my right ear began to pop from the sudden change in pressure. I hastily blew air out my nose as I waited for my head to surface so I could take another breath.
When was I going to surface? Surely it would be–
My head broke the surface of the water, and I breathed in and gave a little squeal/whoop, followed by a thumbs up once I figured out where I was (I had told Alix I wasn’t a very strong swimmer, so she was being extra vigilant for me). Most of the other people on the tour were taking turns jumping from the ledge and the zipline, and swimming around, but I had had enough of that kind of adventure for one day, so I got out and worked on drying off. My right ear still had water in it, and it was really uncomfortable; I knew I should get some swimmer’s ear drops pretty quickly.
What was the appeal of ziplining? As Ray said at dinner, “It’s something to do.” I think we both had fun. We were outside, hiking around, and we got to do something different. The people on the tour were really nice, and our guides were very attentive. Who could ask for more on vacation?