Through the Leaves: Ira Cronin ziplines into fall colors

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Print
Email
|

by IRA CRONIN / NBC Charlotte

Bio | Email | Follow: @IraWCNC

WCNC.com

Posted on October 18, 2013 at 5:50 PM

Updated Friday, Oct 18 at 5:50 PM

BLOWING ROCK, N.C. -- After gearing up in a safety harness at base camp at the Sky Valley Zip ranch in Blowing Rock, it's a quick trip to the top of the mountain.

Click here for photos

 Once there, the next step in our adventure is an important safety chat so I can get familiar with the equipment that will keep me safe as I fly through the tree tops. 

My guides Brett and Justin instruct, and ease nerves, fully explaining how to have fun and be safe while flying through the tree tops.

 Jack sharp owns sky valley zip tours and admits that his course is fun any time of year, this peak Fall weeks in the high country are hard to beat.

“This time of year we get the color change you get to see a bird’s eye view of mother nature's quilt laid out underneath you, at one point on our course your 300 feet off the ground,”  he said

Thankfully they ease you in to adventure. 

The course begins with a couple of short and easy zips that give me a feel for gliding along the line, and how to brake.  The short early zips build my confidence and courage so that I am feeling ready, as they introduced to the line known as “Big Mama”. 

One of my guides named Brett explains the name, telling me it's our longest, biggest and fastest line on the course, its 1600 feet long, 300 feet high in the middle, and you reach speeds up to 35-40 mph.

I feel supremely confident at this point, but looking out across the valley at the line that stretches to the mountain on the other side I am a little apprehensive. 

Holding my breath at first and focusing on the line above me I start down the line. 

It doesn’t take long before I’m only aware of the amazing view that is laid out before me.  Now my nerves are replaced by excitement as we continue through the lines.
Besides the breath taking views and long zips, Sky Valley also has what they like to call the ‘trust fall’ it's a 45 foot vertical assisted drop. 

My guides Justin and Brett tell me the goal is step backwards off the platform without holding onto my safety rope.  I was not successful but it was a thrilling experience. 

There is a short trail down, that is referred to with a smile, as ‘the trail of shame’ if the vertical drop isn't your thing.  The guides at Sky Valley are all about making sure your safe while having the time of your life.
Also on this amazing trip you traverse a 120 foot cable strung bridge, 50 feet above a 35 foot waterfall between lines toward the end of the course. 

Then in what seems like the blink of an eye that actually took a couple of hours, the most scenic views of the fall leaves you can find without renting a helicopter is over.
 

Print
Email
|