Special Shout-Out To Andy, John, Blake, Eric and Matthew my Guides and Managers at The Screaming Eagle, Lake Guntersville State Park, Guntersville, Alabama. They are exceptional. Thank you for keeping me safe.Want To Fly?
Hot, sweaty, adrenaline pumping, daredevil fun in the beautiful, lush, deep woods of Lake Guntersville State Park in Guntersville, Alabama…that was my day, yesterday, I’m a 62 year old female. Life is good here at David’s Way.
When I booked my adventure, I wavered between Level 1 and Level 2. Level 1 has 10 zip lines and 4 suspension type bridges with lengths up to 400 feet and heights up to 80 feet. It is a 1-2 hour adventure.Level 2 has 15 zip lines and 8 suspension type bridges with lengths up to 2000+ feet and heights up to 250 feet. It is a 2-3.5 hour adventure. Of course, I chose Level 2. I mean, I live to defy age, not just my age but the ravages of what we perceive as the ravages of age. I have a different opinion. I believe that so much of that is the ravages of poor choices. Every moment of every day we make these life altering choices. Think about how you would feel if every decision that you made was made to promote your health in the best way possible in that particular situation. Would your overall health and energy be better today than what it is?
Zip lining may be misunderstood by some. I believe that there’s a misconception that it’s like an amusement park ride. You know, you just show up and hop in a “seat” and ride. Guess again. It’s necessary to arrive on time because nobody’s leaving the woods to come back and get you if you’re late so if you purchase an online ticket, research your route before you go because Google Maps stopped on me yesterday. Some zip line courses are so deep into the woods that you may not have internet coverage. Know your route.
While on this particular course, we zipped, hiked and climbed towers and suspension and Burma bridges. The Burma bridges have one rope underneath your feet. There are ropes to hold on each side but at the end you pull yourself up a bit to land on the next zip line platform. You must be fit enough to keep up. You need some upper body strength and overall stamina for Level 2. Our final hike was 2-3 miles of easy hiking through the rolling foothills of the Appalachians. At this point, you are pretty well exhausted. You need to have some stamina. You will probably breath a little heavy here just because you’re already tired.
Wow!That about sums it up but for the sake of communication, I will elaborate. On my first line, I had the sensation that I had to hold myself up. I was glad that I had upper body strength. The truth is, you really don’t have to hold yourself up. Thank God, the harness does that. You will have to initiate your zip, however. You will choose, on the signal of your Guide, when to jump or step off the platform. When you begin to fly your arms will feel your body weight. Lake Guntersville has liberal weight restrictions but personally, I believe that you need to be relatively fit and in good health to do this. I lift heavy weights on a program with an excellent trainer who pushes me to my safe limit and I also hike for miles and I found this course to be a challenging workout. I am 5’6″ and weigh 137 pounds and about 18% body fat. I wouldn’t want to have any more body fat if I was going to do this. You need your muscle and fat will literally weigh you down.
Fly, Baby, FLY!!!
The lines vary in length and one of them is about a half mile long. You will disappear into the forest as the wind rushes past your face. If you have long hair, it MUST be in a ponytail holder or be secured in some other manner. Imagine having it caught in the apparatus that supports your body weight as you zip through the woods at speeds of up to 55 miles per hour. Most likely it would be snatched out at the roots or you would wish it was. I must say, I balked at the ponytail. I had little to no problem with jumping off a platform 250 feet in the air but I really didn’t like the ponytail…at first. After the first zip, nothing in this world mattered except the next line.
As we age we tend to have fewer and fewer good adrenaline producing experiences. As young children we crave these events. As we “mature” and take on “Adult” life, we settle into a job and a family role and even if we have a great life, these playful, adrenaline pumping events can become a thing of the past. Life may seem mundane and boring. Sadness and melancholy for the bliss of youth or childhood can become very real. Think about it. How different is your life now from what it was when you were younger? Do you remember zooming down a steep hill on your bicycle, hands in the air, hoping Mom didn’t find out as you plunged down that hill to what could have been your certain death? Now, seriously, how long has it been since you felt that way? Diving off of the high dive at the city pool or plunging into the deep, icy cold escape of the local swimming hole would do the same thing. Do you miss that? Our brains need balance. There is an old saying, “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” Sometimes we need to get in touch with our mojo, our confidence, energy and enthusiasm for life. This adventure will not only put you in touch with it, it will give you a little extra.
At the beginning of the adventure, you are flying above the tops of the trees that seem to be fairly close to you. You have the sensation that the “bottom” is right there. It is an illusion. The floor of the forest is 20-75 feet below you here. Later, in Level 2, the canopy falls away and you will jump off of a platform that is 250 feet in the air. Sand Mountain is the local “high place” and you seem to be on level with it. There is certainly nothing higher than you anywhere around and you are looking down at EVERYTHING! As your Guide hooks you onto the line and you look down, or not… 🙂 … there is absolutely NOTHING for a long, long way. You will jump into thin air. The canopy is far below. By this time you are pretty well committed and you trust your Guides and the equipment and the process. You will get an adrenaline boost as you step off into nothingness and you will feel your harness and the line instantly begin to zip you away safely. Listen to your Guides. They are there for your safety.
Tried and True
Zip lining is an ancient form of transportation used for everything from personal transportation to bridge building. It is considered safe when safety rules are followed. Less than 1% of zip line adventures end with an accident and then the simple act of making sure to be “hooked on” every time that you climb could have prevented some of those. Driving to the course is potentially much more dangerous. Ziplining is good fun. Show up well rested, fueled up with good nutrition and well hydrated. You won’t be going to the drive-thru and water will be available at limited times and is it really necessary to say this? BE SOBER. Do not be under the influence of drugs or alcohol when you zipline. You want a safe, fun experience that you will always remember. It’s a once in a lifetime experience for many. Relish it. You won’t need or want the drugs or the alcohol. You will, however need to be well fueled and well hydrated. Enjoy!
All things considered, I believe that I have been an experiment for David’s Way in this venture. I live what we teach to the best of my ability. I have stress and a real life just like you. I am 62 and work a high stress full-time job as a Charge Nurse. I have special family members that require a “little extra” and have dogs. I burn the candle at both ends, nurse by day, blogger by night. I am quite often repping out deadlifts at 3AM. My life is not”easy” and I’m no special case. I am proactive concerning my health.
David and I are both Certified Nutrition/Wellness Consultants and are on a mission to help the world to be a healthier place. We are Certified health freaks and we’re proud of that. I think that my performance on this course proved that our way works. I was well able to reach up and pull myself along the zip line when I stopped a bit short of the platform. They will pull you in but I pulled myself a lot of the way. On some lines, we were told that we would probably stop early and we did. No problem. David’s Way has made me strong. I was told that I am an inspiration and that I performed well. I thoroughly enjoyed the course and my Guides were exceptional, kind, professional and pleasant. If you ever get to Guntersville and have an afternoon to spend on fun, you might want to find The Screaming Eagle. It’s in the park. Happy Trails!