Weve all seen them: Photos of men and
women hitched to a cable high in the air, gliding over a valley, a
canyon or a river to welcoming arms on the other side.
But have we ever
considered what goes into building a zipline before seriously
considering riding one?
Denise and David
Carswell, owners of Princeville Ranch Adventures on Kauai, launched
their Zip N Dip Expedition a little over a year ago after a year of
constructing the zipline.
David and his
crew would hike down one side of a valley with the cable, haul it
across the valley floor and hoist it up the other side, Denise
Carswell said. Then they would use trucks and tractors to pull the
cable until it stretched across from the anchor poles at each end.
Each zipline is engineered and constructed to exceed all industry
Even so, the ride
can be frightening for first-timers.
Many people sign
up for the expedition only because their spouse or friend wants to
do it. Its obvious when they check in that theyre reluctant; in
fact, some of them are terrified.
Carswells advice is to let
go of inhibitions and feel what its like to fly.
For those who
want a trial run, theres a 175-foot-long line that runs just 25
feet above ground. Participants can get a taste of whats to come on
this practice zipline, Carswell said. If they decide its not for
them, they dont have to continue.
If they do
continue, Carswell said that 99% of them come back
They have a sense
of accomplishment because they went out of their comfort zone, she
of all ages (a few people over age 80 have ridden the Zip N Dip,
Carswell said) cruise along lines that range in length from 300 to
660 feet. The length of the line, wind conditions and the zippers
weight, height and body position determine the speed and duration
of each ride. On average, participants glide at 35 mph for 15 to 45
can boost the wow factor by adding spins and swings to their
the reporter who wrote this article, send e-mail to [email protected].