Time to suit up for a ride through the trees. PHOTO BY MELISSA LOWRIE
Blue Ridge Zipline end-of-summer treat
By Melissa Lowrie
By the time you read this, our wonderful children and grandchildren will be tucked happily back in classrooms. Thanks for the memories, summer ’15, but oh, September, how I love thee.
As one last hurrah before we all go back to reality, we took a morning to check out Blue Ridge Zipline Canopy Tours. It was a Thursday, when most area schools were already in session. I was thinking we’d have the place to ourselves, but that was not the case.
There were a dozen people in our group, with two guides. (I had the only young kids.) Travis and Craig led us, beginning with a quick chat about our equipment and a demonstration. They were personable and fun and took time to learn all our names.
We were told there were two priorities: safety and fun.
Ziplining is fun, though not for those under 10. Some establishments base their requirements only on weight, but Blue Ridge Zipline Canopy Tours counts both. Participants must be between 70 and 250 pounds to zip and be in “good physical condition,” according to the website. We were asked about any health concerns before we left for training.
The property covers 165 acres of North Georgia woods. There are 13 zips (6,000 total feet), 12 canopy decks (20 to 65 feet high), three sky bridges and two towers.
Along with a crew of helpful employees, there are two resident cats and a huge yellow dog named Brody.
|Canoe Kids and Travis, one of our guides at Blue Ridge
Zipline Canopy Tours. PHOTO BY MELISSA LOWRIE
After our brief demonstration, we headed up one of the towers for the first zip of the day. If you’ve been ziplining before, you may know your gloved hand is your brake. (At camp, the kids went on a zipline, but they didn’t have to slow themselves down.) This takes getting used to, but the guide at the end of the line is waiting to tell you when to apply the brake. We were warned not to come in fast and risk kicking the guides.
There was no time to get nervous, as soon as you step up, your carabiners and trolley are hooked on the line and off you go. If you’ve never been, it’s a little like flying. But with a safety harness.
The group loosened up as the morning went on; we were forced together in some tight spaces as we waited at the top of a canopy deck for everyone in the group to finish. It seemed like these spaces were built for no more than 14. It’s pretty cozy when you’re all tethered to the same tree.
Brody the dog was with us for a good portion of the day. He had a great time chasing the zipliners and trying to catch them.
Diego Bulos takes a turn on the zipline.
“This is sooooo coooooooolllllll!” yelled a Canoe Kid as he flew through the trees. I had a sixth, seventh and eighth grader with me, and they agreed it was a fun day.
There are a few uphill sky bridges to break up the ziplines. At all times you are tethered, so there was never any fear of falling. I wouldn’t say this is an activity for a person with a fear of heights, so if that’s an issue, skip this outing.
There was a photographer on one of the platforms to capture shots of each group and each individual on the zipline. They were all ready to view and purchase by the time we made it back. It was not advised to take your phone or camera, so if you want a fun souvenir, this is the way to go.
All agreed this was a fun day … we started at 10:15 a.m., and were finished in a little over two hours. That was plenty of time and we were ready for lunch. My total cost for a party of four (with fees and taxes) was $381.
It took about an hour to get to Blue Ridge Zipline Canopy Tours from Big Canoe; the directions on the website were easy to follow. Visit zipblueridge.com for any information and to make a reservation. They operate year-round, so check the schedule.
This is a fun outing for older kids and grands; get out there and enjoy the last of the warm weather. If you can’t make it to Blue Ridge, enjoy your own adventure.
It’s a good day to fly. PHOTO PROVIDED BY BLUE RIDGE ZIPLINE