We did it!
Oh yes and it was fun. The New River Gorge people are awesome and the ziplining was fantastic! We called first to see if they had enough parking for our truck and Michelle, aka MRod, has to be the most helpful and outgoing person we've ever dealt with on the phone. Seriously, we meet a lot of grumpy, unhelpful people who hate their jobs. Seems that's the kind of person companies hire to answer the phones. MRod went way beyond, she figured out a way for us to park and then got us reservations for the afternoon and even stood out on the road to make sure we got in right! We were even a little behind, thanks to red lights, hilly roads and 36,000 pounds of soup but she kept in touch by texting us and parking was no problem.
There were only two other people in our group, a 14 year old and his dad. They had done the Canopy Tour that morning, it goes through the trees so it's at a lower elevation. The one we did is called Gravity and it's higher and faster (oh Yeah). It's 200 hundred feet in the air with 5 high speed ziplines ranging from 450-1800 feet across the ridgeline. Josh aka "Skippy" and Kyle were our guides and they made it really fun. Those guys have a cool job!
|Kyle & Josh|
I don't know why but I wasn't scared to do this. I know for a fact that I will never bungee jump and I'm pretty sure I won't jump out of a plane but tethering myself to a 5/8 inch steel cable and zipping over the trees I can do. It was intimidating, for sure. There was the moment when we were instructed not to put our hands in front of the trolley, the thing with rollers in it that connects to the line, so of course all I could think of doing was to put my hand in front of it. Then we get the little run through practice on the ground and I listen all intent and serious like. So I volunteer to go first and forget everything Josh said. I suck at directions! I really worried that I would focus on doing all the wrong things instead of the correct ones and then I said F*&!k it, which is the thing I say in such situations.
It was hot and sunny and by far the bus ride was the most stomach lurching part. Those West Virginia hills aren't for sissies. It's about a 10 minute drive up to the first tower. There they do a run though with a zipline on the ground. Then the first two are fairly tame, I think those were about 450 feet or so over an open grassy area. The next one was a big one, 1800 feet long and on top of the world and you could really build up some speed on it. I think I did Mach 7 but I'm not sure. It was a nice long ride, almost a minute and it was so high up that the wind moved you around a bit and I didn't look around until about 10 seconds into it. It was beautiful, oh to have wings! I asked Josh right away what I needed to do to go as fast as possible and he said tucked up, canon ball style is best. Of course Himself must have been doing Mach14 because his line really sang when he was on it. The showoff!!
Check out their website to see all the cool things you can do here and how they are helping to save the old growth eastern Hemlock trees. These trees are at risk because of an infestation of the Hemlock Woolly Adelgid (HWA), a non native pest that can have a dire impact on these beautiful, old trees. A $1 hemlock preservation fee is added to every tour and On the Gorge matches these fees dollar for dollar to manage the HWA in the short term and provide a long term solution to these pests.