Nick, Terrance and John are the comedy superstars of the zip-lining world. They swing sardonic barbs, jabs and innuendo almost as naturally as a classic episode of The Three Stooges. And, it’s because of their lighthearted banter that Dad dared to try the longest, highest and fastest zip-line in North America this weekend.
Welcome to New York Zipline Adventure Tours at Hunter Mountain. With over 4.6 miles of runs, at nearly 600 feet above the ground, traveling at speeds of up to 50 mph, it’s normal to feel a little trepidation.
There are harnesses to wear and heavy metal trolleys to tote around. There are countless ‘do’s and don’ts’ to remember to avoid injury. There are forms to practice like the cannonball, the office chair, penciling-in and, as I heard someone call it, the ‘giving-birth’ position.
Much like sky-diving, zip-lining requires focus, concentration and a whole lot of passion, especially on a windy day when you may not successfully make it to the landing platform. That’s when the instructors have to reel you in like a fish. I failed to tuck properly on the 2nd trip and Nick, dutifully, had to strap himself to the cable and come rescue me.
The sensation of flying above a canopy of trees engulfed by the scenic Catskill mountains is intense. I dare say you’ll reach a higher level of consciousness from the exhilaration. It’s like donning a pair of wings to your arms and setting yourself free – if only for a few precious seconds. Dad pushed his fear aside upon hearing that a couple in their early 90’s celebrated their anniversary here. He catapulted into thin air with the grace of a soaring eagle, which, along with bears and deer, Hunter Mountain has plenty of.
“Bears are attracted to the color red. That’s why we wear yellow helmets and you all wear red,” cajoled our instructor Terrance. Smiles and snorts from the anxious crowd.
On the 5th zip-line, instructor John pretended to get smacked in the head from my dangling feet while I passed overhead. He had me worried that I knocked him unconscious until I heard the other riders laughing at my gullibility. Such are the quips and jokes that the instructors use to lighten the moment and enjoy the ride.
The three-hour experience is especially unique because two people can zip at once, side-by-side, leaving both to race to the finish or enjoy the views together. Though, I wouldn’t suggest whipping out your cell phone for a photo of each other. One loose grip and there goes your phone to thousands of acres of dense forest on the highest peak in Greene county.
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