Ziplining Middle Tennessee
We stood in a circle looking up at the Quantum Leap – a 55 foot pole with a tiny platform on top. “You’re going to climb the tree, stand up on the platform, hold the baton in your hand and leap off,” instructed Mark Anthony. We turned to one another with a ‘you’ve got to be kidding!’ kind of expression on our faces.
“The object is to strike the bell,” he explained. “You can see it hanging about 8 feet away from the platform. You’re on belay, so you won’t feel a thing when you’re caught. Any questions? Who wants to go first?”
Crickets. We were all suddenly very quiet. Someone volunteered 14-year-old Hailey. A good sport, she slipped into her harness, fastened her helmet and began climbing, hand over hand using the branch stumps of the cedar tree as foot and handholds.
She grew smaller and smaller until she clung to the tiny one foot square platform, pulled herself into a kneeling position and hovered there.
Mustering her courage, she slowly stood, arms outstretched for balance, legs shaking. “Concentrate on the bell,” called Mark Anthony. “I got you. Don’t worry about falling.”
Ziplining and high and low rope challenges have sprung up all over the country, no longer just confined to exotic locations. I was exploring two such places within an hour of Nashville, ready for a new adventure.
Valley View Camp Zips and Adventure is set on 70 wooded acres in Greenbrier, 20 minutes north of Nashville. The non-profit organization managed by Lindsey and Mark Anthony Born offers a combination of ziplining, high ropes and personal or team challenges. Its course of six land-to-land zips takes you on an exciting journey through the trees, across creeks, valleys and a lake. There’s even a “bunny zip” for youngsters that gives them the thrill of flying over a short zipline.
The high and low rope events emphasize team building skills, learning about balance, trust, silent communication, teamwork and thinking outside the box. The ziplining and adventure challenges are also available for groups that reserve Valley View for camps or retreats.
Hidden on 46 acres in a bend of the Harpeth River near Kingston Springs, Adventureworks is now in its 25th year, an impressive combination of high and low adventure challenges, and a 90 minute canopy tour of nine ziplines.
We joined a mixed group of varying ages, including father and young son. Our enthusiastic instructor, Michael, suited us up with harness and helmets, a brief training session, and we were off, chasing each other across ravines and hillsides in a series of zips, the longest being 650 feet and the highest 85 feet over a valley.
Most were from ground level with uphill landings. The take-offs increased with height as we moved around the circuit, culminating in tree-house style walkways and platforms. The dual line zip was a favorite, an opportunity to race your partner across the valley, or film them with your cellphone video.
Many people come for ziplining and then discover the high adventure challenge. Adventureworks offers a sophisticated series of challenges high in the treetops for both corporate and recreational teambuilding. The two-hour course, not for the faint of heart, has partners walking, climbing and swinging across a series of ropes, cables and logs about 60 feet off the ground.
“People are less likely to panic when they’re with a partner,” owner Jennifer Halvorsen explained. “They learn about trust and draw confidence from one another.”
Are you ready for the adrenaline rush of your own treetop adventure? Zip it and let’s go!