I was terrified.
Knee knocking, breath holding terrified, standing on the edge of small tree platform high above the Nicaraguan jungle, looking down at all those treetops.
With the forest canopy beneath me, the guides expertly snapped all the hooks and cables in place and I could feel myself about to whimper, I don’t want to do this!
Thankfully before I could get the words out, one of the women leaders placed a reassuring hand on my shoulder, told me to sit in my harness, and gently pushed me out into wide open space.
And there I was.
Sailing, soaring above the trees, flying, zipping along a cable, gathering speed and …making a soft landing onto the next tree platform, welcomed by a pair of strong, brown arms.
What a hero, I thought. Only next time I have to remember to breathe.
And so on to the next eight flights, combinations of vertical heart-stopping drops and wonderfully exhilarating runs that had me remembering a long, long time ago when a primal self flew from tree to tree, without a cable and without fear.
Well, not exactly, but it was a fun image!
Canopy Tours or Zip Lining are becoming very popular, though certainly not mainstream and still an exotic form of Adventure Travel.
The principle is pretty simple: you basically swing or zip from tree to tree on a series of cables strung above the jungle canopy.
The equipment, thankfully, is much more sophisticated.
Guides are skilled – or better be - in arranging an intricate series of harnesses, pulleys and Karabiners, a mountain climbing tool that’s basically an oval-shaped snap link, used to attach the harnesses and pulleys.
Mexico, Costa Rica and Nicaragua, Jamaica and even New Hampshire all have Canopy Tours which while basically similar, vary slightly depending on the contour of the jungle and the quality of the arrangements.
In Nicaragua and Jamaica, for example, the guides are also well trained in the flora and fauna of the region, so the walk back to the meeting point was filled with interesting explanations of the island’s varied and vibrant flowering trees and vegetation.
How long is each “throw” or traverse? They range from 105 to 700 feet apart, and then there are those straight-down vertical drops that will have you screaming.
But that’s part of the fun! I think.
Zip Lining in Nicaragua