Ziplining in Alaska - My Family Travels

            “If you’re going on the 10:30 ZipRider zipline, please step over here!” I looked at the paper band on my wrist. That’s me! I thought as my brother, my father, and I stepped over to the tour guide, along with about fifteen others.

            Ever since I found out we were cruising to Icy Straight Point, Alaska, I was determined to ride the ZipRider zipline, the longest and fastest zipline in the world. It was one whole mile down a mountain. It took ninety seconds to get down, going sixty miles per hour. According to our tour guide, it would “zip” even faster that day, since it had just begun to drizzle outside.

            I was more exited than nervous on our forty-five minute bus drive up the mountain. Yet I didn’t have much time to worry about that, because our driver was pointing out interesting things the whole way up. Several times, he stopped the bus so we could take pictures of the glorious view down below us.

            It was when we actually got to the top that I began to feel nervous. They explained to us how it was done. Six people would be harnessed safely into a cloth “seat.” Each person is on their own zipline, and because they are about ten feet apart from each other, it feels like you’re racing to the bottom.

            Our turn to go finally came. After I was harnessed in, I was told to put my feet on the solid gate in front of me, the only thing that kept me from zooming off down the mountain. When I put my feet on the gate and stretched my legs, I could see the zipline and where I would be going. But I could only see a short ways into the distance, because of the extremely heavy fog all around. I shifted nervously in my seat, and tightened the camera strap around my wrist. On the way up the mountain, my brother and I had agreed that he would take a video on his camera the entire way down, and I would capture as many pictures as possible.

            Next thing I heard was someone shouting, “Let ‘em go!” Everyone else’s gates swung open and they were whizzing down the mountain at sixty miles per hour. I squeezed my eyes shut, waiting for a blast of cold, damp air on my face. I felt nothing. I opened my eyes and realized that the man holding my gate shut hadn’t let go! “Oops,” I heard him mumble, and my gate swung open!

            I was expecting to barely be able to open my eyes because I was going so fast. But it was much better than I had ever expected. After a few seconds, I broke out of the fog. I could see everything! Our cruise ship, the little town at the bottom of the mountain, and even more mountains underneath me! The entire view was absolutely breathtaking.

            As I began to descend closer to the ground, I looked and saw what was going to actually stop me. There were at least a hundred huge springs on the end of the zipline that would slow me to a stop. As I approached the bottom, I expected my “landing” to be rough and jerky. To my surprise, it wasn’t at all.

            It was definitely an experience I will never forget. If I ever get to go back to Icy Straight Point, Alaska, I would whoosh down the ZipRider zipline again in a heartbeat!


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