My Zipline Adventure, took place in the breathtaking Antigua Rainforest as part of a port adventure on a Disney Cruise Line Transatlantic Repositioning cruise.
The description when I signed up read “Here, you’ll zipline through lush coastal plains, mangroves, lagoons and limestone mountains. This is the perfect setting for your unforgettable nature-adventure experience.”
I consider myself a daring traveler, as in driving a NASCAR at 149 MPH and riding a motorcycle through the European Alps for a month, with my wife on the back of the bike.
This September day would turn out to be anything but ordinary.
I was anxious about the thought of zipping along 14 zigzagging lines that traverse the emerald canopy and reach heights of 350 feet above the earth, yet it seemed like a perfectly good idea.
As I arrived for the three hour adventure that morning, the sun streamed through the clouds, and exotic birds chirped a greeting from concealed tree limbs.
Looking towards the forest, it was dissected by a web of cables and ropes. Our leader assured all of us that the three-year-old course had been built to the most modern, “double-redundant” specifications, meaning that every harness, rope and zip line had a backup. The operation was fully certified, and all 30 members of the staff had been professionally trained.
He finished with “Just get ready for the Intimidator! That one makes grown men cry.” Oh GREAT!
Excitement was in the air as 24 of us put on the gear and watched the demonstration on the correct procedures.
We all watched the instructional briefing as the rangers demonstrated proper zipping technique and, more importantly, what not to do.
They declared us certified and competent to hurl ourselves out of trees. We were each fitted into a rope and carabiner ensemble topped off with a hard hat and gardening gloves and we were ready to roll.
We looked like a chain gang as we moved towards the first Treehouse with my fellow zippers.
Robert was in front of me and when it was his turn he said, “Maybe I’ll just watch.”
The next thing he knew, he was bungeed and clipped to the line, and just as suddenly shoved off the platform on the first leg of his zip-roaring adventure.
I was up next, nervous but excited. Hooked up and connected, I jumped off and shrieked and clawed desperately at the air with giant gloved hands as I streaked through the trees.
I’d forgotten everything I’d just learned. As the wind whipped in my face it was AMAZING. I just let go and surrendered to the experience and the fail-safe apparatus.
I was struck by a revelation: that this crazy zip-lining thing is actually a BLAST and I threw caution to the wind and hurtling my body between trees was awesome!
Seconds later, when I landed on the platform across the ravine, I was eagerly looking forward to the thirteen adrenaline-pumping zips still to come.
“I’ll show those weepy men how it’s done,” I thought. “Bring on the Intimidator!”
About Dr. Howie:
Married to my beautiful bride Joan, for 49 years, we have 2 kids, Mark, and Jenny, six Grand Kids, Jonathan, Christian, Brock, Ava, Luca and Ben. One Great Grand Daughter Evelyn. I was a classroom teacher for 20 years, owned and managed a retails computer store for 10 years in Arizona and then a CIO (Chief Information Officer) in Durango, Colorado. Retired in 2007, I now travel the world instructing educators and administrators on how to bring Disney into the classroom. I have a Disney Themed Office, and anyone that enters must take off their shoes and rub “Mickey’s” head (LOL) Graduate of Florida State University (BS), Northern Arizona University (MA), Western Pacific University (Ph.D.).
How I Became Hooked on Disney:
In 1974, our family took our first trip to Disneyland, California. At the time, I was an Electronics Teacher at Lake Havasu High School and became fascinated on how Walt Disney created the attractions and park. My first ride at Disneyland was the “Matterhorn.” I had to know how they built the attraction and purchased two books-one on Walt Disney and a Disneyland souvenir book.
Since then I have purchased over 170 books on Disney, the parks, Imagineers and designers. That trip began a journey of over 102 visits to Walt Disney World and Disneyland for the next 40 years. We drank ALL the wine and now own two DVC’s at Beach Club and Bay Lake towers and have completed 6 Disney cruises including one 14 day cruise from LA to Panama Canal and then to Galveston, TX. We attend the EPCOT Flower and Garden Festival and the EPCOT Food and Wine Festival each year.