Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Never say, “I wish I had been on the Mount Sunapee Zip Line Canopy Tour”

A Visit with Family to Mount Sunapee

 My sixteen year old granddaughter, Madison, thirteen year old grandson, Carson, son Tim, and grandmother (Wife) Cathy, saw the below video of Sarah and I on the Mount Sunapee Canopy Zip Line Tour, and expressed their desire to never say, “I wish I had been on the Mt Sunapee Canopy Zip Line.”  A week later all four achieved their wish.  

What is a zip line?  Well, a zip line (also known as a zip wire, aerial runway, aerial rope slide, death slide, flying fox, or canopy tour) consists of a pulley suspended on a cable, usually made of stainless steel, mounted on an incline.  It is designed to enable a user propelled by gravity to travel from the top to the bottom of the inclined cable by holding onto, or attaching to, the freely moving pulley.  (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zip-line).

The Mount Sunapee Canopy Zip-Line Tour features a series of zip lines, rope bridges and rappelling as you descend from the top of Mt Sunapee’s South Peak. There are eight zip lines in total highlighted by the final leap on 1,000' dual zip lines which end on a platform behind the Welcome Center, from where we rappelled back down to earth. From the first tree platform to the last platform we traveled a total distance of almost ¾ mile as we flew above forest floor. Groups of no more than eight people are led by two guides as you fly through a canopy of oak, beech, maple, birch and evergreen trees. There are six ski trail crossings that offer spectacular views of the surrounding mountains and Lake Sunapee. [http://www.mountsunapee.com/mtsunapeewinter/index.asp .]

Click the Below Video and Go on Our Zip Line Tour

See Sarah and Steve on Their Zip Line Tour

My wife and I had visitors from Georgia.  Sarah, their sixteen year old daughter, heard about the Mount Sunapee Canopy Zip Line Tour.  Sarah, being a fellow outdoor enthusiast, wanted to do the Zip Line Tour – and so did I. 

Sarah and I were the only people in our group, and our tour took less than two hours.

To qualify as to who can go on the zip line tour, you must be 10 years old or older and between 80 and 260 pounds. 

We had two excellent guides, Mary and Martha.   They absolutely were part of the positive experience of doing this adventure – and they insured our safety.

Safe at All Times

  • The Clip-In With each platform, the moment we reached the platform we were clipped to the tree – not once but two times.  We could not fall off the platform if we slipped, stumbled, or were pushed.  As Sarah and I took turns jumping first, we remained clipped to the tree until we were positioned, and one by one – a clip was release and then re-clipped to the zip line.  Thus, again, in case we jumped or slipped before being ready or instructed, we still would not fall from the platform.

  • Before each jump, we received instruction pertinent to the particular zip line, bridge, or belay we were about to do. [Belaying refers to a variety of techniques climbers use to exert on a climbing rope so that a falling climber does not fall very far.  A climbing partner typically applies friction at the other end of the rope whenever the climber is not moving, and removing the friction from the rope whenever the climber needs more rope to continue climbing.  The term "belay" also means the place where the belayer is anchored; this is typically a ledge, but may be a hanging belay, where the belayer is suspended from protection in the rock, or in our case the wooden platform [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Belaying ].
  • Before each of the eight leaps, Mary or Martha would explain what to do, and then the guide would go first with her leap – this served both to demonstrate and to have the guide at the end of the zip line.

  • The guide at the beginning of the zip line would wait for the guide at the other end to yell “Clear”, and then confirm it with a “clear” – and then I/Sarah would jump.
The First Leap
We rode the Sunapee Ski lift to South Peak to our first platform.   We then climbed about fifteen feet on a rope ladder up the hillside platform.  Now came the moment I was there for – the zip line leap.

I must confess my stomach was tight for this first jump – and I was sweating with nervousness and anxious anticipation.  I looked downhill at the next platform hundreds of feet away, and thought, “What am I doing here?” I had all kinds of reservations as to whether I “really really” wanted to jump from this height.  Would the harness hold me?  Was I strong enough to hold on to the harness strap (no worry here as the harness cable strap was simply to give me “confidence.”)

My first jump was here.  I was all clicked to the cable, and Maratha said, “OK Steve, you can jump.”  I looked at Martha to be doubly positive I heard her correctly, and asked, “Is it OK to jump?”  [It never hurts to be absolutely certainly about this.]

You have to believe in the equipment and in your guides!!   The adrenaline rush came and the commitment was there.  I Leaped!!!  The harness held and I was flying down the cable with an eagle’s view of Mount Sunapee and Lake Sunapee.  It was a thrill!!

The Leap of Trust
With each zip line jump I gained confidence in myself.  As I readied for the fourth zip line leap, Mary asked, “Do you want to try the “Leap of Trust?”  I questioned her, and she said, “You jump off backwards without holding on to the harness strap.  Watch me.”  She took a short run off the platform and jump backwards into the open sky!  You will need to watch the below video to see if I made it. 

How to Dress
The Zip Line tour operates rain or shine, so you must dress appropriately. They recommend hiking boots or sneakers, and no open-toed shoes, sandals, or other footwear that can fall off. Sarah and I both wore sneakers - and this was perfect for us in warm summer weather.

In the summer it is suggested that participants wear shorts that  fall mid-thigh or lower and either short or long sleeves. No tank tops are allowed as the harness straps may cause discomfort. They provided all needed safety equipment including a helmet and zip line harness. You may also want to bring sunscreen, bug repellent, a small pack or fanny pack for cameras, snacks, etc.

You need to watch the below video to see Sarah and my first leap, our “Leap of Trust”, rope bridge crossing and belaying.

To see the web site for the Mount Sunapee Canopy Tour go to http://www.mountsunapee.com/mtsunapeewinter/adventurepark/welcome.asp


To see more detail on our Mount Sunapee Canopy Zip Line Tour I have prepared an 11 minute video.  Click Here to see the unedited thrills of the Zip Line.

Winter Wild Race at Mount Sunapee, Newbury, New Hampshire

Mount Sunapee is an outdoor enthusiast’s four season paradise.  The Zip Line Canopy Tour was not my first time on the mountain.  I have hiked and alpine and telemarked skied here, and done many triathlons from this glorious and beautiful area.

A special winter experience at Mount Sunapee is called a Winter Wild Race that is a cold weather race on snow around the perimeter of Sunapee’s ski area.

Winter in New Hampshire offers unique and exciting opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts. In one of my blog posts I share my training and research in preparation for running a race up the ski slopes of Mt Sunapee in temperatures around ten degrees.

The race is usually held in early March (http://www.winterwild.com/) at Mt Sunapee, Newbury, NH (http://www.mountsunapee.com/).

Go to http://outdooradventurers.blogspot.com/2011_02_01archive.html to see my Outdoor Enthusiast blog for this unique winter race.

For other outdoor adventures with Outdoor Steve go to http://www.outdoorsteve.com and click the BLOG link.

Outdoor Play "Fun 4 4 Seasons"

Steve's latest book, Outdoor Play "Fun 4 4 Seasons" is now available in paperback and e-book at OutdoorSteve.com and Amazon.com. Outdoor Play has more adventures at Mount Sunapee and Places to Play in Northern New England.

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