A Year ago when I first started writing for the Plain Dealer and before we started this blog, I did one of the first stories on the introduction of Zip-Lines to Ohio. The attraction is still going strong in the Hocking Hills of southeast Ohio and I thought it might be timely to run excerpts from the story as well as more of the pictures we took that day.
ZIPPING THROUGH THE TREETOPS
First you hear what sounds like a swarm of angry hornets then, flashing overhead is a human, usually yelling or screaming out of sheer exuberance. The Zip Line has come to Ohio.
Zip Line attractions are usually found in tropical rainforests or wilderness areas and appeal to people who like to live life on the edge.
Canopy Tours is the first such attraction in the state of Ohio or the Midwest. It is located in the scenic Hocking Hills, one of the Buckeye States major tourist areas.
Quite simply it is a ride for thrill seekers. Wearing a special harness you are suspended by a small wheeled device from a single steel cable stretched high in century-old trees. On the signal of your guide you zip from one tree top platform to another under the canopy of the forest: hence the name, Canopy Tours.
The world-class attraction just officially opened last month. We took an Ohio Road Trip to Rockbridge, Ohio where Canopy Tours is located to get an up close and personal look.
First, just about anyone who does not have a fear of heights can ride the Zip Lines. Children ages 10 and up, must weigh at least 70 pounds and be accompanied by an adult. As for grownups, they require that you not exceed 250 pounds and be physically able to pull yourself, if necessary, a few feet on the cable. Pregnant women and people with heart, leg or back problems are not allowed on the Zip Line. All riders must sign a release form before starting the adventure.
The course is located next to the Windy Hills Golf Course and is tucked away on a natural rock-strewn hillside that spills down to the Hocking River. Thousands of feet of steel cable is stretched over forty acres of the hillside. Some of the treetop platforms are over seven stories high. The longest zip ride among treetops that line the edge of the Hocking River is 572 feet. That’s like sailing over two and a half football fields.
On the day we visited my wife, Bonnie, at age 68, was the oldest participant in a group of seven while a youngster from Columbus, celebrating his tenth birthday was the youngest. After getting them suited up in their harness and hardhats the guides took them to a short practice Zip Line to let each person on the tour get the feel of what it would be like on the cable as well as reinforce some safety rules
Then it was time for the real thing. After over a mile-long ride to a hilltop overlooking the Hocking River the guides led the group over a narrow swaying cable bridge to a platform near the top of a huge oak tree that was growing on the side of the hill. From the platform they were hooked, one-at-a-time, onto the cable that stretched to another tree platform. On the signal from a guide, who had gone first and already landed, each person on the platform let out a yell and stepped into space and started flying along the cable to join the guide.
It takes three hours to complete the course of ten different Zip Lines and four adventure bridges and a final rappel down the side of a stone wall.
The Zip Line tours go rain or shine. The only time they shutdown is when there is lightening or high winds.
If you go, here are some things to remember. Wear comfortable clothes, obviously no dresses for the ladies. Be sure to wear shoes with covered toes, (no flip-flops). Leave your dangly jewelry, scarves and other valuables, like your cell phone, wallet and anything loose that might fall out of your pocket back in your car.
The cost to ride the zip line is $85. a person.
While they will try to accommodate drop-in customers, reservations are really suggested if you want to be sure you be able to take the tour at a certain time and day.
So practice your Tarzan yell and get ready for a swinging good time at Canopy Tours in the Hocking Hills. It’s a great Ohio Road Trip.
Canopy Tours 10714 Jackson Street, Rockbridge, Ohio, 43149, 740-38…, www.hockinghillscanopytours.com