In late July, a couple of friends and I went on a road trip to Ohio and Pennsylvania. Our primary reason for the trip was to ride roller coasters, 33 of them in 8 days. Riding roller coasters, of course, was not all that we did during our little jaunt. With a little research and collaboration, my friends and I decided on some other fun things to do as well. One of the best things we decided to do was an activity that I’ve always dreamed about doing, and yet terrified at the same time. I’m talking about zip lining.
For anyone not familiar with zip lining, it is an activity whereby a person is harnessed to a line that connects to two stationary objects, mainly trees, and ‘zips’ across the line to experience a thrill very close to flying. Zip lining has become very popular in places like Costa Rica and the jungles of South and Central America, but in more recent years zip line, or canopy tour adventures, have cropped up all over the United States. Once upon a time I had read about zip lining, also known as “canopy tours’ in the jungles of Costa Rica and ever since I’ve wanted to give it a try.
When I was researching places to go and things to do in southern Ohio, I came across a place called “Ozone Zip Line Adventures.” I got excited and called one of my buddies, who wanted to try it too. Our third wasn’t as sure, but eventually he relented and we booked a three-hour zip line tour for Tuesday, July 27th. It was an experience I’ll never forget!
We woke up that morning and checked out of our hotel in Cleveland, with Cincinnati being the next stop. Along the way was Camp Kern, a YMCA summer camp that hosts Ozone Zip Line Adventures. Although I’m pretty daring when it comes to riding thrill rides, I was a bit nervous about this. The butterflies fluttered wildly in my stomach the closer we got to Camp Kern.
Once we arrived, we had to check in with Cam, one of our two tour guides. Cam brought us into a bus and up the hill to where our adventure awaited us. It was there that we met Kyle, our other tour guide. The two dudes brought us into a room to get changed into our gear. It was quite bulky, but all of the safety mechanisms in these flight suits made me feel a little more secure about the whole thing. After a brief rundown of what to expect, the three of us and an adventurous couple from Pittsburgh headed up into the trees.
Once we had reached the first platform, the guys explained how it would work. One of them would guide the tour from the front and the other in the rear. In between each zip line, we’d get unhooked from the former line and on to the next. They showed us how to steer ourselves to keep from spinning and how to land on the opposing platform. I volunteered to go first as I like to get scary things over with as soon as possible.
Once Cam had zipped across the first line it was my turn. I did all I could to keep from quitting as my nerves were quivering. I took the leap of faith and was off into the skies, spinning wildly the whole time. The landing was easy and in the flash of about ten seconds I had completed my first zip. The others followed suit and we all moved on to longer and higher zip lines, seven in total. With each one, the nervousness subsided as I now knew what to expect, except that I seemed to be the only one that had trouble with my steering, spinning around like a top on each line.
After a couple of hours had passed, we reached the climax, a round trip zip line across a ravine and back. The lines were over 1000 feet long and more than 170 feet above the ground over a ravine. Quickly the nerves started to work themselves up again as we could not see the other end of the zip line from our platform. I was terrified and now in the back of the line.
As I watched my compadres take the leap across the ravine I knew I had to do it and put faith that it everything would be alright. Tyler, who was behind me, offered to videotape the experience for me on his run across the ravine. I thanked him and when I got to the other side I figured that I should do some videotaping myself on this last run. I had been working on my steering as I went and was finally starting to get the hang of it. Holding the small video camera shouldn’t be too difficult.
I took the final leap, video camera in hand and flew all the way across without spinning at all. The guys at the other end all slapped me five as I landed a perfect landing. It was the perfect ending to a wonderful experience. I’ve always thought that being a roller coaster nut really didn’t make me that much of a daredevil. With all of the technology that goes into making them, I always know I’ll be safe, but to me this was a little more daring as my safety depended only on my harness, the hooks, and the zip lines themselves.
Ozone’s Zip Line Adventures is a great place to try zip lining for the first time. The guides were knowledgeable, caring and wonderfully put all of us at ease with our experience. The camp offers two different of zip line adventures, a three-hour, seven zip line tour, and a four and a half hour extended tour featuring eleven zips. The prices are reasonable, $75 for the standard tour and $100 for the extended experience. The camp is open for canopy tours from April 1st through December. Camp Kern is located between Cincinnatti and Columbus, along I-71. Check out their website below for more details. Reservations are required. Happy zipping!
Ozone Zip Line Adventures