I can’t even believe that I went through with it. Do you see my happy smile? Well, check out my left hand. It is clutching the metal railing extremely tightly. One of the ziplining guys was trying to get me to walk a little closer to the edge for the picture, but I was having none of that.
I went ziplining with Costa Rica Arenal Tours in La Fortuna. I combined it with a 45 minute horseback ride to the canopy area, which came to a total cost of $50. You can do just the ziplining for $45. I went all by myself because Arp was both watching the kids, and too afraid to go anyway. It ended up that no one had signed up for the same time period that I did, so it was just me and two guides for the adventure. I’m glad I went when I did, though, because they told me they had a crowd of something like 50 people coming for the next session that day. I can’t imagine what it would be like to stand on those tree-stands with a crowd of heavy people, so I’m kind of glad I went alone.
Here I am getting ready to climb one of those scary open ladders. Note that I am firmly holding on to the tree.
See me way up at the top of this tree platform? I’m hard to see, but I’m getting ready to go. I’m actually trying to prevent myself from peeing in my panties.
And here I am in thin air.
Here I am closer to the end of the course. I am much more relaxed because I know that the rest of the platforms are wood, and we done with those scary, up-in-thin-air, metal tree platforms. The wooden ones are much less scary.
Here’s one scary moment: During my first zipline, I sort of unconsciously used my breaking hand to break a little right at the beginning of the run. Bad idea. You are only supposed to break at the very end of each run, right before you land on the platform, and at the guide’s direction. I was also holding my legs out like a frog during that first run; you are supposed to zip with crossed legs to reduce wind friction. The result is that I came to a dead stop on the line about 15 feet short of the platform, and I was very high in the air. Scary. I had to turn around backwards in the air and pull myself hand-over-hand up to the platform. Truly scary, but I held it together. And I didn’t make that mistake again.
Here’s the horse I rode to the canopy.
I was actually looking forward to the horseback ride a lot, but I ended up not liking it much at all. You see, I have virtually no experience riding horses. But I like them a whole lot, at least when I walk up to them. They are so beautiful, and their eyes always seem so intelligent and emotional to me. I’ve always wanted to take riding lessons, but they’ve been too expensive for me. So I was surprised to find that actually being on a horse made me really nervous and uncomfortable. The ground was muddy and very torn up, so the horse was sometimes seeming to slide a bit. I just felt very wobbly and unsure. It wasn’t so bad when the horse went slow, but I didn’t realize that one of the guides was pushing them to trot (or is it cantor? I don’t know the difference). I felt much less nervous when my horse went slow.
A question or two for all you horse-people out there: Is it possible that I might still learn to like riding horses? Maybe it was stupid of me to assume I’d like it the first time, not having any real experience with them. Or maybe I’d feel more confident if I actually got to know and trust a particular horse rather than just hopping on a strange horse that I’ve just met. Also, and here is the big question: How long until my ass stops hurting from the ride?! And do people who ride horses eventually stop getting a sore butt? One of the guides told me you get butt calluses after a while. I can’t imagine that’s too attractive.
The final verdict on ziplining: It was a lot of fun, and also scary as hell. I don’t really buy the whole marketing thing about seeing the forest from a new vantage point, yada, yada, yada. When you are actually on the line, you are not looking for monkeys or spending much time admiring the fauna. You are getting an intense adrenaline rush from the speed, wind, height, and general cool view. And I guarantee I wasn’t spending much time looking at the canopy from the treetop platforms. I was just praying that I would be able to climb up the scary ladders and pull up my legs for the next leap-of-faith. But the rush when you are on the line is truly awesome. I’d probably do it again!