Zipping Through the Dark

Months ago I started seeing signs around the Seattle area for zip lining and thought to myself, that’s probably an amazing feeling!  So this fall I knew that zip lining was a MUST TRY while completing this recreational sporting list.  It didn’t take me long to see that most zip lining around the PNW is done during the summer months but for the serious at heart (and the new fans of the sport) there is one place in the region that allows your desire to zip through the beautiful forests of the Northwest during most times of the year, Canopy Tours NW!

When you first log onto Canopy Tours NW website you will see that they have a pretty extensive variety of sessions to offer from the traditional day zip lining to a “Zip and Sip” that they did the entire month of September, to the zip lining tour that my friend Stephanie and I eventually agreed upon… night zip lining!

To prepare for our adventures in the dark, I visited my new BFF, the Seattle REI flagship store. Their climbing area is not only filled with mountaineer’s equipment but this REI also carries other recreational sporting equipment or kits including slack lining and zip lining! I then stocked up on some PNW wet-weather gear like a great layer shirt, a hat and some Smart Wool socks to match.  I paired these with my windproof running gloves, my Sorel lace-up boots and my new favorite coat, my REI Motility Rain Jacket! 

Geared up and ready to zip, my friend Stephanie and I made the leisurely drive up to Camano Island to the Canopy Tours NW location, which is run out of a cool red barn… complete with a cozy kitty that welcomes you to their office lobby! You really can’t get any more quaint than this place to start your adventures at, even if you are zipping through forests in the dead of night.

Stephanie and I geared up with our group members in the barn and headed up to the first line. Excited and nervous, it was difficult to allow a little PNW sunshine (AKA drizzle) to dampen our spirits and after we learned that the rain just made the zip lines even FASTER then it was GAME ON for this group!

Our guides, Dave and David, were knowledgable, fun, engaging and always there to “catch you” at every turn. There was not a moment (except for maybe a split second in the complete dark) that I ever felt a sense of uncertainty… in fact quite the opposite. When you see all the equipment each guide goes over with you, checking and rechecking your equipment, and then learn about the extensive training that zip line guides go through, well your sense of uncertainty calms down and you can be in the freedom of zipping through the trees and the stars of the night skies! I’ve often been asked which sport has been my favorite this year and it’s always such a hard question to answer because I’ve learned to love so many but if you close your eyes while zipping it feels a lot like parasailing did… an absolutely amazing soaring feeling.  Probably one of my favorite things I’ve experienced this year for sure is this soaring feeling, and zip lining definitely gives you that! Besides, if you go during a sunny day you can actually see the beauty of the forest through the trees too.

While we were out among the stars in the forest I thought of the magic that we experience on our planet. The winds were gently rocking the tree platforms back and forth, there was a smell of fresh rain mixed with the sweet pine smell of sap and needles and the grounding of the old growth trees mixed with the lightheartedness of laughter and cheering as you see blinking red lights flying by you in the night. It all feels truly magical!

This was the first and possibly the only night-time sport that I will do all year and I wouldn’t change the experience for anything. There is a peacefulness in the nighttime of a forest, an untouched glory that embraces your sense of adventure against the trust of your site, your equipment, your guides and group but mostly the trust that nature supports your ambitions to soar through the night, being one with your surroundings in a nocturnal type of flight.

The next time you think that a sport is only made for daytime, sunshine or good weather please think again and look for an opportunity to stretch your limits of possibility; for if you stop the adventure from the start, you might miss out on the thrill of zipping through a forest in the dark under the stars and believe me…you don’t want to miss this!

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