Sunday, July 4, 2010

Zipping Through the Treetops

There aren't too many things that are more exhilarating to me than flying. I can't tell you how many daydreams I had as a child, pretending I had wings, which may explain some of my slight obsession with zip-lining! So, maybe getting fitted into a harness, clipping yourself to a metal cable, and trusting nothing but a caribeaner clip to keep you from falling hundreds of feet down to the depths of the forest isn't exactly the same thing as flying, but it sure is a freeing experience - and the closest we can get without planes (or wings for that matter)!

Forest Adventure Park is a zip-lining and ropes course that is actually a chain in Japan. They have a few parks in mainland, including one at Mt. Fuji, and we have the privilege of having one right here on our little island of Okinawa as well. In fact, the park is in a town called Onna, which happens to be only about a 20-25 minute ride from our house! While the cost to get in is not cheap (Y3,500/person - close to $40/person) the experience is totally worth it! We drove to the office where you pay, signed some waivers, and parked the car. Then, a shuttle took us on a drive up into the forest, past lush pineapple and sugarcane fields. Once we got dropped off by the shuttle, we still weren't at our destination - we did a quick little hike deeper into the forest until we got to the beginning of the course.

The view from our starting point

Before starting the course, we were helped into our harnesses. These things were no joke - when I say tight, I mean TIGHT! We were then given a short lesson on how to use the caribeaner clips on the course by a guy who didn't speak much English. Come to think of it, the only thing I really remember him saying in clear English was "safety first" - reffering to the second safety clip we had on our harnesses, which ended up having us all repeating "SAFETY FIRST!" all day to each other;)

Anyway, after our completion of the practice zip-line (which took all of about 3 minutes), we were off on our own! No guides, no staff watching us, just us on our own to go at our own pace, which was really nice. The course is basically a bunch of different zip-lines that are connected by other bridges, ladders, ropes and obstacles that you have to traverse in order to get to the next zip-line. There is also a lot of hiking up stairs between obstacles, so it was quite the work-out for those who haven't been doing our cardio Anyway, I'll let the photos and videos speak for themselves...


We went with our friends Nick & Amanda

Matt getting suited up

Our "instructor" showing us how to use the clips

Us trying to figure out what he's trying to show us about using the clips

Me up on the practice course

Nick on the first real zip-line

Matt getting accross one of the net bridges (more wobbly than it looks, people!)

Check out this clip of Matt on the zip-line:

This one was more wobbly than it appears as well - especially when Matt is shaking it from the other end

Amanda & I

Looking down...

This part was so neat - a bunch of different ladders and obstacles all attached up in the sky - you can choose which way you want to go!

View of the gorgeous ocean from the top of the course

The craziest part of the course was called the "Tarzan Swing" - you climb up really high, attach yourself to a rope, jump off the platform, free fall for a bit, then swing into a huge, upright cargo net that you need to grab onto and climb up in order to get onto the next platform! The free fall was the scariest part, but it ended up being the most awesome part!

Check out this clip of me doing the Tarzan Swing:

Check out this clip of Matt doing the Tarzan Swing (he was holding the camera while jumping!):

Check out this clip of me getting across the rings (MUCH more difficult than it seems!)

The whole course takes about 1 1/2 hours to complete, but, I say the price is worth it, because you are allowed to go through and do it as many times as you like (that is, if you still have energy left after the first or second time). We ended up going through twice, and my upper body was all kinds of sore the next day!

'Till next time!


1 comment:

  1. This looks like great fun! Have to be in good shape, tho'! $40 is definitely worth the experience. What is it with the instructor's hair? Is it "blonde"?? Is it real? Glad you've found such good friends in Amanda and Nick; the four of you make a good team. Love you, Ma