If skydiving was too extreme a summer activity, and a day climbing on the rocks wasn't enough to tempt, we've found middle ground that seems to be a perfect hybrid of the two recreational sports, and thrill and excitement need not be compromised. We're talking about ziplining -- and all the cool kids are doing it.
Imagine, the rush of soaring through the air, feeling the wind in your hair and the delicious torment and anticipation of climbing a more than 50-foot tower to take said zip up to 60 feet above ground. Sounds exhilarating, right? Don't forget about the beautiful Oklahoma scenery, if you can keep your eyes open that is.
Originally created as a means of transportation from point A to point B, ziplines have begun to pop up as a recreational activity all over the country since their popularization in Costa Rica in the '90s. Now, Oklahoma has two dare devilish options of her own, both offering very unique and different ways to zip.
"It's a great way to push yourself outside of your comfort zone," said Betsye Colvard, ropes course manager at The Canebrake Resort in Wagoner.
Not only does The Canebrake offer a 300-foot-long zipline to test your limits, they provide a little sip after your zip as well. One of The Canebrake's most popular events and features, the Zip and Sip, opens up the zipline, initially a high element of their team building challenge course complete with a rappel deck, buddy bars and more, once a month to the public for an afternoon of soaring through the breeze. In this heat, we'd welcome the ridiculous wind-blown hair.
"It's an opportunity to just have a little bit of the high rope experience, without having a group," Colvard said.
Groups of as little as two are welcome to come out to The Canebrake for their monthly Zip and Sip, however it should be noted that the Sip comes after the Zip -- even if a little liquid courage would do some participants a world of good -- but it makes for a refreshing reward after guests have ziplined their hearts out.
Once waivers have been signed and guests are geared up in a helmet and harness, each zipliner must first be able to climb the daunting 50-foot telephone pole. But it's smooth sailing after that, literally. A staff member then hooks thrill seekers into a belay system, much like the one used in rock climbing, to secure the participant into safety ropes and alas, they're all set to embark on a ride across the zipline. "It's less than a minute of thrill and it takes you longer to get up the pole, but the ride is pretty fast and furious," Colvard said.
It's a straight shot from the platform to the end and the scenery is a postcard--like view of Lake Fort Gibson and Oklahoma countryside, if not the inside of one's eyelids, Colvard said.
As far as holding on for dear life goes, guests of the zip line may hold onto the ropes connected to their harness but are encouraged to make fun poses as they ride.
"Flap your wings, freestyle, running man, we've had some 'Tebowers;' there's all kinds of humor coming off that tower," Colvard said, and "screaming is always encouraged. We like to hear the screamers."
If you're looking to up your zip lining game or your inner adrenaline junkie is hungry for something a little more intense, look no further than POSTOAK Canopy Tours.
Don't be confused: We're still talking about ziplining here, but this zipline experience, located seven minutes from Downtown Tulsa in the Osage Hills, is like ziplining on crack.
"Our Zipline Canopy Tour features seven towers and six ziplines and takes two-and-a-half hours to complete," said Rebecca Colgate, canopy tour representative at POSTOAK Lodge & Retreat.
The routine stays the same with all safety precautions executed, but this time you're "tarzaning" through the Osage Hills six times on a connected zipline course.
Groups of eight are taken up the first platform by a "guide" who goes over the first line to "set the brake" and give the all clear while the "sweep" stays back to make sure each guest zips across safely.
Ziplines at POSTOAK range from 300 feet long to 900 feet long and each go over a valley, most offering incredible views of the hills and Downtown Tulsa, and one line even goes through an "archway of trees" Colgate said. Each zipline in the canopy tour varies in speed as well.
"We just opened up June 15 and everyone is excited about it," Colgate said. POSTOAK's Canopy Tours are the first in Oklahoma but they've had a zipline for years.
Surprisingly, the summer heat hasn't deterred zipliners from getting their fix, and both The Canebrake and POSTOAK have had a successful turnout. POSTOAK, who books tours predominantly between noon and 3pm, is adding misters to a couple of the platforms while already providing guests with "ice bandanas" once they reach the middle platform. "Even in the blazing heat this weekend is almost full," Colgate said.
Both ziplines plan to stay open through November, weather permitting, with a Zip and Sip at The Canebrake scheduled for August 25. Only a few restrictions apply: At The Canebrake, guests must fit securely in the harness and must be able to climb the platform, and at POSTOAK, guests must be at least 10 years of age and a minimum of 70 lbs. The maximum weight for both zipline experiences is 250 lbs.
"Even if you think you can't do it, you can give it a try," Colvard said, "Try it, you'll like it."
The Canebrake is located at 33241 E. 732nd Rd., Wagoner, visit thecanebrake.com for Zip and Sip dates and more information. POSTOAK Canopy Tours are located at 5323 W. 31st St. N. -- for more information on the zipline or to book a canopy tour online visit postoakcanopytours.com. Happy zipping!
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