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Zipping over MO

September 10, 2010

Blog written by: Becky Heeren, Missouri Division of Tourism

Independence Day weekend was nearly here and my friend’s very worldly, 12-year-old granddaughter was due in from Phoenix on Saturday. The mission impossible was to find something to fill her time; something that she hadn’t already done a dozen times; something that would be memorable.

As you may know, many 12-year-old girls already know all there is to know and find practically everything boring. When my friend went through her entire bag of Grandma tricks and came up empty, I suggested that we take a look at, and there we found what we hoped would be the perfect activity – ziplining! Considering time and location, we settled on the Caveman Zipline at Meramec Caverns and on Sunday morning, headed out on our own incredible adventure.

The Caveman Zipline, which just opened this past May, had obviously caught on. As we entered the parking area we watched lots of folks zipping overhead. What a rush! The granddaughter bounded from the car bubbling with excitement. Had we hit the mother lode?

We quickly found the right spot where we completed some forms and paid a nice young man who then directed us over to a canopied area. Our young guides, James and Alyssa, introduced themselves, suited us up and provided hands-on training on how the gear worked and how to work the gear. Before long we headed up the 70+ steps of the first tower with confidence and excitement.

At the top of the tower and throughout the adventure, the guides methodically tethered each thrill seeker to safety lines while waiting turns and climbing between towers. (Safety was built into every step of our expedition.) With an intense look of anticipation, the Granddaughter stepped fearlessly from tower one, glided across the parking lot, through the tree line, over the Meramec River and up to the second tower. Her smile spoke volumes. This was special.

Each of the four lines possessed its own particular attributes. One line Alyssa said reminded her of Avatar. It did me, too. We found ourselves in this other world surrounded by lush, green trees, dense and majestic with the park no longer in sight. During our journey through Avatar, we enjoyed a summer shower which not only added excitement to the experience, but cooled the heavy air and made the remainder of the trip even more enjoyable. After each zip, we traveled to the next platform over a suspended sky bridge, a thrill in itself.

The final zip tower rose 80 feet and afforded a panoramic view of the beautiful countryside. Number four; the longest, highest and last zip appropriately concluded this wonderful experience. With just slightly shaky legs, I landed upon the platform next to the Granddaughter. Her eyes shined big and bright as she shared her analysis of our adventure. We had done it. We created memories that she will take with her into adulthood. It was a very good day!

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