Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Ponderosa Lodge Farm interns/WWOOFers Take On Tree Tops Canopy Tour at Adventures on the Gorge (May 2011)

It poured down rain throughout the day, but we all piled into the cars and took a brief drive over to Adventures on the Gorge. There, our guides, Lauren and Read, suited us up in our gear and helmets, and we flew through the air for more than 3 hours. The Tree Tops Canopy Tour at Adventures on the Gorge has 10 zip lines, 5 cable bridges, and 1 rappel station, with each view more breathtaking than the last. We started out with a brief hike to the learning station where our guides taught us the basics of zipping, braking, and self rescuing. Then, we were off to our first zip which proved to be more eventful than I originally anticipated. Coming into the landing, I failed to brake as forcefully as necessary and crash landed on top of our guide. Thankfully, she did not kick me off the tour, and I managed to avoid crashing landing on the subsequent zip lines. Our guides also informed us of the flora and fauna located throughout the New River Gorge. For example, there is an insect that has slowly eaten and killed many of the beautiful, old hemlock trees in the area, but the folks at Adventures on the Gorge along with the West Virginia Natural Resource Division are attempting to stop the insects by providing them with an appetite suppressant pill. The third zip was a long, blind zip. In other words, we could not see the ending platform when we started the zip because it was hidden by the trees in between the 2 platforms. There were several more of these throughout the day. The rappel station at the end was perhaps the scariest and most fun. We all rapelled off a platform located 35 feet in the air into nothingness. Then, Read unlatched us from the rope and we all hiked back to the bus for the short drive back to base camp. It was an exhausting, freezing, wet afternoon, but it was well worth it. Several of our interns conquered their fear of heights, and we all left with a lifetime of great memories and a strong desire to return to the Tree Tops.

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