So I’m standing on top of a 45-foot platform, suspended by a rope, my life on the line. Literally. In two-seconds, I will be hanging from a line zipping 30 to 35 miles per hour over the river and through the woods of southwestern Ohio.
These were the thoughts rushing through my mind (at a rate nearly as fast as the zipline itself) as I prepared for my first zip at OZONE Zipline Adventures situated in Warren County’s Little Miami River Valley. Touting itself as the Midwest’s largest zipline tour, the attraction boasts eight ziplines (with plans to complete four more) ranging from 180 to 2400 feet in length – two miles of line in all. In addition to the ziplines there are five skybridges (with plans to build two more) and a 45-foot tall observation tower which, I might add, did not look too intimidating until I was standing on top of it.
Admittedly, I was frightened standing up there but safety comes first at OZONE. After being aided in putting on our harnesses and adjustable (albeit unfashionable) yellow helmets, our group was briefed on what to expect on our tour. We learned two aerodynamic positions: the cannonball (to help those on the lower end of the weight requirement to go faster) and the starfish (to slow oneself down toward the end of a zip). A sidenote pertaining to the harnesses: while they are very adjustable, some men on my tour initially appeared to be a tad uncomfortable. When on the zip course there is never a time where the participant is not hooked to some safety thing. Thus, on the off chance that someone were to lose his or her footing, there is virtually no danger of falling. Just dangling. Very high dangling.
The $75 dollar a person price tag may initially cause families to avoid such an attraction during these tough economic times, but rest assured, this is money well spent. OZONE Zipline Adventures is an educational, not-for-profit institution. During the tour (three hours for half course, six for the full) participants are educated on fossils, the area’s ecology, local history (Fort Ancient, 18,000 feet earthen walls and mounds constructed by Native Americans 2000 years ago, is nearby) and basic physics. Groups traverse the course together, which makes this trip excellent for team-building and group or family bonding. The views of the canopy and underlying ravines, the Little Miami River and the valley below make for stunning views. Most importantly, however, the experience is fun.
Which brings us back to me, perched high in the trees, my life on the aforementioned line. I was informed that the course was “Challenge-by-Choice” and I could be lowered to the ground at anytime. That sounded appealing about now, especially since I suddenly had a strong, sudden urge to pee.
I took a deep breath, sat into the harness and, with my guide’s encouragement, let myself glide over the trees. When I got to the other side, I could barely contain myself. I could not wait to get to the next zip to do it all over again.
Jennifer Rhodes is an amateur pole dancer, occasional high school teacher and all-the-time writer pursuing her MFA in creative nonfiction at Antioch University in Los Angeles. When not spilling her soul onto the page, breaking up fights in school hallways or dangling upside down on her pole, Jenn can be found spoiling her dog, Jimmy Choo. She resides with her husband in Cincinnati, Ohio, and is working on her first manuscript, a collection of comedic essays.