An update from Jordan, Outdoor Adventures Trip Leader:
Each semester, SMU Outdoor Adventures (OA) plans and runs fun and exciting trips away from campus. This fall, we are offering seven trips, the first one, on Sept. 15, was our Ziplining Day Trip. I was lucky enough to lead this particular trip and two other OA leaders, Amanda and Joshua, assisted me in making this a successful trip…
On Saturday morning, I waited with Mandy and Josh by the Doak Walker statue for our four participants to arrive. One by one, they all showed up, somewhat nervous, but excited for the day ahead. Once our last participant arrived, we began the two-hour drive out to LaRue, Texas. Our destination New York, Texas Zipline Adventure is located in a small town near Athens, Texas.
We neared our location on a small, shaded back-road around 10:30 a.m. We arrived at our location around the same time as our guides and followed their Jeep up a steep, tree-lined driveway. At the end of the driveway, we found ourselves facing a large, historic home surrounded by trees and picnic tables. After checking in, we began to explore the property and were greeted by Winston, the ziplining boxer dog (apparently dogs like ziplines too)! Looking out over the treetops, we admired an expansive view of the lush, green tree-filled valley below.
Our guides wasted little time getting us suited up in harnesses, helmets and all the appropriate equipment. We were then walked through a few basic safety rules in ground school. We practiced zipping (about a foot off the ground), learned how to brake and perform a self-rescue … then it was time to get on the real lines!
The first three lines allowed us to zoom from tree to tree, stopping on platforms built up on the trees. These first lines went pretty quick, but were lots of fun and gave us plenty of time to admire the amazing views of the valley.
The next two lines were much longer and required steep, but short hikes through the trees in order to reach the access points. After climbing up a wooden staircase, we were all able to ride on these longer lines. A few of us tried turning upside-down or spinning while sailing through and above the trees.
For the last few lines, we went back to the first line, and then continued on to a longer line to the left that none of us had noticed earlier. This line was approximately 800 feet long, providing ample room to try out some more tricks. Our guides demonstrated some impressive tricks, like spinning while upside down. Encouraged by their skills, we all attempted some more adventurous methods for riding the last zipline and we even recorded a video of everyone showing off spins and turns. Needless to say, we all loved that last line!
With our feet back on the ground, we returned all our gear and thanked our guides. Since the weather and views were so nice, we unloaded our lunch and all crowded around a picnic table before heading home. While we ate, we recounted our favorite parts of ziplining, told stories about previous trips and got amped up for more adventures to come!
That Saturday we all made new friends, enjoyed a fun outdoors activity together and came home safely… that’s a successful trip in my book!