Any mildly-extreme sport that starts and ends at an expresso bar is right up our alley. That's one reason we enjoyed yesterday's outing at the Kapalua Resort's zipline adventure on Maui so much.
But naturally zipping was the main attraction. We'd never zipped before. If you don't know what it is, my four minute video will show you.
It's a kick. You hang on harnesses attached to what we were assured is a super-strong cable. Then you let yourself go from a platform and zip – the longest of the four courses being over 2000 feet.
In the video I only show two of the ziplines, the short practice course and the longest ending course, which soars over a beautiful valley.
After three zips, I felt experienced enough to hold my Flip Video camera in one hand for almost all of the last course. But when you near the landing platform zippers are supposed to hold on to a bar with two hands; hence, the sudden shot of the sky. (I broke the rule at the very end.)
Kapalua has parallel lines, so two people zip at the same time. On the last course I was paired with Amy, who was zipping as part of her training to work at the Kapalua Adventure Center.
Not surprisingly, she zipped way faster than I did. About halfway down I thought about leaning back (less air resistance) to see if I could catch up, but then I realized that given how much we were paying per second of zipping, I should be going as slow as possible to stretch out the experience.
Not as slow as Laurel, though. She was zipping so sedately at the end of the last course she stopped 20 feet from the platform. A rope was thrown to her so she could be towed in.
We were fortunate to just be one of three tourists on our zipline adventure, the other three zippers being staff in training. Rob, from North Carolina via New Zealand, was the other tourista. He's thinking of moving to Ashland, Oregon – an excellent idea, we told him.
This is a fun 2 ½ to 3 hour escapade for those who are (1) moderately adventurous and (2) moderately physically fit. The zipline course requires pretty good balance – not when you're zipping, but while you're on a ladder getting unhooked from the equipment.
I suspect the first practice tower is designed to weed out the excessively infirm right at the start. You walk up a swaying hanging board/rope bridge, then have to navigate some steep stairs while hanging onto your zipline gear.
It's not a big deal for most people. But I wonder why Kapalua doesn't assess the fitness of potential zippers before they get fitted into a harness and take a twenty-minute ride up to the Mountain Outpost.
Maybe the staff figure that if you want to slide on a cable for thousands of feet over a deep Maui valley, you're fit enough to do it.