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Zip Trips

By Charles Lohrmann

September 2008

“Flying” was not exactly what I had in mind when I embarked on an afternoon ziplining excursion, but with the record-setting heat of a 2008 June day just starting to fade, I welcomed the prospect of flying over the treetops of the rugged Hill Country landscape.
TH Photography Editor Kevin Vandivier and I climbed into a van for a short ride to the base of the hill where the zip line course began. The two of us had already completed the required “flight-school” training and attentively listened to the safety lecture from Mike Robinson, a partner in Wimberley Zipline Adventures.

With fear on a short leash, it was time to go flying.

And fly we did. After the 250-foot bunny run, I was completely relaxed at the prospect of gliding 90 feet off the ground and scanning the horizon 15 miles away. As we prepared for the next flight, Robinson and his business partner, Jim Turner took a few minutes to explain exactly how the cables are rooted into the rock of the hillside. Unlike the canopy tours that have made ziplining popular in Central America, the Wimberley course follows cables set into the land itself. In addition, the galvanized steel cables could pull 33,000 pounds and could support 5,000 pounds.

Following the review of the cable installation engineering, we clipped our individual pulleys onto the cable for the second ride of the afternoon. This flight took us twice as far as the first and gave us a chance to enjoy the thrill a little longer. Each time, I wished I could back up and do it again. But since gravity does the work and the cables run slightly downhill, going backward is not an option. It was over way too quickly but now that I’ve learned the secret of flying, I’m ready to do it again.

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