Last May, we headed down to Tennessee while James was home for R&R from Afghanistan.  We knew from the start that our time in the Smokies was going to be about adventure.  Three years prior, James and I visited Gatlinburg and I think all we did was shop.  Well, I shopped.  James patiently nodded in approval at each of my selections.  But anyway.  For this trip, we stayed far away from the malls and shops.  We even had to grab souvenirs on our way out of town.
But this post is about ziplining.  We had done it in Indiana in 2011 sans kids , and the idea of flying through the mountains seemed exhilarating.  So we made our reservations in advance for Mother’s Day and headed down to the cabin.
As we were driving through town, I saw that there were ziplines right off of the main drag.  So basically you’re ziplining near buildings, people and cars.  That’s not at all the experience I was envisioning.
So as we are going over our weekend plans, I decide to check once more on the place we chose.  And whaddya know?  We were going to be ziplining right off the main drag.  Womp womp.
Well, when you’re spending $400 for your family to go ziplining, you don’t just let things go lightly.  We called the company and tried to cancel.  I was totally honest about my reason, and they were not at all willing to refund our money because it was within 24 hours.  However, after a little bit of whining/sweet-talking, they did decide to let us switch over to their sister company.  And that sister company (Legacy Mountain Zip Lines) offered lines that were actually out in the forest.  Exactly what we were looking for in the first place.
Score!
So on Sunday, we all put on our Depends (kidding) and drove up and up and up until we reached this building out in the middle of nowhere.  It turned out that the family that shared our timeslot was a no-show.  Sad for them, but awesome for us!
We all got geared up…

Wrong sport buddy.

Why do they not look frightened?  I was scared enough for all of us.

The guys were nice enough to get a picture of all of us.  Just in case we all died.  And you know I asked if they’d ever had that happen.  They hadn’t.

We were given instructions on how to properly zipline and then we loaded up in a van to get the party started.

The first step to the first (of seven) lines was to walk across this bridge.  For scaredy-cats like Aidan and me, this part is as bad as flying through the air!

Audra paired up with me, Austin went with James, and Aidan was assigned to one of the guides.  Here is Audra and me – she is screaming “this is awwwwwwwwwesome!!!” while I’m silently saying, “please don’t die. please don’t die. please don’t die.”

This girl isn’t scared of a thing!

To give you some reference, look at how far away Aidan and the guide are in this next picture.  These ziplines are insane.  There are no short ones – nothing wimpy.  Go big or go home, right?

So the first one was a bit scary for Aidan, but I cannot express how proud I am of him.  Like me, he needs to be in control of all situations.  So the idea of being way up in the air without any control whatsoever?  That is one courageous kid.  And it helped that our guides were fantastic.  We chose to pair him with one of them because we felt they could control the line better.  Audra and I were spinning all around, and I knew that wouldn’t be what he needed.

The second line was even scarier.

But James and Austin loved every minute of it.

Look at those faces!

And Aidan did much better on this one.  No hands over his face!

I can’t exactly remember when, but after a few lines, we had to load up in an ATV to reach our next location.  This turned out to be an adventure in itself.  (And you know we love adventures!)

There’s not much to be said about each and every line, but I wanted to share the pictures anyway.

So this one was the biggie.  It’s one of those moments that will stick with us forever because the beauty we experienced in the seconds it took to get across is indescribable.  But honestly, I was panicking a lot while we stood there and got prepared.

It wasn’t helped by the fact that Audra thought she needed to give us mini heart attacks every time we were standing around.  Even though we were always tethered to something, she kept pretending she was going to launch herself off the platforms.  You know, she just wanted to bungee jump.

I’m not sure I’ll ever be ready for that.

This picture looks totally fake.  It’s not.  We were there and ready to go soaring on two tiny cables.  450 feet in the air.  For nearly half a mile.  No big deal.

I don’t know what James’s experience was, but I totally forgot everything they taught us while I was on that line.  The guide gave hand signals so we knew when to slow down, and I just absolutely missed it.  We were spinning left and right seeing everything.  The views were absolutely breathtaking.  I really wish I would have had a helmet cam.

Aidan loved it!

We had a few more lines after that one, and each one was amazing.  The guides were knowledgable and crazy friendly.  They had actually helped set up the lines, so although it was scary, they told us about how it took both a helicopter and just old-fashioned man power to get the lines connected.  And how in order to have two lines, one of the guides had to zip across on just the one to carry the second one across.  What?!  That’s insane.  That means he had no safety line!
If you visit the the Gatlinburg area, definitely check out this company.  They aren’t paying us or anything for this post.  I just like to share when we have a really good experience.  And we really did!  There’s something different about being way out in the middle of nowhere just soaring.  It was worth every dollar.
Glowbash 5K
Aiea Loop Trail