Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Wednesday Zip Line

Zip Lining...WOW!! We went to 'Flight of the Gibbon' and for $100 each we got a picked up in a private(because noone else booked same time as us coincidently) "air conditoned van", private zip line (again, coincidence}, private walk to a stunning waterfall, amazing lunch ( far more food than the two of us could eat - chicken and potato curry, steamed vegetable, a pork and mint dish, a broth w/ what looked like cucumber in it,  and a heaping mound of steamed rice) with soft thai music (harp-like instrument and drum) in the back ground, a t-shirt and a ride home.  Our guides were "Boss" and "Tiger Panda", Both young (early 20's Thai).We would come to a platform that is REALLY high up and one would zip to the next platform and wait to 'catch'. The other, usually Tiger would hook us in, and when ready say simply -  "Sit Please" this point you had to go, he would keep saying it until you walked off the platform and almost seems confused when you hesitated.  Boss was the funny guy, you never knew if he was serious or not. He would joke that this was his first day too.  Or pretend he didn't know how to connect you to the line... At one station He announced that it was the Superman line.  Instead of hooking us in front and sitting we would be connected with a ring on the back of our harness, step off forward and 'starfish' like we were flying.  Now this took some reassuring for both Heather and I as unlike up to this point, you had to trust the line was going to catch you whn you stepped off the platform  Heather was brave and went first.  I had Boss basically push me off the platform and he went across on a parallel line.  Tiger took our picture as we came across.  Heather looks pretty jazzed in her photo.  I'm a little less enthusiastic in my expression.  When we reached the other platform, instead of landing on it, we had to catch a net hanging from it.  Not that hard.  Climbing up to the platform, another story.  The longest line was 950 metres.  That was a great ride.  Fast, but long enough to look around as you went.  Before we went across on it we were fortunate enough to see a mother Gibbon with a baby in the trees near to this platform.  She has been orphaned, raised in a sanctuary and then released in this protected area.  Her name is Lot (Loat) and will come close when called.  She was quite a ways away initially and then to see her swinging branch to branch closer and closer with her baby clutching her stomach was absolutely amazing.  Now Gibbons apparently are very territorial so we had to make sure she didn't get too close ( not up to Heather and I, Boss made all calls).  To hear her call through the forest was a little chilling.  It's a bit of a moaning whooping noise that sounds like they are in the tree above you, even if they are miles off.  Didi not expect this sighting.  The only other difficulty came at the end.  In order to finish the course you have to get back to the ground.  At this point we were about 100 feet up in the trees though.  No problem just rappel down.  Big problem, in order to do this we had to stand with our feet at the edge and lean forward while holding your harness at your chest.  Again requiring far more trust than I had.  I ended up sitting on the edge and holding another line beside me as Boss lowered me very slowly.  He and Tiger kept telling me to ease my grip on the rope as it might burn my hands.  There was no way I was letting go.  And fortunately since it had rained the night before the rope was wet, and was actually quite slick.  Back, greatfully, on terra firma we were given water and after 15 mins or so I was able to get my legs to stop shaking long enough to hike back to the van.  In all honesty it was terrifying at times, and exhilerating, and I am so happy to have had the opportunity for the whole experience.  The small village where it is based up in the hills is so different than here in Chiang Mai, it would have been a shame not to have visited.   The villagers we were told receive 10% of the fees.  They also grow organic coffee and tea, and harvest honey.  It also looked like they use the red clay from the soil there to make bricks, which are used in construction.  Beautiful surroundings, flowers, banana trees, palm trees, bamboo, a true rainforest on all sides. Fantastic.  I don't know how we might top this?  Tomorrow we go ride the elephants...

1 comment:

  1. I am hoping to be brave and try something like this when we go to the Mayan at spring break! You are inspiring me - looks like a blast!