Monday, May 12, 2014

When Riding a Zip Line Watch Out for the Noodle

Last Friday, my sister Kathleen and I, along with some of her former co-workers and 50 other brave souls, met bright and early at the YMCA in O'Fallon, MO, for a bus trip to the Trout Lodge at the YMCA of the Ozarks in Potosi, MO.

The day started out great. The early morning weather was sunny and mild with just a hint of clouds. Before we boarded the bus, our hosts at the Y provided fruit juice, bottled water, and brown paper sacks of snacks for our trip.

Due to an accident on the highway, the bus ride took longer than expected, but we enjoyed a movie on the way.

Because of our late arrival, Kathleen and I weren't able to participate in the GEO-caching event that had already begun. In a nutshell, the task involves taking a GPS tracker and making your way through the woods using longitude and latitude markings to find landmarks. Maybe next time.

Instead, we joined some friends for a pontoon ride around the lake. Our pontoon driver/guide was enthusiastic and knowledgeable. She pointed out special features of the lodge, the horse trail ride path, and the location of a pair of eagles' nest. Her passion came through as we rode across the lake.

During lunch, the weather took a turn for nasty, but we were safely inside the glassed-in dining room, with a spectacular view of the lake, as hummingbirds flitted about their feeders and lightning zigzagged across the dark sky.

Also during lunch we debated if we should try the zip lines. We decided if it rained we wouldn't do it. By the time we finished eating, the sun reappeared and clouds fluttered away -- so did our excuse.

Our group of ten was last to go, so after walking about half a mile to the launch site, we were able to observe the first group and get some tips before getting harnessed up and ready to soar.

When Kathleen took to the platform I watched for her reaction. For years she's wanted to try zip-riding, but has been talked out of it. But after seeing men and women in the first group in ages ranging from their 40s to their 80s take to the platform, she worked up her courage, and so did I.

After putting on a helmet, we were instructed to run from a platform down an incline, where we would be launched. After a successful first trip she was handed a noodle to try and hit a red-white-and-blue target at the end of the ride. After hitting the target, she returned with a huge smile and a thumbs up.

So far, so good.

My first trip was amazing. I ran off the platform and down the incline and was lifted into the sky. My ride lasted only a few minutes, but the view was lovely. Zipping past evergreens and the winding trail below, I had a great view of the dogwoods in bloom.

Not to be outdone by my sister, I decided to try my luck at hitting the target with a noodle and opted for blue to match my helmet. Just before my ride began I asked for final instructions on how to hold the noodle while also holding onto the rope.

Um. I was so focused on my hands I forgot about my feet. I made it off the platform then stumbled on the incline.

I scraped the top of my right foot and twisted my left knee--the one I've had surgery on. Ouch!

But I persevered. Although my dignity took a hit, I held onto the noodle, swatted but missed, the target, and finished the ride.

After removing my helmet and harness and being treated for a flesh wound, I hobbled back to the lodge. My knee swelled up, and it has been painful to walk on, and much to my disappointment I missed the Heart Walk on Saturday.

You might wonder: Would she do it again?

Yep. I would. It was an amazing experience, a feeling of gliding through the fresh air among tall trees with the ground below.

But next time I think I'll skip the noodle.


  1. Donna--I think you should try skydiving. The landings are much smoother, and the thrill is even greater. (And if you do a tandem jump--which is what I have done--you get harnessed to a diving instructor. In my case--all three times--it was a cute young man.)

    Bravo for you. I'm sorry you got hurt, but good for you for trying something you were a bit hesitant about.

    1. Hi Sioux,
      Not sure I'll try skydiving, but it's great you did--and three times. I'm impressed!

  2. Donna, this is great! I always wanted to try this, and I think you've given me the courage to do that! (But I'm very sorry about your injury.)

    1. Hi Dianna,
      It was fun and inexpensive doing it through the Y.

      You should try it. I think there's going to be another trip in the fall. Can you imagine how beautiful the trees will be then?

  3. Good for you, Donna! And when people ask what happened to your knee, you can be all nonchalant and cool and tell them it's a zipline-related injury. (Just leave out the part about the noodle!) :)

    Madeline @ The Shellshank Redemption

    1. Hi Madeline,
      That's a great idea. I'll have to use it.

  4. I don't think I am a candidate for this since I can't even keep from falling twice in 5 months! But I enjoyed seeing you have fun!

  5. Ohhh, I'm so sorry you got hurt, but at least you had fun while doing so! Hope you also had a great Mother's Day. For Sibling Day this year, my sister asked if we wanted to zip line and I right away said, NO. I'd probably break my leg.

  6. You are such a risk-taker! No zipping for me. I would not even like standing on the platform.

    Maybe your next country "noodle" experience should be noodling for catfish. I hear it's perfectly safe. Really.

  7. Yay for Donna & Kathleen! So sorry about your poor knee, but so glad you went for it. I imagine it was wonderful. I think I'd love the zipping part, just not the take off or landing. I went once but it was a course that required climbing trees and walking tightropes, which I absolutely refused. I was a great cheerleader though.
    I did parasail, which was really wonderful, but there again I had a rough landing on my knees. Haven't tried skydiving (Sioux is a wild women after all) but my sister used to go and an old friend is a skydiving addict. With the wretched body I have now I'll pass on all that exciting stuff. You go ahead!

  8. Kudos to you and your sister for your bravery to zip line. I can sure relate to your agonizing knee pain. Hope you feel better soon.

  9. Sorry to hear you got hurt, but if you leave the noodle part out of the story, getting hurt while zip lining sounds downright cool! Very impressive.

  10. You're so brave! I can't handle heights and would likely pass out before they ever put the harness on me. Sorry you were hurt---hope you're feeling better. My son and his new wife went zip-lining in Antigua on their honeymoon and can't wait to go again. Their assessment was the same as yours---that the experience bears repeating.

  11. Wow! This is awesome. It sounds like a lot of fun. I'm so glad you went zip riding. I can imagine what a lot of fun. I wish I could get enough courage to do this. I admire you for taking this adventure.

  12. Good for you, Donna! It's always exhilarating to try something out of our comfort zone. Hope by now you're healed up and feeling great!

    Critter Alley


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