Zippity-Do-Da-ing with Yellowstone Zipline

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WCrossing the bridge at Yellowstone Ziplinee’re so high up!” I exclaimed as I gazed longingly at the ground. As soon as I said it, mischievous smiles spread across my two accompanying cohorts’ faces. I should have bitten my tongue. Shit. This had happened before—I thought back to last summer’s “adventure” on a ropes course, which had me clinging to a random pole while the rest of the O/B staff bounced up and down, taunting me like crazed zoo monkeys as I whimpered. I didn’t want a repeat of that, especially since cameras were now in tow.

I thought back to when I had two feet safely on the ground. The Yellowstone Zip tour instructors had made jokes about our undeniable “sex appeal” while we awkwardly hoisted ourselves into their less-than-flattering harnesses. To ease the group’s nerves, they explained how everyone is connected to an overhead line at all times, and that no one had died yet this year (except that one guy, but he kinda deserved it). Dave, Ryan, and I zipped (pun intended) through our training, as—let’s face it—this wasn’t our first rodeo. Compared to the three cheery O/B amigos, the rest of the group was quiet and serious. The other eight zippers were somberly pacing and double-checking their buckles, while we were spouting cheesy jokes, crass sexual innuendos, or scare tactics to make everyone else uncomfortable. You can’t take us anywhere.

Skydancer takes flight

As I approached the first bridge, I decided it was time to put my game face on. “Here we go,” I thought as I took my first steps onto the swinging bridge-o-doom. Just as I expected, there was an immediate bouncing earthquake accompanied by laughter and heckling. The guys were trying to kill me. “Suck it!” I yelled as I broke into a stumbling Indiana Jones sprint. I had found my new heart-pumping strategy: rather than slowly and awkwardly creeping across each bridge (with everyone laughing at my expense), I was just going to gun it. The worst was over, as for some reason I didn’t fear the part where I wasn’t actually standing on something.

One of my colleagues (I won't name names) attempted to show off his practiced zipline expertise, only to end up spinning into a twisted mess—earning him the new nickname Skydancer. (Anyone who was a young girl or who knew a young girl in the ‘90s should get the reference.)

I then watched one of the guides lunge into a perfect Superman pose, gracefully holding his position until reaching the next platform. “Bad ass,” I thought as the remaining guide strapped me into safety. I took a running leap off the edge of the platform, over-extending my Superwoman arm into the air, resulting in a nasty case of whiplash. Damn it. Unfortunately I never developed that standard natural grace that most girls possess. From there on out, I decided to stop trying to show off (as it obviously wasn’t working) and just enjoy the rush.

The Wiley Wire of the Wild WestThe two hours of ziplining were a scream… literally. One woman yelled (and cried) on nearly every zipline and rope bridge. Everyone laughed (including her)—not at her hysterics per se—but rather the fact that she was the one that booked the tour for her and her ever-so-calm firefighter boyfriend. On the other hand, the rest of the group happily hooted and hollered because when you’re not terrified of heights, ziplining is actually quite enjoyable. My favorite zip, The Wiley Wire of the Wild West, delivers a perma-grin as it rockets you almost 800 feet all while crossing the Gallatin River. This is their longest line, making it the easiest to get stuck on, forcing one (un)lucky guide to save you—whether they like you or not (hint, hint). After a delightful day of laughing, yelling, and flying, we gave goodbyes to our group and handed our guides our digits, telling them to let us know when we could go again. Unfortunately, they still haven’t called us back.

The next time a member of your city-slicker family shows up on your front step, we’d suggest impressing them with Montana’s version of a theme park by hitting up the Yellowstone Zip. Tell them that O/B sent you… or maybe don’t, it’s your call.

To book a reservation with Yellowstone Zip, call 1-800-799-4465 or visit www.yellowstonezip.com.


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