first_img• What: A guided two-hour zip line tour through a canopy of moss-covered firs.Where: Skamania Lodge, 1131 S.W. Skamania Lodge Way, Stevenson.When: Opens May 4; runs seven days a week.Cost: $99 per person.How: Reservations are recommended. Call 509-427-3800 or book online at zipnskamania.com• The seven “zips” range from 100 to 900 feet in length.• Tour includes ramps, stairs, tree decks and short hikes.• No open-toed shoes allowed (hiking boots preferred).• Riders should dress in layers because of varying temperatures.• Must weigh between 75 and 270 pounds.• All gear is provided and the tour is completely guided.• Riders cannot be pregnant, or have prior injuries or surgeries that limit the use of extremities.• The course is closed during times of high winds or lightning.The first step off the ledge, as your stomach plummets, is the scariest.But, sometimes you have to trust in your harness, your helmet and your gut to bring on the adrenaline rush.Skamania Lodge’s new zip line tour features seven “zips” that descend toward the Columbia River and around the golf course.I crowded onto a wooden deck, perched 22 feet up a Douglas fir tree, with six other journalists and two zip line guides. Then, we took turns zooming down a metal cable through the forest canopy at Skamania Lodge in Stevenson. From the parking lot, one might mistake the cables for telephone wires. The zip line tour, however, is the newest addition to the lodge’s slew of outdoor recreation activities and the only tour in Southwest Washington.It’s an unconventional view of the forest that you can’t experience from a trail or viewpoint.People enjoy it because it’s a controlled risk, said operation manager Shayne Large. Riders are safely secured to 1/2 inch galvanized aircraft cable the entire time. The most dangerous part, Large said, is walking to the course with all the roots and rocks in the trails.Construction on zip lines started in the late 1980s, but exploded in the last couple of years with about 50 new courses being built annually in the U.S., Large said. Six years ago, there were about 25 public zip line tours. Today, there’s around 400.Why?“You don’t have to be a super athlete to get an adrenaline rush,” Large said. The first person to sign up to take the tour when it opens to the public May 4 is a 92-year-old woman, who’s looking for a thrill to celebrate her birthday, Large said.The Columbia River Gorge resort looks to the zip line as an activity for both visiting business groups, which make up about 60 percent of their clientele, and families. The weight minimum of 75 pounds puts the youngest riders in the 8- to 10-year-old range.last_img

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