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Aurora

Zipped another item off the bucket list



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June 10, 2014 | 04:19 PM
I wasn’t really afraid until I realized I had to put on a helmet.

Before that, I was kind of oblivious to what exactly zip lining was.

I knew I’d be wearing a harness.

I knew I’d be attaching myself to a cable strung high in the air between two poles.

But I hadn’t really put it all together in my head.

The helmet made it real.

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At Aerial Adventures in Lake Geneva, they don’t take any chances.

There really wasn’t anything my head could bump into, I realized after I had finished the zip line course, but putting one on before I even climbed the tower freaked me out.

If I hadn’t already signed the waiver, I might have backed out.

But I was there early Saturday morning to cross another item off my bucket list — so far I had completed 6 of the 28 goals I set for myself in February.

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That’s 21 percent done.

Zip lining would bring me to 25 percent done, so I was feeling pretty good.

Until I got up to the top of the highest tower.

Eileen Behan, my zip guide expert, said I probably wouldn’t get hurt, but she gets bruised up all the time.

Yikes.

She pointed to her legs spotted black and blue.

That’s not a great way to instill confidence in a first-timer.

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At the top of the tower, it’s a little shaky. It’s about 45 feet high, and the wind makes it seem like the wooden tower is barely supported.

Behan hooked me up to some wires.

“Are you ready?” she asked me.

No. Not at all. I’m still not ready, and as I write this, I’ve done three zips.

I don’t think you can ever be ready for something like that. You can be excited — I wasn’t yet — and you can be logistically ready and connected to the wires.

But I don’t think there’s a way to prepare for flying through the air.

Behan said I could jump from the very top of the platform we were standing on or go down a step.

I walked down a step.

I figured if I fell, I was that much closer to the ground.

I put on a somewhat brave face and walked off the platform.

And smiled. It’s not scary at all.

It was fast, but not too fast.

I was on the zip line long enough to check out what was going on below me and to notice a group of women putting on their own helmets.

I had to lift my legs over some trees growing in the zip path.

Then it was done. I was lifted to the second platform and hooked to different wires.

“How was it? First time?” the guide asked.

It was fantastic, and it left me breathless. I was all adrenaline and no oxygen.

According to the company’s website, this zips last about 45 seconds.

That was just enough time for me to shake off my fears.

I didn’t notice the second platform shake at all, though it probably did.

The guide didn’t have to ask if I was ready this time. I was ready.

So much so, that I stepped off the second platform backward.

The end of the zip line course is kind of anticlimactic.

I jumped off the third platform and zipped away. Instead of landing on another platform, this zip just lets gravity lead a zipper to the center.

As the zipper slows, a staff member brings a ladder. That’s it. The ground is only a few steps away.

Once on the ground, I looked up. Someone zipped past.

History

According to the Aerial Adventures website, father and son team Dave and Mike Hanley already owned the property at 302 Townline Road when they heard about the idea for zip lining.

The lot is narrow and heavily wooded.

They had already developed a motel from old railroad cars. The cars are now seasonal condominiums, and the rest of the lot is dedicated to zip lining, climbing walls and a ropes course.

Aerial Adventures opened in May 2008, one of the first zip line courses in the Midwest.

For more information about the company, visit www.aerialadventureslg.com/home.html.

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