The circus as a kid was something that was just magical. The combination of wild animals, lights, and the fantastic acrobats..who didn’t want to be one of those trapeze artists?
It is apparent that the world is becoming more aware of the adventure component of travel whether one goes snorkeling, SCUBA diving, or takes to the mountains for hiking or camping. I must say that many of my travels have been adventures. If you are a true follower, you should already know of the camels, mosquitoes, brothels, scaling coliseum walls, and the like, but I can’t say that I have had much experience in being a circus performer or that is until last May in San Jose, Costa Rica (By the way, if you would like to read the archives for those stories, you will get to know Ms. Traveling Pants even better.)
While in San Jose, I had the opportunity to go zip-lining. For those of you unfamiliar with it, a metal cable is strung between two trees (see above picture). The participants are harnessed in by their legs, groin, and waist while wearing protective gloves and helmet. Once prepared, you climb up various ladders to a platform in a tree where you are clamped onto the line and let loose to quickly zip from one tree to the other, trying to steer your way to the next landing platform.
Everything sounds fun and exciting that is until you are about to get into the harness and live this adventure tourism trek yourself. So first, I don’t know about you, but when I watch circus performers today, harnesses are not part of the attire. They probably do not necessarily need them anymore because they are so skilled, but also because the attire for safety is NOT flattering. Imagine having tight belts at all the WRONG places. For my female readers, what woman wants more attention to the hips, butt, and belly? So, yes, it is rather unflattering for woman, but men also have it rough for both appearances and well let’s just say the ride as well. There is no “hiding your equipment” when going zip-lining. The harnesses are set up just so that yes the size of the thighs and butt are accentuated for women , but for men the harness is the “Great Divide.” (I will not post a picture I will let you put two and two together.)
To start any zip-lining experience you must climb. Typically, through a series of cable ladders you will arrive to your first take-off platform. When I arrived at my first platform, I was shaking; however, I have to admit some of the best moments of many of my travels have been frightening and the stories worth telling.
The first zip was scary, rather uncontrolled, and off target, but, by the second, the adrenaline kicked it. For zip #2, we needed to climb even higher to get momentum, but it was becoming more and more worth it. For the next and most difficult zip, we needed to cross a very unstable rope bridge and then climb even higher to zip across a large lake. Just to give you an accurate picture, the park was the size of Central Park in New York with a 100 meter plus zip crossing the lake from one tree to the other. Yes, it was a challenge and as an added prank, the excursion had placed a large mat, which was tied to the massive tree trunk awaiting us on the other side. If my memory serves me right, there was also a bull’s eye outlined.
Needless to say, I loved the experience and was shaking for probably 30 minutes afterwards. The feeling of conquering a fear or doing something that stretches your limits is a great high. I want to go again. This time I want to do it amongst the true rain forest in a more remote area that they call the Cloud Forest. I will be going in May again this year. I promise I will take documentation that a harness and helmet are not my best look.