Rope climbin’ Zip line ridin’

By Diana Trasatti
April 16, 2009

Megan Pellegrino

Cabrini students experienced the sensation of flying from trees, hanging from ropes and gliding in the sky while dangling 50 feet in the air on Saturday, April 4.

These students took part in the canopy tour at Spring Mountain Resort in Spring Mount, Pa.

“It goes against all your senses to look down at the ground below you and then jump off a platform 50 feet in the air. It’s definitely a scary experience at first, but once you get through that initial fear it is an amazing feeling,” Julia Danks, senior special education major, said.

The canopy tour was sponsored through Cabrini’s recreation center and organized by its director Orlin Jesperson.

The cost for Cabrini students was $20, but partaking in this activity without going through the school could cost up to $69 per person.

The different recreational trips are based on the different activities that Jespersen thinks would be popular and enjoyable among students and have received positive feedback in the past.

“With my budget, I discount the activities to around $20-$40 per student, in the hopes that people will come out and try something new if it isn’t too expensive. Generally, if people are looking to go on their own, they would probably pay two to three times what I am charging for the student rate,” Jesperson said.

The students packed into a Cabrini van at 12 p.m. and excitedly talked about the new experience that awaited them.

The 40-minute drive flew by for the passengers.

When reaching the resort, the participants strapped into harnesses and helmets and eagerly waited to begin the course while four guides covered some basic safety instruction with the nine students and two community members.

A large portion of the group were students from the Putnam building, whose resident assistant Brittany Mitchell chose the canopy tour to be a program for her residents.

“I wanted to take full advantage of what Cabrini recreation had to offer. With the help of Residence Life, we were able to go on the $60 canopy tour for $15, and I knew that this opportunity would not be possible outside of Cabrini,” Mitchell, senior English and communication major, said.

A lift took the eager students to the top of the mountain. Upon reaching the top, guides then led the students through a short hike in the forest to finally begin the course.

A white cargo net that was attached to the ground and led up to a platform in a tree 45 feet in the air was the first challenge of the course.

Students either raced against each other on the net to reach the top, or opted to take it slow and steady by themselves.

“My favorite part of the tour was the first zip line. I don’t exactly love heights and it was very windy, but the guides were just awesome. I felt extremely safe and I definitely want to return to do their night canopy tour,” Mitchell said.

The students partook in the Vertigo course.

This consisted of four zip lines and three bridges with varying structures. The No Hands Bridge of Doom had four small wood cut outs attached to two wires and the participants had to walk across them with no rope or beam to hold on to.

Two wires and a few hanging ropes were the only means of getting across the Vine Transverse Bridge.

The students had to walk across the half inch thick wire with only white ropes hanging from above to balance them. The bridge deemed most popular by the group was the Tyrolean Bridge.

Here the group could balance themselves on a thin wire to get across the bridge or shuffle across the thick rope above them upside down.

“My favorite part was climbing upside down on the bridge. The guides made it look so easy, but you really had to work to get across. It was definitely an experience to be hanging upside down from a rope 50 feet in the air,” Danks said.

By the end of the two-hour tour, the group was satisfied with their first experience zip lining, climbing and seeing the trees, ground and sky from a whole new level.

With the school year coming to an end, there are no plans for another canopy tour this semester, but next year a variety of outside recreational activities will be offered.

“Things are starting to wind down for the year, but I do offer at least four to five activities like these each semester; we just need people to register early to make them happen. In the past, I have offered surfing lessons, canopy tours, paintball, whitewater rafting, sailing/windsurf lessons, flat-water kayak/paddle boating and rock climbing,” Jespersen said.

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Diana Trasatti

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