Rogers Interzip zip line connects Ontario and Quebec and offers unparalleled views of downtown Ottawa and plenty of thrills. But would this anti-adventurist be able to take the ultimate leap of faith?
There are many reasons a person might decide to step outside of their comfort zone. Perhaps they want to test their limits, experience life to the fullest, or make an incredible travel memory. Or maybe, just maybe, they want to show their husband that they don't know you as well as they think they do.
The latter was me. In an effort to make Ryan think "Hmmmm.... Maybe I don't know Vanessa all that well. She is far more enigmatic than I gave her credit for" I found myself on what is billed as the world's first interprovincial zip line.
Yes, fellow anti-adventurists. I went zip lining. On my wedding anniversary. All so I'd appear just a smidgen more inscrutable than normal to a spouse who knows me very, very well.
I honestly don't know what started the conversation about whether or not we should try Ottawa's latest adventure sensation, Interzip Rogers, which connects Ontario and Quebec. We had heard all the buzz about this new attraction which soars over the Ottawa River and it certainly sounded awesome. I think we talked about how cool it would be to zip line in a general sense, but we had no serious plans to actually DO it. I mean, I'm obsessed with reading books about climbing Mount Everest. But I wouldn't even venture a trip to basecamp (a place with a serious lack of cappuccino vendors).
Indirectly, I have my good friend and colleague Laura to blame for taking a general conversation into a more serious plan. I saw the photo of her own zip lining experience and it didn't look too bad. It showed me that, once you climb the zip line platform, you do NOT have to propel yourself off the edge. Interzip requires its riders to sit in a kind of harness device and the staff release a gate. Then you just glide away!
This seemed far, far less scary than other zip lines that require you to actively walk to the edge and jump off - in other words, make you be an active participant in your own launch. But sitting back and scrunching my eyes closed until someone else released the brake? That sounded manageable.
I'm not sure exactly what took us from "Oh, hey, their set up looks easier than other companies" to "We have reservations. On our wedding anniversary. This is happening". But there you have it. By his own admission, Ryan was equally unsure about zip lining. He assumed (quite sensibly) that I, a notable anti-adventurist, would pull out LONG before the day in question. I, knowing that he assumed this of me (once again, very reasonably so), decided there was no way I'd give him the pleasure of being right about my scaredy-cat tendencies. As that is how I found myself standing 120 feet in the air on top of wooden platform, staring down the Ottawa River, some suddenly flimsy looking cables, and my own mortality.
Our adventure started in Gatineau, Quebec, at Interzip's office. First, we had to step on a scale (and who doesn't love being weighed in public?) Next, we were outfitted with our harness and helmet. The staff made sure we had the chance to leave keys and cellphones in their office (as bags, as well as cameras, are not allowed on the zip line). Before we knew it, the staff directed us to cross the nearby bridge to walk towards Ottawa - and the Interzip launch platform.
Now, at this point I was pretty much committed but two things helped banish any last minute doubts considerably. First, another participant walking ahead of me had a rat-tail hair style. If he had the moxy to walk around all day looking like that, I could have the moxy needed to complete this brief journey.
Additionally, the advertising banners on the side of Interzip's platform staircase were tall and thick enough that I couldn't see just how high I was climbing. In fact, I cheerfully announced this to Ryan in what I thought was an encouraging kind of way. He was not in a conversational kind of mood.
Ryan heroically went first. He was doing very well as they attached his harness to the cable but at a certain point he looked less sure. I suspect it was when his feet were suspended off the floor - I know that's when I started to feel weak with fear. Ryan even told the attendant that he was terrified in that moment.
The attendant was neither impressed nor concerned. She released the gate and off he went!
I was next, along with another woman on the other cable. Like Ryan, I was doing great until the point in the harness clipping process when my feet left the ground. I firmly shut my eyes, as everyone knows that if you can't see the scary thing, it does not exist. With no fanfare whatsoever, I was off.
AND IT WAS AMAZING!!!
Flying through the air (at 40 kilometres an hour!) was an exhilarating experience. At one point, I caught the eye of the person to my right and we shared one of those looks that only two people on a travel adventure can possibly share, that moment when nauseating fear is overcome by sheer excitement. I loved EVERY. SINGLE. SECOND.
I had some serious misgivings as I approached the finish line and, with rapidly approaching static objects suddenly in my line of vision, I was confronted with a swift understanding of just how fast I was moving. The braking position they taught me earlier did not slow me down in the least and the attendants were perilously close to my arrival zone. But hey, who am I to argue if they have a death wish? All the same, I firmly shut my eyes - and then it was all over. (My ride. Not anyone's life.)
As you can see from the two photos above, Ryan and I were GRINNING at the end. We absolutely loved our experience (well, the part that started after the zipping itself began.) We wished we could run back over the bridge and do it all over again! I felt brave and bold, like the unknowable goddess I clearly am.
No word about how rat-tail man enjoyed his experience but I wish him well.
Will I zip line again? Maybe. I can't imagine ever wanting to zip line from a platform that requires me to launch myself off the edge. Nope, nope, nopity-nope. But a harness style, where someone else is in charge? Maybe. I mean, probably not. But you never know. I'm mysterious like that.
If you enjoyed this anti-adventure, you'll also like these articles:
Vanessa Survives Sweden's Wildest Boat Ride
Vanessa Visits The Athens Meat Market
Vanessa Rides A Mountain Coaster
Posts by Location
Posts by Date