Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah: Zip Lining on Kauai

I like to think that I’ve done a fair amount of adventurous things in my life. I’ve jumped into a glacial river and gone hydrospeeding down it with nothing but a little piece of foam to guide me through the rapids. I’ve stepped into crampons and climbed a wall of ice. I learned to scuba dive. I’ve soared over Victoria Falls in a microlight. I’ve rappelled down a waterfall. I’ve rafted (and in part, swam) down the Nile.

In short, I like to do things that fall a little bit on the adventurous side. Until our trip to Hawaii, I had not, however, gone zip lining. I was way behind the curve.

But thanks to my mom (yep that’s right, my mom), I’m all caught up.

Now my mom likes to have fun and try new things, but she’s not the queen with a capital Q of adventure. Yet when I was making our Hawaii itinerary and asking for suggestions, she kept throwing out zip lining. At first, I thought she was kidding. Then I thought it was weird that she just kept bringing it up. So finally, I asked her if she was serious. Turns out, she was. My mom really wanted to go zip lining. So I did a little research, made a few phone calls, and the next thing I knew, zip lining was on the itinerary.


We woke up to gray skies and rain on the morning we were to go zip lining. Not exactly what I had in mind as I pictured myself soaring over the valleys of Kauai. But we were on the Garden Island, after all, and unfortunately none of us are sweet enough to melt in the rain. So we forged ahead.

Weighed and then outfitted with harnesses and helmets, we jumped in an old Army-style vehicle to bump our way up to the top of the valley we were going to zip line down (and which was the same valley where Tropic Thunder was filmed). The rain came and then went, teasing us but never clearing entirely. We were meant to get wet it seems. And boy did we ever.

But honestly, the rain didn’t affect our fun one bit. Though clouds surrounded the valley, we still had beautiful views down the valley, lush with trees and rivers. And zipping over it all turned out to be a great rush and not the least bit scary. As someone who isn’t super fond of heights, I wasn’t sure how much I’d like zip lining, but even on the tallest, longest runs, I didn’t feel a bit of fear. It was really just plain fun, and I’m glad I can now add zip lining to the list of adventures I’ve been lucky enough to have.

As for my mom, well, I think she’s been looking for her next chance to clip on, leap off, and zip away. We might have an addict on our hands.

*Sorry for any blurry pictures. Taking photos of moving objects in pouring rain is tricky.

*We went zip lining with Kauai Backcountry Adventures, who we would highly recommend.  The staff was fantastic—both very knowledgeable and very fun—and the course was great fun.

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