A friend once asked me if I had been taught fear.  The question shocked me at first, and then I realized that I was not taught fear but respect.  Fear denotes the agitation and anxiety caused by the presence or imminence of danger.  Respect denotes both a positive feeling of esteem for a person or other entity (such as a nation or a religion), and also specific actions and conduct.

Last year we announced in this magazine the opening of a new outdoor adventure in Lula, GA. North Georgia Canopy Tours recently celebrated its one year anniversary, so I decided it was time to try it out for myself.

Along with our photographer Kim Bates, I geared up for what proved to be an awesome afternoon in the beautiful North Georgia Mountains.   Our hosts and guides were outstanding, and the folks that were part of our adventure made the experience a once in a lifetime treat.  I was the only one in the group who had never experienced a zip line, which made for a few laughs and interesting circumstances.

The experience began “low and slow,” though we soon found ourselves zipping at greater heights and speeds through the lush canopy.  We enjoyed a birds-eye view of the North Oconee River, ravines, ponds, pastures, and wildlife.  Despite my efforts to maintain a steady focus on keeping my body positioned straight ahead, that didn’t happen.  Everything around me was beautiful, peaceful, and worth taking a look – so as my eyes turned one way so did my body.  Thank goodness that Kevin and Austin were there every step of the way, making sure all harnesses, ropes, clips, and every other safety piece was in place at all times.  They maintained a fun and light-hearted environment amongst the beautiful backdrop of the tree tops, the glorious sky above us, and the magnificent surroundings that spoiled us.

The adventure is worth every minute of it; the ability to soar through the air attached to a steel cable—which soon disappeared from our consciousness— the zip lines, sky bridges, moderate hikes through a natural beautiful area, and a dual racing zip over the Hilltop Pond in front of the Observation Deck were simply fabulous.  I did realize I do fear one thing – rappelling.  Though safely held by ropes and harnesses, I was not able to let go as easily as the rest of the folks in our group.  However, as with life, once I realized that there were others there who “had my back,” it was easier to let go.  My eyes remained focused on the guides that made it all oh so easy.

The feeling I enjoyed from that afternoon is one that remains in my memory.  Besides taking pleasure in the beauty of the awesome mountains, meeting new friends, and learning more about ecological responsibility, I was able to cross out another item off my List of things I never thought I’d do.

Should you ever have the opportunity to take a ride to Lula and enjoy a time of freedom and fun, I encourage you to “zip it!”

NORTH GEORGIA CANOPY TOURS

5290 Harris Road, Lula, Georgia 30554

770 869 7272 | 770-869-9993 phone/fax

www.northgeorgiacanopytours.com

Originally Published June 2011