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Grads Zip Through The Trees At 40 MPH

CALVIN CREST – Many words describe the joy of zip lining, like invigorating, thrilling and spectacular, to name a few. One word we don’t hear is transformative. The experience can be moving… moving as much as 40 mph as high as 100 feet in the air.

Thus was the case when a group of Yosemite High School students hiked into the woods for a half-day adventure zipping through the trees on lines from 200 to 1000 feet long, courtesy of Zip Yosemite.The YHS class is made up of mostly seniors in the Regional Occupational Program (ROP) who are going through Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) training. Instructor Tony Misner was present for the zipping, along with classroom aide Terri LeQuia.

Zip Yosemite -  YHS Students and teacher gear up to zip - Photo by Kellie FlanaganThe group arrived at the adventure site in two vans, and then divided into two teams. Next they strapped on gear and helmets, and after a brisk 15 minute walk and an important safety talk, the pros took charge and slowly let the zipping unfold.

Before heading out and up, some in the group were less than enthusiastic about managing the heights – they’d be 100′ in the air at some points, and traveling 40 mph. One student voiced her concerns with nervous laughter. “I don’t like heights. Not my thing. I just hope I don’t die.”

Zip  Yosemite - YHS Students and teachers aide after the zipping - Photo by Kellie FlanaganHer fears were allayed as, one by one, students were repeatedly harnessed and tethered by trustworthy guides. While moving carefully through the forest canopy, the zips gradually increasing in length, height and speed.

Zip Yosemite’s course is set up as a progressive system, one that gives individuals a chance to get used to the idea of speeding through mid-air. It starts out short and sweet, and goes through a series of zips, suspension bridges and platform lowers that are at once breathtaking and exhilarating.

Zip  Yosemite - YHS Student being lowered off platform - Photo by Kellie Flanagan“We can take somebody that’s completely apprehensive, and if they’re going to choose to take that first step and go across, they realize that this is safe,” said the guide. “That first step off is spooky, but if you trust it, all of a sudden you love it. Everybody wants to come back.”

The adventure zip line company opened last fall with a desire to contribute to the foothill area’s potential as a destination location apart from Yosemite. Engaging local students and giving back to the community is part of their overall scheme.

Zip  Yosemite - daunting sky bridge - Photo by David Briley“These Yosemite High kids worked really hard to get where they are and we want to reward that.”

As minutes and hours ticked by and more hurdles were overcome, it was apparent the group had become stronger as a unit, and as individuals. On the ground they seemed to walk a little taller, and in the air, there was no doubt they were higher, faster and better than before.

Their safe airborne voyage through leaves and limbs had revealed something each student held inside to varying degrees: the power of I-can-do-it. That’s worth a lot.

Zip Yosemite -  YHS seniors in EMT class get to zip for free 2013 - Photo by Kellie FlanaganThe zip line group included Mr. Misner, Mrs. LeQuia, Ciara DeBock, Amanda Dangleis, Mindy Valencia, Bridgette Ash, Austin Misner, Fletcher Haggard, Yvonne, Luna, Anthony Misner, Cameron Simonsen, Payge Simms, Chanelle Parker & Dylan Lopez.

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