I feel myself soaring over the Rio Colorado 50-some feet below. The hot sun and strong breeze give me a nice combination of hot and cold that balances out. Despite moving at over 40 miles an hour, I am at peace.
Today is our final full day in Costa Rica, after five days of volunteer work at Costa Del Oro Beach. We have been on the Nicoya Peninsula watching wild olive ridley sea turtles lay their eggs, and keeping them safe until they hatch. Now, it is time for our volunteer group to take a day off and act as tourists.
The morning of “Adventure day,” as it became known, the volunteer group is scheduled to zip line over the Rio Colorado flowing through the resort. Fifteen of us who are zip lining step into the harnesses down by the lodge. We begin the short walk up the hill to the first line. At the top, one of the most adventurous kids, Nathaniel, volunteers to go first. A few more immediately follow him over the rocky gorge. Eventually Forrest, my brother, goes down. This leaves me next in line. One of the workers helps me get clipped onto the zip line. I’m getting pretty nervous, even though we are going directly over a river, the Rio Colorado is not that deep or wide. The worker waits for Forrest to get far enough down the line, then pushes me off.
As I fly down the metal cable, all my worries of falling seem to melt away. I soar over the canyon. I look beneath me at the rocky river below, then I raise my vision to the dark green, leafy trees just ahead growing out of the sides of the canyon. This first line is among the shorter ones, so I have to break using my leather glove before the line ends, but there are still seven more uncompleted lines. The group waits for everyone to finish zipping and we make the short jaunt over to the next line. I zip down second because I’m standing near the front.
Most lines are similar to the first. On a few we see kayaks in the river below. Simply looking down makes me see how high up I am. Seeing other people in the river gives some perspective. It’s truly amazing. Then, I see the sixth line.
This line is absolutely enormous! For a little bit of reference, all of the other lines are 200 to 450 feet, but the sixth line is an incredible 900 feet. Both ends are right next to the canyon’s fertile cliffs, so almost all of the line runs over the gorge, and you are going pretty far down the river just on this one line. Compared to this, I was not intimidated by the first line at all. Once again, I walk over to the line and get clipped on near the front of the group. The person in front of me finishes their ride and I begin mine. This is by far the best line. There is such a long amount of time to look down at all the trees, rocks, and kayakers beneath you. Looking up ahead, the lunch and breakfast area is visible and empty. On the other side you can see the same type of cliffs, but it appears to be a sheer wall of rock. Everything you can see is beautiful, and you just want to look at it forever.
Not too much later, we all land at the bottom of the sixth line. This line ends at the dining hall where people can get drinks before continuing onto the final two lines. The seventh line is fun but normal. However, the eighth is a completely different story. The line is not much different from the rest, it’s how you get there. A giant structure is attached to two trees. A staircase leads up to a platform around one tree, and the wobbliest bridge I’ve ever had to walk across leads you to the other tree. The bridge can probably only support a few people at a time, and there are thin wires on either side, which don’t feel safe or prevent anyone from falling off of it. Not to mention how thin the wooden steps are across the bridge. Eventually I make it to the platform on the second tree where you zip from. Everyone finishes all the lines successfully and we all return our zipping gear.
We only had about an hour break before our next activity of tubing down the Rio Colorado. That day was easily the best one in Costa Rica. Time just seemed to stop for a while as we enjoyed our final day at the resort.