The dog days of summer may be upon us, but don’t let the heat and humidity stop you from enjoying the great outdoors here in the Valley. Looking for a low-key outing? Take a hike or a bike ride, or perhaps a sail on the Hudson. Need a little more excitement? How about tubing, rock climbing — or skydiving? No matter what thrill level you seek, these 10 invigorating excursions are guaranteed to get your heart racing
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Zippity Do Da (Zipline)
By Olivia J. Abel
Did you ever wonder how a monkey feels when he’s swinging methodically from branch to branch in the jungle? Maybe you should hop on a zipline. Of course, careening down a “zip” is a much smoother experience, but I was certainly reminded of our primate relatives as I zipped from treetop to treetop on a beautiful spring day at Hunter Mountain. (I did picture myself in a loincloth, but that’s a different story.) On a zipline tour, participants don a harness attached to a wheel that rides along a steel cable (which is most often strung between two trees). Although there are a few tips for slowing down and landing, otherwise there isn’t a lot of skill involved. You simply jump off and go — and let gravity do its thing. Speeds vary, depending upon your weight and the height and incline of the cable, but they can exceed 50 miles per hour.
And now at Hunter Mountain, the longest and highest zipline canopy tour in North America has just debuted. With more than five miles of ziplines, some of which are nearly 600 feet above the ground, you can come to appreciate the Catskills in a whole new way. The Top of the Mountain Tour ($119) — scheduled to open this fall — starts at the summit and features five ziplines; the longest is 3,500 feet. Participants will travel at up to 50 miles per hour and can ride side by side with (or race) a companion. The Mid Mountain Tour ($89) that I took is located deep in the forest (reminiscent of the ziplines you may have seen or read about in Costa Rica) and features a series of shorter, slower zips and other woodsy elements like swinging bridges. On this tour, your guides, who wait for you on little tree platforms, fill you in on different aspects of the local environment. Finally, right outside the main lodge is the Adventure Tower ($19 for two times). Four stories of climbing fun, it is basically an oversized jungle gym for grown-ups.
So zip away, my friends.
Catamount Adventure Park
Cable, wood, ropes course, zipline
Frost Valley YMCA High Adventure Ropes & Ziplines