A day spent in the trees near Barnardsville

Published 3:35 pm Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Rob McComas’ wife, Amanda McComas, rapelling down from a platform. (photo by Rob McComas)

Does traveling at speeds of 40 plus mph at heights of 200 ft. off the ground sound appealing or frightful? If appealing is your answer then a trip to Navitat Canopy Adventures needs to be in your future.
When I first heard of this I knew this was right up my alley. I actually love heights, and mountains, so combine the two with a little speed added in and you’ve got a fun day in the woods.
Zip lines, as the outdoor activity is most commonly known by, is growing steadily in our area. It seems new ones are starting every year. The Navitat canopy adventures are the “bomb,” and rated as one of the best in the nation.
Zip lining is basically being suspended from a cable by a harness and traveling from tree to tree, or ridge top to ridge top via pulleys that are attached to your harness.
Safety is at a premium. The cables my wife Amanda and I traveled on were rated to 14,000 pounds, and there are two of them on each run, so you are being held up by cables rated at 28,000 pounds. You have two safety harnesses, and at least one and most of the time both are attached to a safety line at all times. You also have two pulleys that are holding you up, a helmet, heavy gloves, and two very knowledgeable guides on each trip.
The Navitat trips are more of an experience. You start out with a lengthy ride via ATV’s up a steep incline. There you start the first of 10 runs.
The course was thought out with great detail, involving platforms over 50 ft. tall built in some giant hardwoods. There are short runs to get the feel of it all, fast runs to get a sense of speed. My favorite was a run of 1,100 ft. from one side of the gap to the other at a height of 200 ft. They also have two areas you rapell down from the platforms above, and two suspended sky bridges.
A lot of care was taken to be minimally invasive to the land. They were very creative in using what trees had to be cut as part of the course.
The guides are very knowledgeable of the area’s greenery, history and  knowledgeable at zip lining. The guides we had for the day were very courteous and made triple sure of safety at all times.
If a 6 ft. step ladder gives you the shakes, I’d probably find another way to spend the day. But if you can “tolerate” heights or enjoy them give Navitat a try. Navitat is located near Barnardsville north of Asheville. For more info go to www.navitat.com

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