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Adventurists find new venue in The Gorge zip line

Staff members enjoying their first ride through The Gorge Zip Line Canopy Tour, during their weeklong training. See more photos at www.tryondailybulletin.com. (photos by Mark Schmerling)

Staff members enjoying their first ride through The Gorge Zip Line Canopy Tour, during their weeklong training. See more photos at www.tryondailybulletin.com. (photos by Mark Schmerling)

Opening Saturday, May 18

From a hilltop on the outskirts of Saluda, the terrain drops 1,100 feet through lush forest, into the depths of the Green River Gorge.

The elevation drop follows along a mile and a quarter, as participants glide through the forest canopy. It has also been the talk of the area for months.

“It” is The Gorge Zip Line Canopy Tour, which opens this Saturday, May 18, just outside Saluda.

“The Gorge,” owned and operated by Tim and Sara Bell, is a sister business of the Bells’ Green River Adventures, which has provided whitewater and hiking-related adventures in the wild, rugged and beautiful 14,000-acre Green River Game Lands since early 2007.

The zip line canopy tour features 11 zip lines over a distance of some 6,500 feet, as it takes participants from platform to platform through the treetops. Distances between these platforms, high above the forest floor, run from about 500 to 1,000 feet.

While adventure and excitement abound on each tour, the Bells, in conjunction with the course designers, have incorporated strict safety measures to both protect participants and allow them to relax and have fun through their three-hour journey. The Gorge features hands-free braking, safety harnesses, professional-use carabiners, rugged steel cables and a trained staff.  With the hands-free braking, “we’re eliminating hand injuries, that are common in the industry,” said Sara Bell.