"The moment you doubt whether you can fly, you cease for ever to be able to do it."
― J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan
But at Experience ADK Outdoors I started to remember how.
Wake up, get ready, go to work, come home, check your email, finish that project, check the kid's homework, check your work email, check your personal email, go to bed at what passes for a very unreasonable hour - sound familiar? How easy it is to get lost in adulthood, and it happens almost immediately, doesn't it? One day you are footloose and fancy-free and the next you find your first gray hair, only to be completely caught off guard when your hair - and life in general, really - turns entirely into shades of monochrome, seemingly overnight.
Well, if time must fly, then so shall I and less than 10 minutes from the town of Lake Placid I found our very own Never-Neverland; Experience ADK Outdoors.
For as long as I've lived in the Adirondacks, I've wondered why there has been no zip-line. I mean, the Adirondacks is all about the adventure experience, right? So when it was announced that zip-lining had come to Lake Placid I knew I had to at least try to give it a shot.
Here's where it is important to know something about me. I am afraid of falling. Heights, that's okay. I can go to the top of a mountain, look out the window of a plane, scale the tallest building - but I am terrified of falling even the shortest heights and I have been ever since my father and I went out over the ocean in Daytona Beach Pier's gondola skylift and he thought it would be hysterical to shake it. I'm sure it was - for him - never mind the debilitating fear I now have of falling 30 years later - falling off a ladder, down the stairs, out of my chair, down the side of the Grand Canyon as though I were going to magically transport through the guard rails - you get the idea. I'm a scardy-cat. And I'm trying to change that. For a little added encouragement I called the person I always call when I need a little confidence.
Pro Tip: Don't call my dad if you ever want a little confidence boost when it comes to heights. Construction workers who worked 65 story scaffolds in Manhattan cannot understand your fear and will only ask you why you're making such a big deal out of nothing. After all, you've a harness. And they often got into fights at the top of those scaffolds and ate lunch with their legs dangling off. And they didn't even wear their harnesses attached. Ah, sure they only get in the way; just put it on so it looks like they're wearing it, after all, 65 stories, no one can see if they are buckled in. Wait, are you having a pint with lunch? What are you worried about? I once saw a man walk straight off...
Wait. Sorry. What? What was I doing? Where was I? Oh, right, lost myself for a moment -
The guides at Experience ADK Outdoors are marvelous. Over the course of my career, I've been fortunate enough to experience the very highest levels of hospitality and the sense of genuine warmth, excitement, and enthusiasm I received from the very first phone call with Experience ADK Outdoors was on par with what I've experienced in some of the world's most exclusive resorts. The sense of the enthusiastic welcome at my arrival is what the spirit of natural hospitality is about; I felt that I was being invited into their home and that my guides were genuinely looking forward to spending a few hours with me as I was with them.
Experience ADK Outdoors guides are experienced professionals. Whether you are an experienced zip-liner looking for a breathtaking adventure or you are more like me an utter wimp in need of a little encouragement, your guides are equal parts cheerleaders and thrill-seekers and while they naturally preferred to kick it up for their own crossings, for me they were a study in patience and non-judgemental encouragement, calmly talking me through a particularly nerve-wracking portion course or taking my mind off it entirely with practiced distraction. At some point, I forgot I was 40 feet in the air, or zipping through the air with liberated elation - my fears, if not conquered, boldly challenged with the kind assistance of my guides.
The two-hour course is beautifully built and speaks to a clear love of the Adirondack Experience. Between 12 platforms, each named in tribute to our mountain wilderness, are eight zip lines totaling 1200 feet, two suspension bridges, a cable traverse and a final free fall. When they say that it is "an experience you will harness for a lifetime" they couldn't have said it better. During my visit, I learned more about my own potential than I ever thought possible - all it took was "faith, and trust and pixie dust".
I can't wait to fly again.