Active travel means many things to many people. Some like to leisurely stroll around a new destination while others search out more thrilling adventures. Well, today, we’re going to be catering to the latter group of adventure seekers. Guest contributor, Susan Guillory from The Unexplorer, is here to tell us about how she was talked into taking Maui ziplining adventure by her son while on a family trip. Now, that’s love!
The idea of careening down a wire through the jungle may sound terrifying. It did to me. But when my 13-year-old son requested to zipline on a recent trip to Maui (having asked for nothing else on the vacation), what could I do but oblige?
The thing is, it didn’t occur to me that if I took him ziplining, I’d have to do it as well!
My palms grew sweaty at the prospect of being so high off the ground, propelling forward. But since I pride myself on being pretend to be an intrepid travel blogger, I decided to take the challenge, as scary as it was.
And you know what? In the long run, it was actually pretty amazing.
Before We Zip, a Little WWII History
We chose NorthShore Zipline Co. for our experience. The interesting thing about this spot is that it’s on Camp Maui, which served as a strategic home base for the 4th Division Marines during World War II.
Our zipline guides, “Frodo” and “Symbol,” were full of information about the Marine presence in Hawaii, which dated back before it was even a state.
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It was hard to picture the lush land covered with 2,100 tents, ball fields, movie theaters, and a half-mile long airfield. There’s a long history to this place, which I won’t go into here. Visit for yourself to find out!
The Marines left behind a few vehicles on the property, which are placed near the entrance for ziplining guests to admire.
Suit Up! It’s Time to Zip
My son, Max, and I lucked out in being the only zipliners at our scheduled time, which gave us the opportunity to be a little more flexible in our tour of the seven ziplines on the property.
“We’ll go through everything twice,” said young Frodo, “the first time we’ll do it the ‘normal’ way, and the second time, the ‘NorthShore’ way.”
“Wait, what does that mean? What’s the NorthShore way?” I said, slightly panicking
His compatriot, Symbol, grinned at me wickedly. I was in for trouble, I was sure.
Max and I put on our safety harnesses and helmets. While the guides were young and carefree, they were very responsible about ensuring our safety. Symbol gave a demonstration on a zipline that was low to the ground to show us how it would work. He told us to never touch the line with our hands (“I don’t want to have to clean up body parts today.”) and showed us how we would go faster if we tucked our feet in underneath us.
This is Your Last Will and Testament
Finally, it was time to zip. Max, who had ziplined once before, went first. I was surprised at how fast the process went! Within a minute or two, he’d zoomed from one wood platform to another. That meant it was my turn.
Symbol gently nudged me off of the platform, and there I was, streaking across the sky. I began to laugh maniacally. This is what I was afraid of? This was fun!
With each line, I grew more relaxed. Frodo shared with me that he was actually afraid of heights. I asked why in the world he ended up working for a zipline company. He said his friend had gotten him the job, and besides, he said, “People who are afraid of heights are going to pay even more attention to safety checks. So I’m really good at my job.”
Point taken, and appreciated.
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By the way, it turned out that the “NorthShore” way involved shaking the line so that we bounced up and down like rubber balls, or else were instructed to lean backwards so that the earth became the sky. Silly guys.
Include Ziplining on Your Next Trip to Maui
If ziplining sounds daunting to you, let me clarify: it isn’t. It’s a thrilling way to see Maui’s upcountry from a unique vantage point, and you are 100% safe in your harness and helmet.
And if you do decide to visit NorthShore Zipline Co., stop in the quaint town Makawao for lunch and a little shopping before or after.
And tell Symbol and Frodo I sent you!
Inspired by this Maui ziplining adventure? Check out our Hawaii Travel Planning Resources to plan your next adventure-filled trip!
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