Ecotourism in Asheville, Day 2: High Adventure

| 6/17/2014 2:41:00 PM

If Day 1 on my ecotrip to Asheville, North Carolina, offered an immersion into the culture and natural beauty of this bustling and progressive town, Day 2 -- captured in this blog -- is about the eco-high adventures to be had, both in the trees on a zipline and when hiking to the Catawba Waterfalls.

Like my previous Asheville blog, I discovered, along with my wife and co-author, Lisa Kivirist, some distinctive farm-to-table dining diversions in a city resplendent with options.  While staying at the LEED Silver-certified Hilton Asheville at Biltmore Park, we could take a dip in a pool heated by the sun or plug in an electric car.

Talking for the Trees:  Soar Above Treetops on a Zipline

Navitat Zipline

“Taco okay, burrito -- no bueno,” explains Kevin Thompson, explaining how we’re to hold our hands over the cable to slow, and eventually, stop ourselves as we coast from tree stand to tree stand, high above the forest floor, on a zipline.  A spectator activity, ziplining is not.

As one of our two guides with Navitat Canopy Adventures, Kevin is there to help our group of six thrill seekers and nature lovers feel what its like to experience a forest peering down, like a flying squirrel. Unlike the squirrel, however, our harness is securely tethered through a series of clasps, lanyard and carabiners to two steel cables stretched between platforms up in trees.

As an emersion into nature, our three and half hour journey zigzagged through the forest canopy and floor, hopping from wooden platform to platform, each with a name, like Peace or Flying Squirrel. We were “one with the forest” like never before.  Between zips, Kevin talked for the trees, sharing the American chestnut story. He also pointed out medicinal plants used by the Cherokee people and reminded us that by the end of our adventure we’d be “landing on the platform like a falcon.”  Turns out, he was right.

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