By: Krisandra Provencher
“Break strongly at the end,” is the last thing I hear before my body is pushed off the platform and I’m hurtling through the air attached to a thick metal cable. As I zip quickly over the jungle, the wind brushes against my rosy, adrenaline-filled cheeks and my eyes wander over the massive trees alongside me. They rise from the swirl of green below me and stretch their mossy, vine-covered branches up into the clouds above me. I can faintly hear a choir of birds tweeting a pleasant melody and the laughter of my friends as they themselves fly through the cloudy canopy. Before I’m ready for it to be over, I’m pulling down on the cable to break and planting my feet on the next platform.
One of the parks many staff, clad in olive green cargo pants and a black t-shirt, unclips the many metal pieces keeping me suspended in the air and then points out a brightly colored toucan in the branches above us. I watch in fascination as it hops from branch to branch, occasionally letting out a chirp at his companions in other trees. But, then a sharp scream breaks through the previously-calm air causing the bird to take off in fear and me to jump in confusion and alarm.
I search for the cause of the panic and suddenly see an extremely buff man soaring through the misty air below me before quickly rising up towards the tree tops. I process what’s happening as feelings of excitement and fear mix in my stomach forming butterflies. It’s the Tarzan Swing, a giant rope suspended from a metal bar hung across a pocket of open space in the cloud forest canopy. You get attached to the rope at the waist and then swing off of a high platform. It resembles a giant tire swing. I continue to watch in amazement as the grown man continues to shriek like a little girl and make my way to the back of the line.
Over the next twenty minutes I watch as person after person plummets from the platform screaming for their life, swearing terribly or in complete silence. The butterflies in my stomach gradually morph into a cacophony of raptors flapping their wings in rapid succession as I get closer to the front of the line. Soon the person in front of me is being shoved off and a giant guttural sound expels from them as they zoom down and then back up through the air. The staff man turns and motions for me to come closer. It’s my turn. He casually straps me in, giving a tug on my carabiner for good measure. He then looks at me and nods. Without thinking I nod back. He tells me to sit down in the harness and then with a final look at my friends still waiting in line, he gives me a push.
I fall face-first off the platform. All I can see is a blur of green and a weak “woah” escapes from my throat as my stomach drops and the raptors from earlier struggle to explode from my body. With a sudden jerk my body begins to soar upwards and soon I’m looking at the mountains in the distance, their peaks covered with clouds and the sun beginning to set behind them forming new colors in the sky. As I fly higher, I stretch my hand out, certain I can touch the leaves on the trees before my body wooshes back the way that I came. I let out a small giggle which quickly grows into uncontrollable laughter as my body whips through the air. I’m free, suspended in the jungle like a monkey swinging from branch to branch, and all I can do is laugh.