That's Lauderdale: Zip line tours come to Hilton Head

The evolution of flying through the trees with the greatest of ease

dlauderdale@islandpacket.comMarch 22, 2012 

Construction proceeds on a zip-line tour at Broad Creek Marina on Wednesday. Here, Brad Wilson of STEPS, Inc. of Ann Arbor, Mich., braces poles for the tour, on which people will ride through the tree canopy on the site, suspended from pulleys riding on inclined steel cables. ZipLine Hilton Head, part of Broad Creek Marina Adventures, is scheduled to open in early spring.

JAY KARR, THE ISLAND PACKET

I knew if we lived here long enough we would evolve into squirrels.

As hordes of squirrels run amok in, over, around and through our houses, we have been able to merely look on in amazement as they dart through a life of careless adventure high in the trees.

Now we, too, can be more squirrel-like through the miracle of the zip line.

ZipLine Hilton Head is to open April 15 at Broad Creek Marina. And Beaufort County is entertaining the idea of a privately run zip line in a county park in Okatie.

I've never experienced a zip line. They are called high-adventure tours through the canopies of trees, with suspended sky bridges and aerial staircases. They seek thrill-seekers, but they're also called educational and green eco-tourism.

Apparently, one gets securely strapped to a high wire and then flies through the woods with lovely views of the water.

I can't wait to try it.

Zip-lining might be the most daring thing on Hilton Head since children of the lighthouse keeper dropped chickens from an old lighthouse to see if they would fly. Except now, through modern technology, we can all fly.

And to think that residents of Sea Pines complained when founder Charles Fraser added those wacky bike paths.

That was a mere murmur compared to the bellow that erupted when Fraser rolled out plans for a -- gasp! -- water slide. Never mind that it was hidden so well in the woods off South Forest Beach Drive that an Eagle Scout couldn't find it. It jarred the sensibilities.

Why, people had moved to a quiet place, to be as quiet as one can be while hooking golf balls into glass houses.

The late Garry Moore, a prince of a man who graced us with his presence after retiring from television, wrote a letter to the editor that evolved into a humor column called "Mumble Mumble." It all started when he suggested on the Cocktail Circuit that the pool at the foot of the new water slide be a freshly stocked alligator pond.

To explain himself publicly, Moore wrote in 1978, "I propose to build an amusement device immediately adjoining the water slide. It will be called 'The Water Pump.' Here's how it will work.

"Tourists, having once been flushed down the water slide into the water slide pool, will be hydraulically swept through a flue into our Pump Pool. There, a large mechanical tornado will suck them up through a 40-foot coil, shooting them out through the top and landing them back at Myrtle Beach.

"(A few may be shot down as they fly over Parris Island, but easy come, easy go.)"

You can see how gracefully we have evolved.

Follow columnist David Lauderdale at twitter.com/ThatsLauderdale.

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  4. VIDEO: Zip-line tour comes to Hilton Head's Broad Creek Marina

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