We went ziplining for the first time the weekend before last. Neither of us had ever been before, so it was a fun new experience for both of us. From Belmopan we headed east toward Belize City for about 15 minutes on the nice paved Western Highway, and then turned off for another 20-minute ride along a pothole-ridden dirt road through the countryside. Basically everything off the main highways is a road through the countryside.

I’d been told that Mondays were a good day to go (we were off thanks to another wonderful Federal holiday) because the cruise ships aren’t in town. Well, they were wrong. We arrived at the Caves Branch Outpost where they specialize in ziplining and cave tubing with some horseback riding thrown in. You’ve probably heard me mention already that I’m a bit claustrophobic, so it’ll take me a while to get up the courage to go floating through caves. But either way, there were half a dozen tour buses in the parking lot, and the place was crawling with tourists.

We had planned on having lunch in their little restaurant, so we made our way to the second floor and approached the woman at the hostess’s podium. Apparently, when the ships are in they only serve food off the buffet instead of the menu, so we purchased two plates for $10 BZD each and helped ourselves to coleslaw, potato salad, pasta salad, beans and rice, fried plantains, hamburgers and chicken. Every table in the restaurant was full, so we sat at the bar and had a pina colada and a strawberry margarita while we waited for the place to thin out.

When we finished our meal, we paid for our ziplining adventure (and got the local rate of $45 BZD each…woo hoo!) and walked down the path to be fitted for our harness and helmets. We even got tape on our helmets that identified us as “Locals.”

There was a huge sign posted in the outdoor waiting area…it was more of a corral really…citing the many safety tips and regulations. And there were about 25 people still ahead of us. But the line went quickly, and pretty soon we were standing at the top of the first platform all clipped on and sporting our special leather gloves with the reinforced palm for braking (you pull down on the overhead cable).

Woo hooooooooooooo!

And then we were off! One quick jump and you’re sliding down the cable to the next platform. The first one was only about 20 or 30 feet off the ground. The highest one was 120, but it still didn’t seem that high because you were in the trees surrounded by branches and leaves. The most difficult part of the entire day for me was hiking up the hills in the high-80-degree heat and humidity to get to some of the other platforms. I can’t image doing that in the middle of summer when it’s near 100. That’s probably the only way you’d get me in the caves.

But it was great fun. The entire route took a little less than an hour. Afterward, we turned in our gear and then headed to one of the little Mennonite places on the other side of town for some very icy and not particularly creamy ice cream.

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