Read this in: German
Most of my Ziplining conversations started when I first had to explain what that was all about. Actually, I would have thought that this outdoor sports trend is as well known as bouldering or high ropes courses. But most of my friends could not make room for it. So I explained it this way: Most of us know these ropeways on the playground. Everyone can do something with it. Now imagine it a bit higher, a little faster and a bit farther ahead than the popular playground equipment. And at this point, the conversation is not over. No, she has just started. Because then of course there are more questions.
Fun for everyone
Once I’ve explained what ziplining is, comments like “I do not trust myself to do this.” Or: “Oh, that’s nothing for me!” You should not be afraid! No matter if old or young, big or small. Almost anyone can try it once. At the AB Little Rock Zipline near Växjö you can zipline up to a weight of 135 kg (including clothing). And even children can venture the adventure together with a guide if in doubt.
Of course, it also costs overcoming, I admit. But let’s start from the beginning!
The inner bastard and me
At the beginning, I doubted myself if I could do it this way. My personal first ziplining adventure started this April in Sweden as part of a blogger trip through Smaland. Of course I asked myself as a plussizemädel, if I really get this done. In the end, however, I came before the trip, after I had read into the topic and knew what was coming up with: “Well, you should sometimes test your own limits.”
It was like this as a kid: I’m a big fan of little adventures on vacation, and even trying out new things. Maybe I would let off steam there with country dishes, but since I live allergic vegan, that is not so good on the culinary path. Therefore, I do it through new places, new sports and just try new activities. Whether it be Standup Padeling, cross-country skiing in the Erzgebirge as a northern light or with vertigo in the high ropes course. I am of the opinion that I can say first that this or that thing is not for me, if I have tried it first.
The fight against fear
But back to the topic of ziplining, because that’s the point in this article. I am extremely grateful for this experience, because since then I have no fear of heights anymore. And maybe I can inspire you with my story a little bit. Many would say, “If you have vertigo, should not you do that?” But why not? Fears are natural and healthy. Imagine, if we had no respect for height and precipices or other things that we have to be careful about. Nevertheless, it is sometimes beneficial to overcome these fears for us.
Before leave, I did not really think much about what it means to do ziplining for the first time in your life. And that’s when I realized what I would do when we landed in Sweden. Previously, I had visited a friend in Berlin for a few days and already the arrival to the airport had been a little adventure. I had taken my tracks on time, but when I switched at a stop, an elderly lady collapsed on the track. I was hoping, “Please, please, tell someone now that he or she is a doctor and take care of the lady!” But no, no one went to the old woman and so I called the ambulance and provided first aid, until a paramedic arrived.
Then it went on at the airport, because at first I could not give up my luggage. An elderly lady had problems because she could not deliver her luggage and I tried to help her, which cost me another 20 minutes. Then, to make matters worse, I was late for boarding because I asked for Gate 64 and headed in the wrong direction. So I ran across the airport Berlin-Tempelhof, came just in time and got an Anschiss from the airport staff, who had washed. Well, great, I thought to myself, is nice, if I am already known to all bloggers of this trip as the one who comes too late.
In the home of IKEA
Arrived at the airport was once nothing with outdoor. Instead, we got to know the story of the small airport on the edge of Växjö. After some Fika, a kind of coffee drinking in Swedish, we went together with the boss Jonas to Little Rock Lake – Sweden Zipline. In the midst of deep forests, we drove for about an hour by car towards the north of Småland to the base camp of the ziplining facility. All Swedish expected us there Fika number 2, this time hearty.
In Sweden, where I have been several times in my childhood, it is always amazing how versatile the country is, even in a smaller Swedish state like Småland. We are close to the Kingdom of Crystal with its many glassblowers, not too far away is the sea. But in Småland you really do not need that, because there are many lakes here. In the student city Växjö there is a great cultural offer and a lot to discover. On the other side there is nature and there are hiking trails and outdoor activities for every level of difficulty.
Recognize your own limits
The first hurdle for me and my inner bastard was not in the ziplining, but on the day we arrived. What in our English language program was described as ” (…) a lighter walk in the stunning surroundings. The terrain is hilly.”, was then a bit hilier than expected. The hike became a problem only when I realized that it did not go on steeper terrain for me. While the others progressed reasonably well, I kept slumping in the not yet melted snow. No hiking boots helped.
So I suggested waiting there on the plane. I had just recovered from two injuries in quick succession at that time and therefore was always a little more cautious downhill anyway. For me it was a good experience to first recognize these fears of a renewed injury and to say once: “Okay, it does not make much sense, if I now come so far and thus just stop you.” Alternatively, our German-speaking guide Martin told me a lot about nature and the beginning of April would have been the perfect time to tap birch water, as spring just came with our visit to Sweden.
Silence and starry sky
The evening after our little hike brought a bit of excitement. After all, we had already visited the starting point, a tower at the base camp, and already felt some respect for driving over the huts tomorrow, where we are still sleeping tonight. It takes a bit of effort, but at the same time I also thought that I would do it now and would not back down.
So much time to ponder did not stay, because it was waiting for us a great vegan dinner with some non-vegan options from the lovely Elisabeth, who looked after us well. And in the evening, we even had the option of listening to the silence of the wilderness in a wood-heated pool.
A morning with obstacles
I slept surprisingly well the night. I was not worried about what it would feel like to be up there. Probably, because I can not imagine it. Amazingly enough, I am now quite tingling when I think back to this day. But fear and the healthy respect for the height were not present at this moment. It was a nice reunion with Sweden after a few years of abstinence. While I have often vacationed in Sweden, this annual tradition has been lost, especially during my studies. Those who study, do theater and even go tending can not even go on holiday in Sweden.
It was all the better that I woke up without warning first time this morning on time for the golden hour and could take some nice photos on the grounds of the base camp. It was also not so bad that when I got up early I realized that we had problems with the water supply this morning. So I was able to help a bit – as good as possible.
Somehow everything was going very fast this morning. Already the breakfast was eaten and I had the dishes for ziplining. This also means that the hair is hidden under a bandana, of course, there are also gloves and helmet. I opted for a SLR, but borrowed a noname action cam from a fellow filmmaker for the ziplining adventure. For the gloves I had found none that fit 100 percent – a mistake, as it turned out later. Therefore, my tip: if you choose gloves, then choose the ones that fit snugly.
The view into the depths
At the safety briefing everything was still good. Martin calmly explained to us on the ground how to attach to the zipline, how we brakes and what we should not do under any circumstances. At the same time, the remaining visitors to the tour who came up close received their instructions from a second guide in Swedish. As I climbed the first tower, a bit of panic spread. I had really thought in my head that this was not the right thing for me somehow. Should I back down now? My breathing became less violent, my knees were a bit soft. But no, I decided not to go downstairs again and plunge into the depths. With rope and double secured course.
The info said, “You do not have to be very fit.” But you should be able to climb the stairs a bit. That’s not that bad. A lethargic feeling spreads in the stomach, the pulse goes a little faster, but one is not afraid. Most of the fear spread to me when I had to wait at the top of the tower. I do not want to spoil you, but it got worse during the tour. Why, I will not tell you.
“Most people love to zipline but if you are very, very afraid of heights it is not a good idea.” Well, my fear is there, but it has never been so big. However, it was already overcoming. And so I drove first. I can only advise each one of you, because it’s not such a nice feeling to wait for your turn. If you wait at the next station, it is a much nicer feeling.
The step in the depth
The worst for me and a reason for slight panic on my part was not the Ziplinen itself. It was these small steps you had to go down while the guide was holding you to a carbine on your back and said “One more step … one more”. And there’s nothing down there. I admit, I was really scared and slightly panicked in the situation. After a little screaming then the whole thing was not so bad.
It was no different than the cable car in the playground. Only with more height and a better view. Who is really very anxious, maybe you can practice on the playground? In a game and sports park in my neighboring village there used to be a kind of cable car that ran a few meters over the park, but it worked automatically – much like a chairlift, but on one level. I think any kind of height like climbing, high ropes course or simply hiking in regions that are a bit steeper, can be a good preparation for this special experience.
50 meters above the ground
Of course I do not want to lie to you about my first time Ziplining. The first landing I did not do well. I braked too fast and stuck to the rope. The last few meters I had to be brought in by a pulley-like construction. But I did it. Our guide Martin was right. If you have survived the first line, then you want to do the rest.
I especially liked the third line of the kamikaze tour with a total of 8 lanes. There you could drive for two to the bet. If you fall in pairs, it is not so bad. If you do not feel like Kamikaze, you can also book a beginner’s tour or a medium-difficult tour and test your limits there before venturing out on the big Kamikaze tour.
The magic of the woods
A bit of walking is also part of this tour – in addition to the many steps, there is also after the third zipline a small route to a camp in the middle of the forest with a large tent and space for cooking together. Almost bewitched amidst the rocky hills and conifers, it seems like a troll lurking around every corner. These rough and somewhat unfamiliar landscapes for the north German lowland community were once those in which I dreamed myself summer after summer into other worlds.
Make the meatball
But there was no time to let your thoughts wander. Also, if you had to wait again and again on the towers, but you were always mindful. Basically, I get annoyed in hindsight that I could not completely let go and enjoy the magnificent views during the ziplining rides. Too much I paid attention not to brake too early or too late, not to turn and always nice to do the köttbullar. The Swedish guide, who spoke English with us, always reminds us that this is important in ziplining. Köttbullar, that is, making the meatball, really makes sense. Just make it small and round, put on arms and legs to reduce air resistance. Because in case of doubt you have to work with the poor, if you can not make it to the other side or just let yourself be helped.
And then everything changed
At line number 6, my fate was finally sealed for this tour. Ziplining – I came, saw and failed a bit. But on the other hand, I dare. The sixth stop of our tour is the longest trip and especially here I was anxious to do the köttbullar and arrive safely on the other side. In retrospect, I would have made it to the other side. But would have, had … it came differently, to an unfortunate chain of circumstances.
I’ll try to explain how it works best: I was afraid to fall back to the middle of the longest zipline and wanted to hold on to the rope. I was already braking but still too fast. Here retaliated the glove, which was somehow a little loose and therefore bounced the car that held me in the rope, against my right hand. I did not feel pain, but of course I was startled and took both hands off the rope. That sounds rather stupid in hindsight, but I did not manage to hold on to it by hand and slipped back more and more. It did not strike me that the hand was hurting. Of course, I shouted a no. That was really the Ziplining Super GAU.
20 meters above the rushing brook
There I was hanging, practically in the middle of the zipline. Below me was a cheerful bubbling brook and all that was missing was a moose peeking in, turning his eyes and thinking, “What a beginner! Even I can do that better . ” That was when I could start enjoying the whole thing. I put my gloves back on and started slowly fiddling with the rope at my pace. Well, the stupidest thing happened to me that could happen. And nothing had happened. I was sure and of course it was stupid for the other people who still wanted to Ziplinen after me, that I had to first on the other side. But what has to be done, has to be done. And so began the odyssey of Bettina on the Swedish rope.
An unexpected rescue operation
While I was slowly pulling my hands toward the end of the rope, Michael was already preparing a cable for me and came to meet me. With every meter I noticed more that my right hand was probably not only with the horror of it. I became calmer again and slowly a pain spread. In addition, I had a little sympathy for poor Michael, who pulled me from the ground over steep terrain now towards the next station. The whole thing lasted. I can tell you: always try to arrive on the other side and not brake too fast. Because after 10 minutes hanging in the ropes, it is still, but gradually it is already more unpleasant. At some point I realized that I could not do any more and gave our guide the answer, which picked me up the last piece.
A new experience as a bonus
As my hand was slightly injured and swollen, Guide Michael immediately got some snow left for cooling. Practical, when in the spring of spring in Ziplining a lot of first aid care directly in nature. Since we did not know what was with my hand (it was a bruise, that’s all), I was not allowed to go on. That was a pity, because just because of this little accident I had completely overcome my fear. But on the other hand, I could understand that the hurting hand and the uncertainty of whether something is sprained or broken does not pose a security risk. Because for Ziplinen you should be able to use both hands well – to brake and hold on.
So Peter picked me up with the quad and my fellow bloggers were a bit jealous that I had even a little extra tour through the rather wild and adventurous terrain.
The zip lining adventure goes on
One may think that after this experience I say: Once and never again! But I have to disappoint you. My fighting spirit is awakened. Now all the more! And next time I’m not alone ’cause a lot of my friends and family are interested in joining the next outdoor adventure in Sweden. First, there was even the plan to organize a whole family reunion of my European relatives there in Sweden. Since this did not work out properly, we may travel with us, or perhaps without relatives to the north. In any case, my husband, who loves the mountains but has never been to Sweden, comes along. I can well imagine that he will love Ziplining. We were also recommended by Elisabeth and Peter, that especially in winter it can be great to venture the ziplining adventure amidst the snow-covered landscape. Then you can even see moose.
And another adventure I’m still interested, because Sweden Zipline also offers a tour to rock crystal sites. There is a very unique history in Norway … but I’ll tell you another time.