Ziplining at Mega Cavern in Louisville, Kentucky

Soaring UndergroundThe neatest thing about zipling in a cave is that jumping off the platform means soaring into almost total darkness. Kentucky’s Louisville Mega Cavern is the only place to have this experience.

The course in the 100-acre cavern (formerly a man-made limestone pit) consists of six zips and three suspended bridges. Many sections are dark, nippy – about 58° F – and humid. Some parts are illuminated with fuchsia, chartreuse, yellow and blue lights, giving the cave a dreamlike aura.

My previous zipline encounters were in the sunshine — over water, jungle canopies, forests and even ice. But soaring in an underground cavern is a different experience altogether, like going down a country road at night with only a small flashlight.

In Your Bucket Because…

  • You have ziplined above the ground and love it.
  • You want a new kind of adventure
  • Completing the course will give you bragging rights.
  • The whole family can do it.

Preparing for the Adventure

I put on my harness and check out the attached ropes and carabiners. My helmet has a headlamp with both a red and white light. The red light is so the cable guys can watch as I fly in the dark canyon. The white light helps to illuminate the platforms.

The first zip is short- a test to see if I can handle the equipment and the environment. All goes well. I am ready.

The Journey

Pschedelic colors surround me on the Cross Canyon Zip (photo courtesy of Louisville Mega Cavern)

Psychedelic colors surround me on the Cross Canyon Zip (photo courtesy of Louisville Mega Cavern)

With only a red headlight to see, I jump off the platform. There is a whooshing sound as I fly across the line entitled “Zipline to Hell.” It feels strange to go from darkness into a fuchsia-lit hole in this ginormous tunnel-like cave.

My group awaits their turns on the next platform. No one is the least bit frightened. I leap off the platform and soar on the third line, the “Cross Canyon Zip.” Below me is an underground canyon illuminated in psychedelic colors.

Suspended Bridges

The race to the end of the course. (Courtesy of Louisville Mega Cavern).

The race to the end of the course. (Courtesy of Louisville Mega Cavern).

We laugh and entertain ourselves between the zips and the bridges. With only my headlamp to light the way, I find that trekking the suspended bridges is a bit harrowing. I don’t look down, only straight ahead.

“Lake Canyon Zip” is 900 feet long. The guide says that zippers often reach speed of 30-40 mph on this line. I move so fast, it is difficult to catch a glimpse of the lake below.

The last bridge is a steep climb, quite wobbly and a bit scary. I want to kiss the 85-foot-high platform of the “Racing Zip,” when I finally reach it. With two lines, this zip is a race. I am slow to leave the platform and my opponent beats me by a mile. Flushed with adrenaline — not to mention the pride of having conquered my fear of that wobbly last climb — I find that losing doesn’t bother me in the least. Smiling, I leave the weirdly lit magical cave for the blinding bright sunshine of another world outside.

Practicalities

  • Closed-toe shoes are required.
  • Bring a jacket or sweatshirt. It gets pretty chilly underground.
  • Participants should arrive 45 minutes before the adventure begins.

Comments

  1. Sanne De Roos says

    Dear,

    I’m a enthusiastic ‘Sports and Movement’ student majoring in ‘Leisure Management’. I study at the Howest College in Bruges, Belgium and I’m currently in my sophomore year.
    Next year, I have to take part in an internship and I would love to do ropes courses. This would take place from around February 15th, 2015 until around May 17th, 2015.
    In light of my study background, I’m looking for an internship in the field of ‘Leisure’ and I was wondering if your organization might have something to offer me.

    I would love to hear back from you.

    Best regards,

    Sanne De Roos
    Howest
    Leisure Management
    +32 4 77 70 45 04

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    • says

      Hi Sanne,

      Sorry, I can’t help with an internship. I am a writer not company owner. I would suggest that you get in touch with different companies that do ropes. There is one in Dominica called Wacky Rollers that has a big rope course (www.wackyrollers.com) and one in St. Martin The Loterie Farm (www.loteriefarm.com) but I do not believe either does sponsored internships. Good luck.

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