Explore Brown County Zip Lining in Indiana
A Great Outdoors Adventure
When I was growing up, I lived just outside the booming metropolis of Story, Indiana, home to the Story Store, and next too the Brown County State Park. The Brown County State Park was sort of like a giant playground, of which we took advantage of, over and over again.
Boys will be Boys
One of the games we liked to play was 'rescue'. Now, you need to keep in mind, we were boys. And we were fans of Tarzan. As it happens, the Hills and Valleys of Brown County are covered with grape vines.
Not Wine Grapes
Though they did yield grapes in huge quantities, I wouldn't exactly say they were ideal for making wine. But, given that the typical vine was almost two inches thick, they would, generally speaking, support at least one person easily, two people if you needed them too.
Invention of the Rescue Game
Long before anyone ever thought about Ziplines, our intrepid little band of friends and neighbors had come with a much more adventurous game. It was actually very simple. One person would use one of the grape vines we had cut, which was suspended from tree canopy. to swing out and grab a tree in the middle of the valley. This was about 100 feet up (give or take), and would release the grape vine.
Now the rescuer would have to grab hold of the now freely swinging grape vine, and get a running start, and swing out and grab the person who was now in need in of rescuing, and hanging on to the tree.
Fun Until the Vine Broke
While you needed very good athletic skill levels to actually do this little maneuver, unlike commercial zip lines, operated by the likes of xPlore Brown County, located on Valley Branch Road, whose zip lines I assume will hold many times your weight and will not fail, wild grape vines come with no such guarantee.
Houston, We Have a Problem
Our rescue adventure came to an abrupt end when a rescue er 'failed', due to an equipment malfunction, i.e., the vine broke. As a result, one of my rescuees, who shall remain nameless, let go, and I remember he fell straight into a pile of old trees. Broke a leg. This was before the time of iPhone cameras, so I was unable to capture the look on his face as he fell. But you can get an idea from a certain Die Hard movie scene.
Rappelling Down a Cliff
You would think that having your grape vine break and dropping a rescue victim would convince you stop doing stupid things. You would be wrong. You see, Hills, even small Hoosier Hills, have rock cliffs here and there, one of which was across the valley from our house. It served as both a tower rappelling training ground and a hang gliding test launch pad.
Mountain Biking is Always More Fun Without Proper Equipment
Today's mountain bikes are high-tech, expensive pieces of equipment, often worn with even more expensive protective clothing. When I was young, any bike, regardless of source or condition, was likely to get repurposed as a mountain bike. But we just called it a bike, and rode it until it broke, and fixed again.
Jumping Ramps Break Bikes
Brown county is a place for year round fun, and often, that fun involved building a ramp of some sort or another to use with a bike. We tended to build ours in the creek, on solid, if slippery rock.
Skill Level - Awesome!
Bikes not built for jumping, tend to collapse when used to jump with, especially if you an adult. While we were still young, we had a cousin who was sort of the instigator of some of our little mis-adventures. He had an old jalopy of a bike which used to demonstrate the proper way to jump a ramp. As he was a legend in his own mind, his awesome skill level at jumping should have prevented him from doing what came next.
I know - Use the Other Cliff to Go Even Faster
You see, we had did the jump on our little 20" bikes in the bottom of the creek enough times to get bored, and thus, induce a need for someone to show-off. That would be my late cousin, Danny. He always had an idea..Idle hands.
Sledding Hill - Of Course That Will Work
In order to go much, much higher, one needs to go much, much faster. As it happens, the slope around for sledding was behind his mother's house, and had no trees, or at least, not many. So we got the bright idea of moving the ramp from the creek to the bottom of the slope, aimed at the creek.
Dry Run You Say. Ha!
While it would have probably made sense to do a dry run down the slope before using the ramp, what's the fun in that. So up he went, in fact, all the way to the top, where the wood line starts. He hopped on and let er roll.
Got Some Good Hang-Time on That Run
He definitely got some good speed up going down that slope. In fact, way more than expected🔥. I am guessing he was at about 40 MPH when he hit the ramp. Fortunately, depending upon your point of view, it didn't collapse when he hit it. It held. And he was airborne. On an old beater, 26" single speed street bike. It was a good flight. Nice hang time.
Landings Can Be Tough
While the ramp held and the hang time on the jump was spectacular, what goes up, must come down, as he did. The bike, of course, collapsed. He hit the ground. I went home.
Live For Another Day
While both he and I and my brother survived that little adventure, there were many more. Someday, I will tell you about playing Tom Sawyer in the flood waters on a homemade raft. Afterall, if you can rope some inner-tubes to an old piece of plywood and use a stick to float down some roaring flood waters, and survive, surely it was a worthwhile learning experience...