Several months ago during the planning stages of our trip, my mom suggested, “Let’s go ziplining.” We all readily agreed, eager for the adventure and the challenge. Live big. Right?

On our last trip to the Big Island in 2000, my mom and I went horseback riding in Waimea and also biked 22 miles around the Kohala area. We loved both experiences, because of how connected we felt to the geography. I longed to horseback ride on this trip, but Katie was not of age, and I wanted to focus most of my activities on experiences I could have with my children so that I could see (and revel in) their little eyes lighting up at everything new—one of the deepest joys of being a mother. However, the ziplining opportunity was too appealing to resist, and Bill watched our kiddos at the hotel for most of the day while I went zipping through the Halawa forest area.

We took our zipline tour with the Kohala Zipline Canopy Tour, and I highly recommend the company for anyone thinking about ziplining on the Big Island. Our guides, Dave and Ashly (easy to remember since my brother and sister-in-law are named David and Ashley), were helpful, professional, knowledgeable about the history of the area, and had great senses of humor. The course featured several “whisper ziplines” and we could also control our speed. We also crossed suspension bridges and descended two rappels, one of which was at 30 feet. I loved every minute of it, soaring over streams and forest. Awesome.

All geared up!

To get to the forest, we first traveled by a large army type of truck first on paved and then on unpaved roads and through a macadamia nut grove. Just seeing the grove alone would have been enough—so beautiful! I loved our transportation, the feeling on open air and no seat belts, bumping over the land, the possibilities endless.

Ashly prepares my dad for flight


I go ziplining! We were up fairly high most of the time, 30 feet or more.

Suspension bridges—oh yeah! I discovered that the trick is to get into a groove with the bounce. There is a definite rhythm to it.

My brother, me, and my mom

The first rappel. Easy and fun!

Savoring the beauty of the forest. We also tried strawberry guavas and heard about the history of the area, part of which was King Kamehameha’s birthright.

More rappel

Wish I could do this several times a week! One of the parts I loved most was meeting our guides and getting to know a bit about them, pondering what their lives must be like. Dave, in particular, had an interesting story: from Wisconsin to New York, to twenty years in Los Angeles… and then one day on his way to Australia, he found himself in Hawaii and just…stayed. Now he helps to run the zipline tour. Makes a person wonder a little (and positively) about all the different directions our lives can take, or how easy and possible it would be to follow any sort of dream. Kind of neat.

My brother on the zipline

On the final zipline, we could see Maui in the distance. So beautiful.

My mom turned out to be a champ zipliner—who knew? She wondered about being afraid of heights, but she really found her thing with this sport. She landed precisely and accurately every single time. She was great!

Dad flies by

A double zipline before the final rappel. We had “unofficial” races. This line passed over the Kohala Ditch. Wahooooooo!

Go for it, Mom!

Exhilarating! LIVE BIG!