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Why fly when you can zoar? This Groupon for a canopy tour with Zoar Outdoor turns you into a twenty-first century Tarzan skimming the treetops for just $50—that's 41% off the usual $85 price. For three hours you'll glide on a zip-line through the verdant foliage of the northern Berkshires and feel the rush of the wind above the Deerfield River Valley. The two-hour drive from Boston is more than worth it for this one-of-a-kind experience.
Don't be surprised if you can't go back to civilization after the wild adventure of the zip-line. Stepping off a platform into the air and flying down a mountain is unforgettable. Traveling by zip, you'd leave that vine-grappler Tarzan in the dust. A zip-line is a pulley suspended on a cable mounted on an incline, so depending on your body weight, length of the zip, and the slope, you could barrel along at 30 to 55 mph. Or hit the breaks and take a leisurely topiary drift 50 feet above the ground. The tour includes nine zip-lines, three rappels, and two skybridges. You've never seen a forest this way before. But if your keen intellect and quick wit need more stimulation than leaves and branches, you'll find it in the sage wisdom of a Zoar Outdoor guide explaining the environment you're zipping through.
The zip-line was invented to transport people and supplies across canyons and became a popular way to tour the jungles of Central and South America. Zipping took off in the past 10 years in the United States and became a hit for summers at ski resorts in the West. Deerfield Valley Canopy Tours, located two hours outside Boston in Charlemont, is one of the few tours in New England. Deerfield Valley Canopy Tours' zip-line course was designed and built by an Association for Challenge Course Technology certified vendor. Double-cable construction provides an extra margin of safety, and they inspect the course and equipment daily, so once you're zipping you don't have to worry about a taking a plunge (again).
The New Haven Register wrote, "To fear heights is human. To zip is divine." The gushing continues:
- Despite the fact that you’re safely tethered to the cable not once, but twice, there’s still something unsettling about stepping out of a treetop into thin air. But then you do it and it’s ... COOL ... BEYOND ... WORDS. First of all, it’s fast. You’re absolutely hurtling along. Also, the friction of the metal wheel spinning along the metal cables makes a sound like a jet engine coming in for a landing. And about that landing. You know how you feel when you’re at the end of a roller-coaster ride and the coaster suddenly stops just at the right spot to finish the ride? That’s what this is like—except YOU’RE the roller coaster.
Those who follow Deerfield River westward from the Catamount State Forest to the Mohawk Trail State Forest travel through the hilly terrain of historic Charlemont. There, in 1989, the Berkshire Mountains and other geographical spoils caught the eyes of Bruce Lessels and Karen Blom—a medaling member of the US whitewater team and a public health nutritionist looking to make the outdoors more accessible. They built Zoar Outdoor on the river, establishing an 80-acre facility to be a base for ziplining, rock climbing, camping, and solar-powered lodging. Today, a staff of adventurers keeps that base running. They not only sell an arsenal of outdoor gear and continue those establishing activities, but also lead whitewater rafting and kayaking trips down their home river, slicing through the waves and rearranging a slew of fishes' living rooms along the way.