Category: Zip Lining


Fear Factor

I won’t deny that I come from a long line of decendents known for their intense fear of heights, which is probably why my family was surprised when I told them I would be working at Foxfire Mountain where tourists come from all over to fly high over the creeks and valleys.  Now I tend to be a little nervous around heights, especially when it’s around unsecured heights but I wouldn’t say that I’m terrified of heights.  However, I was a little hesitant my first time on the zip lines.  But after that first leap of faith, I was completely fine with being up hundreds of feet above the ground.  So when my parents decided to come for a visit, it was my goal to have them try it for themselves.

Even though my parents are deathly afraid of heights (more so than myself), it didn’t take much convincing.  This came as a huge surprise to me, because I remember as a child having to beg and plead with them to ride rollercoasters with me.  But I guess they wanted to see what all the fuss was about.  So they took the very scenic drive out to Foxfire Mountain.

When they first arrived at Foxfire, you could tell they were a little hesitant about the whole zip lining thing.  But after watching a couple of zip liners (most of which were eight year old children), they felt like they were ready to try it.  I guess the thought crossed their mine where if an eight year old could do it, why couldn’t they.  So after a few deep breaths of relaxation and a quick threat (made from me) to the guides taking them out, they were ready to try it for themselves.  They got suited up, watched a quick safety video, and very slowly and methodically crossed the swinging bridge.  Then came the hard part.  Taking the steps off of the platform and zipping across the very long and strenuous sixty foot line.

Since my parents were the last ones out of a group of ten, they had to watch everyone go before them.  And then they realize that there was no backing out.  They didn’t want to show any fear, and they were doing a decent job of it.  Well, at least my dad did.  My mom still looked pretty nervous.  And it was her turn to go.

She slowly inched her way to the end of the platform, and right when she was about to take off the guide yells, “Oh wait!  Don’t GO YET!!”.  A practical joke no doubt.  But my mom didn’t realize this.  And she screamed the entire way across that line.  My dad and I just laughed and laughed.  And since my dad was laughing, he was no longer worried about going across and did so quite easily.

They told me that the first line was definitely the hardest one.  But after that each line got easier and easier.  And before they knew it they were no longer afraid.  In fact, they said they felt comfortable up there.  They said they might even do it again.

So this is just another example of how people have managed to conquer their fear of heights and they were able to cross another fun exciting activity off of their bucket lists.

Quite the actors in this picture

Newbs: Part Siete

August 31, 2011

Today Marc Postlewaite, owner of Foxfire Mountain Adventures, spotted a strange and mysterious creature wandering around the property.  “At first I thought it might be a Smoky Mountain black bear,” says Mark.  “But then I saw the creature walking on his hind legs.  Almost like a human.  But he was much greater in size.  That’s when I realized it was the infamous Big Foot.”

At first customers laughed at the owner’s claim of a “Big Foot” like creature roaming the premises.  Then a few photographers caught a bit of evidence with their cameras.  “I couldn’t believe my eyes,” Autumn – a photographer at Foxfire – reported to this journalist.  “Not only was he on the zip lines.  But he was jumping off the platforms Superman style.  I couldn’t help but snap a few pictures of it.” 

And snap she did.  She captured not only pictures of him on the zip lines, but also driving around customers in a guided Safari tour around the mountain.  Below is a picture.  Hopefully this is enough proof to show the existence of Big Foot roaming throughout the Great Smoky Mountains. 

Okay.  If you couldn’t tell, the above article is completely fictional.  However, we do have a guide here whose nickname is Big Foot hence the article.  I haven’t had a chance to make him fill out a questionnaire so I thought I might try to be creative.  Jeremiah started guided about a month ago.  He originally was hired to help with maintenance but due to an unfortunate accident he was forced to stay home and heal up a broken ankle.  But when the doctor gave him the okay to come back to work, they had him start giving Safari tours and trained him as a zip line guide also. 

Newbs: Part Seis

Almost done.  I swear.  But before we reach that finish line it’s time to meet another guide.  Here at Foxfire Mountain, many members of the office staff perform in positions other than those they were originally hired for.  This next guide was originally hired as a photographer, but after a few short months the management realized that he could be an asset on the lines as well.  So without any further ado, meet Tim.

Tim is a very safety conscious guide.  He makes sure to tell each group the importance of walking up a platform and explains to them about how the guides hook them in and check the equipment before sending them across.  He also tells one of my favorite lines when pointing out the photographers to the groups.  I won’t tell you just in case you decide to come and zip line with us.  He is also able to think on his feet and change positions without hesitation.  For instance some days he would come in as a photographer only to be giving tours all day long.  Below is Tim’s questionnaire that he filled out. 

NAME:  Tim

NICKNAME:  Timbo Slice/Tim Shady

FAVORITE TRICK:  The Cyclone

PET PEEVE:  Non Tippers

GUIDE STORY:  Explicit Photography (I’ll let him tell that one)

 

Newbs: Part Cinco

Sometimes I feel as if Foxfire Mountain is like its own little mob.  Everyone seems to be related to at least one person here.  There are brothers and sisters working together.  Cousins working together.  Husband and wife.  Roommates.  Even in-laws are working together.  So it only makes sense that another family member would join the guide staff at Foxfire Mountain

Autumn started working in the Foxfire office way back in the Spring.  She then recruited her brother “Ranger Jake”.  And now they recruited their other brother Josh.  It’s almost as if they are conspiring to slowly take over Foxfire Mountain (which was my plan so stop it).  Josh may not be quite as crazy as his little brother, but when on tour together they are double the trouble.  They even made our activities manager Amy wish that when she starts a family, its full of girls.  So let’s see what “Ranger Josh” had to answer on his guide questionnaire.

NAME:  Josh R.

NICKNAME:  The Dude

BIRTHDAY:  January 6

PET PEEVE:  Carnies

FAVORITE TRICK:  Pinocchio

GUIDE STORY:  Cheating Death.  Again and Again…  Cause I’m awesome.

Brother High Five!!

Newbs: Part Cuatro

Taylor isn’t the only guide here that is recruiting for Foxfire Mountain.  We also have guides recruiting family members.  Since Josh is working more at the Fire Department, he recruited his cousin Jonathan.

Jonathan can be a little on the quiet side.  But get him around his cousin and he is a completely different person.  It’s almost like he is a mini version of Josh.  They even look alike sometimes.  It can be a little scary how similar they act sometimes. 

NAME:  Jonathan

NICKNAME:  Bub

BIRTHDAY:  February 28

PET PEEVE:  Democrats

FAVORITE TRICK:  360 Backflip McTwist

GUIDE STORY:  A sick girl came to zip line and passed out on the platform, so it was Bub to the rescue. 

Josh and Jonathan... Cousin Love

Newbs: Part Tres

And the guides keep coming coming.  Keep coming coming.  Keep coming coming and coming coming. 

Ok now that that is done, let’s move on to the next guide.  Ben.

After Taylor recruited his roommate Chris, it was on to his next prey.  Ben lives down the hall from the roommates, and I guess could be considered the Kramer to their Seinfield.  That may be a bad reference because Ben isn’t really anything like Kramer.  But he is pretty funny and easy-going.   He makes conversations with just about every person he gives a tour to.  And lately I’ve noticed he loves to play games.  Checkers.  Chinese Checkers.  Okay it’s mainly just checkers.  But ya catch my drift.  After working here a few weeks, I was finally able to pull him away from his intense checker matches to get him to answer a few questions.

NAME:  Ben

NICKNAME:  BP

BIRTHDAY:  April 12

HATES:  Obnoxious chewing

FAVORITE TRICK:  Superman dive

GUIDE STORY:  A child was a little nervous about zipping over the river, so his mom pushed him off the platform.  It was hilarious. 

Newbs: Part Dos

Another day, another guide.  Today meet Chris.

Chris was recruited by Taylor to be a guide at Foxfire Mountain.  How did Taylor decide that Chris would be a great guide here?  I’m sure the fact that the two are roommates have nothing to do with it.  It took me awhile to realize that they were roommates but when people came in talking about how great their guides where and calling them roommates, I was able to put two and two together.  Chris was a little quiet at first but not that he has had time to get use to the crazy personalities working here, he has started to come out of his shell and complete the guide questionnaire. 

NAME:  Chris

NICKNAME:  Airbag

BIRTHDAY:  April 24

GREATEST WEAKNESS:  Concussions

FAVORITE TRICK:  Eating peanuts

GUIDE STORY:  Walking and talking can be hard to do at the same time.  One time when I was crossing the bridge and talking to a guest, my foot slipped through the crack and I fell all the way up to my hip.

 

Newbs: Part Uno

Since we are once again in the middle of an epic battle of “Guide of the Month”, I figured it was only fair to make sure that everyone knew all the nominees.  There are a few newbies here at Foxfire Mountain that I haven’t been able to introduce yet.  So I’m going to take the next few blogs to  let you read all about them.  I know you must be dying with antici…

pation.  So without any further ado, here is Larry. 

Larry started working here in June and has high energy has made for some pretty entertaining tours.  Even if when taking out a nine o’clock tour, he is awake and alert and on his toes ready to crack jokes the whole way here.  Recently he got married to Samantha, who also happens to work at Foxfire Mountain as a photographer.  Below are his answers to the questionnaire I made all the guides fill out.

NAME:  Larry

NICKNAME:  Mr. Wonderful

BIRTHDAY:  September 6

WEAKNESS:  Vegetables

FAVORITE TRICK:  Double back handspring with a twist.

EPIC STORY:  The story of my life!!!

Larry has often been compared to Jacob from "Twilight"

 

All right.  So yesterday you read all about my clumsiness when it comes to giving high fives.  My ankle is getting better.  Now it only hurts when walking on rough terrain, walking up/down stairs, or running (we all know how much I love to run so I’m not too upset about that one).  Now its time to talk about the real injury.  My delicate elbow that I bend all the time to take beautiful pictures.  Okay, this may be a bit of an exaggeration. 

I was sitting in the office when the radio next to me starts going off.  The guide on the other end was calling for a photographer on the last line.  ASAP!!  So I grabbed the camera and quickly walked out the door.  Since my ankle sends shooting pains up my leg when I run, I quickly walked out the door and started heading to the last line.  A different guide was on his way out toward the tent.  He was taking back the little red wagon they use to carry helmets and trolleys back and forth.  But the wagon was now empty.  He saw me walking towards him and offered to give me a lift to the last line. 

Since I am a child at heart, I leaped into the wagon and let him drag me to the tent.  I was enjoying just sitting back a relaxing as a cool breeze ran through my hair (that’s a lie, it was extremely humid and no wind).  We got to the tent and he lifts the front tires of the wagon in order to get over the bump to enter the tent.  Unfortunately, I was sitting at the back of the wagon with my legs at the front.  So needless to say, the wagon was a little back heavy. 

Before I knew it, that wagon was falling over and I slammed into the ground.  Yet another embarrassing accident to happen to me.  And in such a short amount of time.  I laid their awhile with my feet in the air just laughing at how stupid I must look.  The guide who was pulling me also was dying with laughter.  He couldn’t believe what had just happened.  When I was finally able to get up, I punched him in the stomach and he doubled over in pain.  Okay that was another exaggeration.  I don’t think he even noticed me punching him because he was too busy laughing at me. 

It wasn’t until later when I noticed the pain in my elbow.  I looked down at it and what do you think I see?  This enormous bump with torn skin.  It was pretty disgusting and since I am squeamish (hence me being a photographer and not a doctor), I immediately looked away.  Now, I know you are finding this extremely interesting so let me get to the point.  If an accident prone person like myself can manage to zip line numerous times without getting hurt, than anyone can do it.  So come on out to Foxfire Mountain and see me make a fool of myself while on the ground. 

My DISGUSTING Elbow

 

There aren’t too many accidents that happen here at Foxfire Mountain.  Let’s face it, safety is our number one priority.  But nobody’s perfect and sometimes minor accidents do happen.  Most of them are caused/happen to me. It’s almost as if I’m accident prone (I prefer the term clumsy but that’s just me). But I had two happen recently back to back.

The first situation, I like to blame on kharma.  Since some of the guys find amusement in making my life more difficult with their sarcastic comments, I tend to fight back with even more teasing (plus picture-taking).  One guide who shall remain nameless loves to comment about my size and in fact will pick me up, throw me over his shoulder, and lock me out of the office.  So I decided to just make fun of him the whole day.  If he said something wrong, I would make a comment.  If his flip wasn’t done properly, I would show the video to everyone in the office (and make more comments).

Well, I was taking pictures of the group he was taking out.  He decided to try to impress his current group by showing how he could give me a high-five.  Now let’s face.  I’m not a tall person.  I’m not even an average height person.  So to be able to give me a high-five is pretty impressive and can only be done if I jump as high as I can.  I raised my arms up high to demonstrate how unlikely it would be for him to give me a high-five and stood on top of an old stump to give me a few more inches.  “Be careful you don’t hit me with both hands,” he told me.  “I might knock you over”.

“Psshhh.  There’s no way you can knock me over,” I responded.  I had given high fives plenty of times before and have never encountered an issue with getting knocked over.

The guide took off the platform, flipped upside down, and extended his arms toward me.  I timed him up and jumped as high as I could.  Our hands collided into an exploding high-five (okay it might not have been that epic).  It was forceful enough to knock me back just a few inches.  I landed on the stump.  Well, half landed on the stump.  And since just one foot landed on the stump the other was suspended in the air.  It caught me by surprised and made me roll my ankle.  Thus falling off the stump that is only a few inches high and landing on my butt in a very unladylike way.  Plus, I let out a squeak like a little girl.

My ankle was throbbing, but I managed to stand up and brush the dirt off my backside.  I starting laughing, letting the group above me know I was alright and it was okay for them to laugh at me also.  I think it might have helped a few of the people get over their fear of heights long enough to zip down the line (at least that is what I am going to tell myself to feel better about it).

This story has been dragged out far too long.  So, if you would like to hear/read about my other mishap then make sure to check out the blog tomorrow.

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