The Little Corner of the Earth by Nina

I gripped the line that hung above me and attached onto the clasps on my harness below. My heart was racing at the speed of light.  I’m 50 feet off the ground, I thought. I looked ahead up into the lush green trees that surrounded us. They helped me up onto the ledge and said, “Whenever you’re ready.” I put one foot in the air, then two, and I was off. But let me start at the beginning.

It was my 3rd cruise. The first in which I wasn’t anywhere where the weather wasn’t 70 degrees or higher because this time I was on my way to Alaska. It had been amazing so far, being with my family and enjoying some relaxation time. One part of the ship was a big room that had buffets that served different kinds of cuisine. We ate most of our lunch and breakfast here. There was a place right by our rooms called The Neptune Lounge. It had many different snacks and drinks. My favorite thing from here were the chocolate covered strawberries. There was a basketball court on the very top of the ship that I spent some time on with my cousins. One night on the ship, we got to dress up and have a formal dinner in the gigantic dining room which was filled with passengers from all over the country, and when I was 10, dressing up sounded just as exciting as riding a roller coaster. The ship was beautiful, a little hard to find your way around, but still beautiful.

Come the third day on the ship, we finally started seeing land. For the past few days, the only view we’ve gotten out the window was the ocean and sky. It was nice to finally see some land. The little town of Juneau, Alaska was our first stop. It was a tiny little place where pine trees grew and the weather was cold all year round. I have to say it was my favorite town in Alaska (and British Colombia, Canada) out of the four cities that we stopped at.

When I woke up on fourth day of the cruise, the boat wasn’t moving. Are we here?, I thought. I got out of bed, opened the curtains that revealed a sliding glass door that lead out to our balcony. We were docked somewhere I’ve never seen. It was this little corner of the earth that I had never explored, but I was about to do so. I quickly got ready for the day, giddy to get off the boat. I gathered my family and expressed that I was excited by telling them over and over “Let’s go! Let’s go!” We waited in the line of people all waiting to do the same thing, explore Juneau. When we finally reached the end of the seemingly endless line, we stepped into the crisp cool morning air and I knew this would be a memorable experience.

On this specific cruise line, you got to pick excursions, which are things to do in the city you visit. My mom helped officiate the picking process for all of this. So, in Juneau my activity was zip lining, but I’ll get to that later. Two of my family members hiked a glacier and four other family members went on a boat to catch salmon.

Juneau was this little town with the sea on its left and a gigantic green, rocky mountain on its right. The mountain was so big, there was a tram going up the side of it with a small building at the top for viewing the city. Because I was so fascinated by this contraption at the time, I practically begged for someone to take me up with them. “C’mon! Please take me up!” I pleaded. This request was fulfilled by my grandpa and my older cousin. “We’ll take you!” they said gleefully. I can still remember how the city looked from a hundred feet in the air. It was a quaint little town with nothing too fancy. Maybe that’s why I liked it so much. It was almost like everything from the outside world was gone for a while because I was so distant from my home. Once we checked out the view up on the big lush mountain, we headed back down. It was almost time for zip ling, but not quite yet.

My family and I checked out this small crepe place, and by small I mean small, it was smaller than a minivan. They still served amazing crepes. After sightseeing a bit more and buying a souvenir, it was time to go. My mom, my brother, my two older cousins, and I got into the car sent to pick us up from the zip line place. The drive took a while, but I would later realize it was worth it.

When we got there, we were directed into a building to turn in the waivers. Once that was finished up, we were sent to a tent to put on our gear. They gave us some big orange jackets that were the color of a pumpkin. We also put on some clunky white helmets. Next, we got a harness that went on the bottom half of our bodies. These were what would keep us from falling to bottom of the forest. After our whole group got situated which included some of my family and some strangers, we got in a van and drove for a while, but stopped when we couldn’t drive anymore because the road became too steep for a plain old van. So we boarded another car, but it was no ordinary car you’d see on the highway. It could go up the side of a big hill, which is exactly what we did. As soon as we ventured on up further into the mountain, my adrenaline was pumping more and more each second. What I didn’t know is that in a few short minutes I was about to have the time of my life.

We had two guides. They each had brown short hair. One had a beard and the other had glasses. They were wearing orange shirts that provided the zip line company’s logo. When explaining the course and rules, they didn’t lecture us, they added humor to the important stuff, which I liked. They were extremely nice and were well experienced in the job, which was reassuring to someone, like me, who was about to put their life in these strangers’ hands. The way to get to the first zip line was a bridge. But there was one small thing that made this bridge different from any other. That is that it was made from wood and hung by ropes. We made our way across it. It was high up next to the trees and made you feel at one with nature. We were just a short way from the first zip line.

Just when I thought I couldn’t walk anymore, we were finally to the first zip line. The platform that we stood on was made out of wood. It had some small steps in the middle surrounding a huge tree trunk that shot up through the center of the platform. The trees were still taller than us, but we weren’t very far away from their tops. The sky was overcast and it looked like it was going to rain, but luckily it didn’t. When the guides were ready for us, people started going. First, were my two cousins and then my brother, then it was my turn. The guides clipped me onto the line. I gripped the line that hung above me and attached onto the clasps on my harness below. My heart was racing at the speed of light.  I’m 50 feet off the ground, I thought. I looked ahead up into the lush green trees that surrounded us. They helped me up onto the ledge, checked my harness, and then said, “Whenever you’re ready.”. I put one foot in the air, then two, and I was off. It felt like I was flying. I zoomed through the woods in about 10 seconds to the other platform, but to me it felt like I was up there for hours. And at that point, I knew I couldn’t wait to do more.

There were about 9 other zip lines all throughout the woods. They were connected too, as soon as you landed from a zip line, there was another one ready right in front of you. After I got that first one under my belt, the other ones were a breeze. I could start to add some more fun to it. I started laying down as I rode and laying on my stomach with my arms out, like Superman. Each time, I took in the beauty around me, wondering what kinds of animals live here and admiring the beautiful mountains. I kept riding and riding and each time I loved it more.

Then came the last one. I was informed that the length of the line was as long as a cruise ship. I got up on the ledge. Half excited because I knew this line would be fun, but half sad because it was the last one. Pushing any feelings aside, I put my knees up to my chest and held on. I still had the same feeling that I did, 9 zip lines ago. It never went away. Neither did my love for zip lining, even to this day.


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