Adaptive Zip-Lining at Orenda Springs

Like a lot of my peers in the disability community, I enjoy finding adaptive activities that are all-inclusive. Shortly after I was crowned Ms. Wheelchair NY in 2013, my family, friends, and I wanted to celebrate my new title and journey by doing something fun together. Having grown up in the country, I wanted to find an adaptive outdoor activity for us. I searched for an activity that all of us could take part in and came across adaptive zip-lining close to home. Orenda Springs is an organization in Marcellus, NY that provides different individual and group team-building activities such as ropes courses, adaptive zip-lining, horseback riding, skiing, yoga, and camping.

Jess zip-lining with her husband

My whole family was welcomed by the staff with open arms when we arrived. The ropes courses and adaptive zip-lining are located out in the woods, so most of my family walked out to the location and my husband and I were escorted by vehicle for easier access.

At your typical zip-lining location, there will be stairs to climb to get to the top of the line. What made this zip-lining the most adaptive was that there was a small deck at ground level that led out to the harnessed line.

Jess ready to zip-line

Since this is a team building organization, the majority of my family walked to the bottom of the hill so that when I got down there, they would be able to pull me back up as a group. While they made their way down the hill, my big tough brother-in-law (along with the staff) hooked me into the harness and brought me to the end of the deck. My brother-in-law lifted me and carefully let me go! I flew through the woods and it was the most freeing feeling I have ever had. My family pulled me back up to the top of the hill where the rest of them took turns trying out the zip-lining.

Jess on the zip-line with her husband

While we were there, we also did some group team-building ropes courses and trust falls. My husband climbed a tree and leapt out and caught my hands. We all took turns doing this while others climbed the ropes courses that hung between the other trees in the woods. The entire time we all laughed and had an amazing time. The staff was attentive and very helpful in listening to my needs while putting me in the harness and knowing how high I could go without issues. I highly recommend contacting Orenda Springs if you're looking for a work-, family-, or friend-based team-building outing.

My advice is to get out there and do your research if there is something that you want to do. For years after my accident I looked all over the place for adaptive zip-lining and everyone told me that there were stairs so I wouldn't be able to participate. Little did I know that only 15 minutes from my house was this amazing adaptive organization that didn't blink an eye when I asked to visit!

Jess zip-lining by the camera

Kudos to Orenda Springs Executive Director John Powers and his amazing staff!

About the Author

Jess and her husband

Jess is a very active young wheelchair user. She lives in upstate New York with her husband, four dogs, and cat. For the past five years she has worked at Monroe Wheelchair doing Marketing and Business Development and most recently became Education Coordinator, helping to provide continuing education for clinicians across New York state through Monroe Learning Network. Jess volunteers in the Child Life Department at her local children's hospital every week putting on fun and educational activities for the patients and their families. In her spare time, she loves to be outdoors enjoying campfires, cooking out, and trying new adventures like axe throwing and zip-lining!

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Date: 7/23/2019 12:00:00 AM

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