Palmetto Parent August 2012 : Page 26

An outdoor adv Zip lines, canopy tours and lots of water sports come alive at the U.S. National Whitewater Center Story by Jennifer Weaver 8 Photos provided by Patrick Schneider Morgan Tolley of Columbia care-fully walked across the ropes 50 feet in the trees. She looked back at her sister, Stephanie, shouting words of encour-agement. Tolley and her family were celebrating Stephanie’s 17th birthday at U.S. National Whitewater Center in Charlotte. “My favorite thing so far is the zip line,” Tolley said. “It makes it all worth it. It is so much fun going through the trees and the jungle.” Located about 100 miles north of Columbia, the nonpro t U.S. Na-tional Whitewater Center, an outdoor adventure and environmental education center, is an easy day trip, but families may want more time to explore the many available activities. e Tolley family was especially excited about going rafting. “We can’t wait,” she said. e center’s man-made course o ers several options to accommodate both experienced and novice rafters. “Our course is great for rst-timers because we can control some of the elements that make a natural course dangerous and eliminate some of the unpredictability,” said Stephen Young-24 Palmetto Parent blade, a spokesperson for center. “You see a lot of juxtaposition of things geared toward rst-timers and more advance athletes. Our channel goes up to Class 4 rapids. ey are the same rapids Olympic hopefuls train on.” Visitors must be 8 years old to go rafting, Youngblade said. Other water sports include at-water kayaking and stand-up paddle boarding. Children must be 9 years old to participate in at-water kayaking and 12 years old for stand-up paddle boarding. e outdoor center also o ers a multitude of land activities. Ar-riving guests are hard-pressed to miss the 46-foot climbing wall. e wall has 40 di erent roped climbs to accommodate climbers of varying abilities. Visitors who enjoy a climbing challenge will also want to ex-perience the ropes courses. e courses range in di culty from the Adventure Course, a series of ropes and bridges, to the more di cult Canyon Crossing and Canyon Spur courses. In Climb 2 Zip, visitors climb a 32-foot cargo net and ride a zip line back down. On Canyon Spur and Canyon Cross-ing, participants move from platform to platform on a series of bridges and ropes at heights of up to 50 feet. At the end of Canyon Crossing, visitors return to base by zip line. e center also has a longer zip line 1,123 feet long and Mega Jump, where participants jump from a 46-foot platform and glide to the ground. “ e zip lines and M Jump are a mental cha blade said. Visitors must be at to climb the rock wall and 225 pounds for th Jump and ropes cours e surrounding tr more activities for visi miles of hiking trails a August 2012

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