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Photos: With new Seward outfit, zip lining soars across Alaska

Stoney Creek Canopy Adventures guide Justin Walker, in orange, helps Steve Gauck of Greenburg, Indiana into his harness before a zip line tour in Seward, Alaska on Thursday, July 3, 2014.
Loren Holmes / Alaska Dispatch News
Stoney Creek Canopy Adventures guide James Maes demonstrates safe zip line technique during ground school in Seward on Thursday, July 3, 2014.
Loren Holmes / Alaska Dispatch News
Stoney Creek Canopy Adventures, a new zip line operation in Seward, offers 8 zips, three aerial walkways and two rappels during a three-hour tour. July 3, 2014
Loren Holmes / Alaska Dispatch News
Stoney Creek Canopy Adventures guide Justin Walker, left, waits to receive a client on the first aerial platform of the zip line tour in Seward, Alaska on Thursday, July 3, 2014.
Loren Holmes / Alaska Dispatch News
The longest zip of the tour is 1,040 feet from tree to tree, whisking riders over a pond at nearly 40mph. July 3, 2014
Loren Holmes / Alaska Dispatch News
Anchorage resident Todd Obanion arrives on an aerial platform after a 1,040 foot long zip. July 3, 2014
Loren Holmes / Alaska Dispatch News
Stoney Creek Canopy Adventures guide James Maes is reflected in a pond during a zip in Seward on Thursday, July 3, 2014.
Loren Holmes / Alaska Dispatch News
Travis Gauck, 16, from Greenburg, Indiana zips through a dense forest at Stoney Creek Canopy Adventures in Seward on July 3, 2014.
Loren Holmes / Alaska Dispatch News
Dylan Gauck, 12, from Greenburg, Indiana rappels from a tree at Stoney Creek Canopy Adventures in Seward on July 3, 2014.
Loren Holmes / Alaska Dispatch News
Stoney Creek Canopy Adventures guide Justin Walker, far left, leads clients through an aerial walkway in Seward on Thursday, July 3, 2014.
Loren Holmes / Alaska Dispatch News
Steve Gauck of Greenburg, Indiana zips through the trees at Stoney Creek Canopy Adventures in Seward on Thursday, July 3, 2014.
Loren Holmes / Alaska Dispatch News
Dylan Gauck, 12, of Greenburg, Indiana zips through the trees at Stoney Creek Canopy Adventures in Seward on Thursday, July 3, 2014.
Loren Holmes / Alaska Dispatch News
Alli Harvey

I had a friend in middle school who had a zip line through her backyard. There was always a line of screaming children waiting to try it at parties.

I never did. It was too scary. The launch platform was terrifyingly high off the ground. Kids took turns shoving each other, strung up by some feeble looking cord, into thin air. 

In retrospect, the zip line was probably 10 feet off the nice green lawn, and mom or dad was always right there. I thought about this as I looked down from a platform during my first zip lining experience as an adult. I stood within the many towering trees in a forest. It was fair to say I was more than 10 feet off the ground. I wished I’d practiced on something smaller when I had the chance. I tried to smile but my loving, darling family saw right through it. 

“You’re really scared, aren’t you?!” exclaimed my delighted stepdaughter.

Clearly, Alaskans and visitors to the 49th state have shaken off any incipient fears. Over the last nine years, nearly a dozen zip line tours have sprung up in Alaska from Ketchikan to Talkeetna, including a new operation in Seward that opened less than a month ago. For up to $189 per tour (less for children), they offer rides as long as 5,000 feet long that skim through treetops, offering a moveable vista.

“People who are coming to Alaska are searching for adventure,” said Ashlynn Antoni, tour manager of Alaska Canopy Adventures’ Juneau zip line tour. “You’re throwing yourself off a tree while you’re attached to a cable. It’s an adventurous thing to do. It’s not the normal beaches and sunshine.”

But Alaska is hardly alone. Commercial zip line tours have gained popularity worldwide, from South Africa to Hawaii to Ohio. Hawaii first brought commercial zip lining operation to the U.S. in 2002, but Alaska ranks as having one of the longest zip lines. The Icy Strait ZipRider in Hoonah is more than a mile long (5,330 feet).

Read more: With new Seward outfit, zip lining soars across Alaska.