If you’re soaring over the Summit Bechtel Reserve at 50 miles per hour, you might be a majestic falcon. Or you might be a lucky Scout careening down one of the longest zip lines in North America: the Big Zip.
But to gain access to those 3,000 feet of wire, you’re going to need to do some planning first.
At check-in on Wednesday, each troop or crew received six “Big Zip” tokens. Only Scouts with one of these tokens will be allowed on the Big Zip. (If you don’t have a Big Zip token, you should have received a different token that you can use at the Canopy, Legacy or Gateway zips, Action Point activities, or The Ropes.) Don’t store your token in your plastic credential holder; they’re known to fall out of the holder.
With token in hand, head down to the Big Zip check-in area, a tent inside the entrance to Adventure Valley. Bring a water bottle and a backpack to carry it in as well as closed-toed shoes. You’ll wait in line (check the Jamboree App for updated wait times) and then receive a quick safety orientation before you head up the mountain. Be prepared for about a 30-minute hike to the top, with gorgeous views of the Summit along the way.
Once you’ve made it up, there’ll be some more waiting, then you’ll be harnessed up by a staff member and sent down to the platform. The Big Zip consists of five parallel wires, so Scouts zip in groups of five. If you’re trying to race a friend, make sure to configure yourselves so you’ll be in the same group. It takes about five minutes for each group of five to get attached and sent off, so be patient if you’re stuck in line; you’ll be flying soon.
The beginning of the Big Zip might be the most exhilarating, about 30 degrees of decline over several hundred feet. Make sure to savor the 360-degree view as you’re soaring over Lake Tridave. Once you finally make it to the ending platform, you’ll simply return your harness and head down to grab any items you placed at the check-in tent.
If you’ve got the opportunity to ride the Big Zip, take it. It might be intimidating to stare out at everything below you, but you’re sure to enjoy the wind on your face and the sensation of speeding through the air once you’re there. Take a couple minutes out of your Jamboree experience to be a falcon. You won’t regret it!