By Diane Ako
My daughter is studying macaws and the rainforest in school, and knows about the layers of the forest, including the canopy and the understory. When we were planning our Maui trip, she really wanted to go ziplining.
"I want to feel like a bird flying through the trees!" she said excitedly. I've zip lined before and I knew I liked it.
There are other operations on Maui, but Piliholo offers tours through trees (rather than a flat field); it's right in Makawao, where we were staying; and my local friends give it high marks for safety and reputation. Perfect.
We booked the Six Line Treetop Zip Tour, which takes two hours, ascends high up into the trees, crosses aerial bridges, and even includes a bungee-like plunge off a 42-foot high deck. The longest treetop zipline is 930 feet!
The area is gorgeous. It's currently owned by the Baldwin brothers, Jeff, Duke, and Chris, whose forefather, the Reverend Dwight Baldwin, came to Maui in the 1830’s as a missionary.
While the main portion of the ranch is a premier cattle business and horseback riding venture, they started the zipline course in a corner of the ranch as a nod to the growing field of eco-tourism and a desire to share the beauty of the ranch lands. After two years of construction, it opened in December 2008.
Olivia, though a little scared at first, quickly found her comfort zone and enjoyed her experience. The guides, Whitney and Alatasi, made her feel at ease with their warmth and friendliness. There was another family in our group with a boy her age, which added a sense of camaraderie. At the end, she asked if we could do this again!
I have to admit, when I stepped off the QUICKjump deck, I let out a little scream as my heart went up into my throat! Talk about my adrenaline rush for the morning!
And here's our funny of the day: just as I was about to leap off for another zipline, the other mom said to me, "Oh, uh. Your tie is coming loose." I was confused.
Our guide Whitney had just adjusted my carabiners and ties, and it was very clear they have a keen eye for your safety at all times. I jerked short and said, "What?!"
The mom, Mei, pointed at my head. "Your tie. Your ponytail holder?" and she pulled it off the end of my hair.
Whew. Right. Just that.
Then off I was for another zip through the tree tops, soaring like a bird in one of the prettiest places in the state.
More at https://piiholozipline.com.