Descending into the Iya Valley down the steep, winding road is always exciting. But it’s even more exciting when you know that soon you’re going to be flying high over the Iya River gorge on a thin wire, and scrambling through a network of rope bridges six metres up on its forested slopes.
Forest Adventure is the apt name for this activity. In the wooden hall overlooking the gorge, you decide which part of the course you want to do. You can opt to do the course of rope bridges or the zipline, or both together.
The friendly staff fit you with a harness, then you head into the woods. In a clearing beneath the course itself, there’s a mini course where your guide shows you the ropes, literally. Safety is on everyone’s mind, and the system of safety wires is very well designed and easy to use. Everybody practices how to use it on the mini course. You can try letting go and having a dangle from your wire in your harness.
Then, excitement rising, you climb up into the trees and encounter your first rope bridge. Sliding your safety wire along, you wobble over the abyss. All of the bridges are different, and each has its own challenges. There are nets too, and some of them are quite exhausting to navigate. In between the bridges are narrow towers, requiring considerable contortions to squeeze up through to the next level. Some short ziplines are interspersed throughout the course too, giving you a taste of the big ones to come.
This ‘walk in the forest’ is quite energetic, and it calls for a good deal of physical coordination. Those who are afraid of heights won’t like it at all, but those who aren’t will love it.
Finally, you get to the big zipline across the river. It’s quite intimidating to peer out through the trees and see the wire vanish into the distance. But when you clip onto the wire, jump off the platform and head out into the nothingness, it’s totally exhilarating. There’s nothing between you and the massive scenery of the Iya Valley all around. Another slightly shorter zipline takes you back across the valley.