Monthly Archives: March 2013

Tunnel Zip Lines, Chelan, Washington

Nancy Zipline 7_25_12 small

Nancy in full zip line gear

ZipLining“Should I give you a little surprise push?” Brianna asked. “Yes,” I squeaked with as much confidence as I could muster at the moment. Suddenly my feet were out from under me and I was in the air. Then I felt the straps catch me and I realized I was flying along. I actually had time to start enjoying looking out over the cliffs and the mighty blue Columbia River. At 52 years old I was on a zip line for the first time in my life and I was loving it!

I’m a nervous-nelly, a worry-wart. So I’m obviously not a dare-devil or any kind of extreme sport person. But last summer David, Josh and I had the opportunity to try out the new Tunnel Zip Lines just outside of the town of Chelan in central Washington. Since I had never been on one before, I stressed about it for days because the brochure said, “…an 880-foot sheer drop from one of the cliffs down to the highway.” Sheer drops are normally not my idea of a good time.

We had reservations for 4:00 and arrived right on time. We spent several minutes talking to Loretta Kelley, who, along with husband, Richard, own the zip line. She proudly explained that the zip line was all his idea. Currently there are four lines and they plan to expand that over the next two years, and will also expand to include a winery, wine tasting room and viewing patio which will look out over the river.

We met our guides, Brianna Larson, Trever Larkin, and Joey Frazier, along with our fellow “zippers”, Lisa Lingenfelter and her daughters, 15-year-old Brooklyn, 13-year-old Alison and 11-year-old, Madison. “Are you scared?” I asked them. Lisa wasn’t, she had zipped before in Mexico. Alison was really nervous. OK, that made me feel better, I was as nervous as a 13-year-old but if she could do it so could I.

We got our gear on and first went on a practice line. I liked this one – it just went straight across for a few feet. Then Richard picked all of us up in a van and drove us up to the next station. Along the way he gave us a little history lesson about some of the old items on the property such as “The Teacher’s Cabin” that gave us a fascinating look at the past.

Zip Line StageWe arrived at the second station. The three girls went first. “Good job, Peanut!” Lisa shouted to her daughter. OK, I thought, if Peanut can do it so can I. However, Josh went after the girls and there was a little glitch with the brake after he landed. So for safety considerations, Lisa, David and I walked back down and up another small hill to get to the second station so we could zip to the third station. This time, no problems and we all completed it. I was feeling pretty good. But now was the time for that 880-foot drop. David went first. My turn. The line did not go straight down a sheer cliff like I had imagined but I was still having second thoughts. Oh, but I couldn’t chicken out in front of the kids, could I? Brianna hooked me up and noticed my hesitation. “Should I give you a little surprise push?”

Zipline View

Amazing Views!

And I was flying – freely and safely. My fears were all for nothing. It was simply fun. At the end I asked the girls if they had fun and they all eagerly said yes, their fears were gone as well. It will be exciting to go back in 2014 to try out the new lines that will be added and see all the Kelley’s other plans take shape.

Getting there: Tunnel Zip Lines is located at 19840 Hwy. 97A, Chelan, WA 98816 (509) 682-0152. From Chelan, go south on Hwy. 97A for about three miles to just before the tunnel. Tunnel Zip Lines will be on the left. From Wenatchee go north on Hwy. 97A for about 32 miles and just past the tunnel, the zip line will be on the right.

A word of caution: If you have any back or neck problem, make sure to discuss it with the guides. The last line jerks you a bit as you hit the brake at the top, so depending on your medical issues, you may want to skip the 4th line.

Note: As is common in the travel industry, we were provided with complimentary admission for the purpose of review. While this has not influenced this review, we believe in full disclosure of all potential conflicts of interest.

Categories: Outdoors, Washington | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Razor Clam Digging on the Washington Coast

Bucket of Clams2

Razor Clams

If you ever get the chance to go clam digging, jump on it!

Razor clams are found on the coastline along the Pacific Ocean from California all the way up to Alaska. Each state sets their own requirements. In Washington State, the Department of Fish and Wildlife determines when the digs are and posts the dates, along with the time of the low tide. The best clamming is one to two hours before the low tide.

Then all you need to do is purchase your clamming license, a shovel or clam gun, and head to the beach! Licenses currently cost $8.60 for a three-days or $13.00 for an annual license. You can get a limit of 15 clams per day per person, just be sure you keep each limit in a separate container.

Several years ago I watched a friend dig for clams but didn’t participate so for me it wasn’t much more than going for a walk on the beach. This was my first time ever actually digging. I was in for a wonderful treat.

Josh Clam Digging

Josh loves getting his hands in the sand!

We drove about an hour and a half to Ocean Shores, Washington, to try our luck. We stopped at a little convenience store just outside of town and I bought my license. David and Josh already had theirs. I asked where to go and the clerk said just follow Hwy. 115 into Ocean Shores and it would take us right to the beach. So we did and boy, were we surprised by everyone else who was there! The cars were lined up on the beach for miles and so were the people! I was a little concerned there wouldn’t be any clams left, but I imagine that’s why there is a 15-clam-per-person limit. Still, it just looked like there were SO many people, it didn’t seem possible there would be enough clams.

The day was absolutely beautiful, which can be rare on the Washington coast. Sunny and clear, but with the usual brisk wind, we were prepared. We had layered clothing, coats, gloves, and hats. We also made use of the hip waders David had bought us all for Christmas last year. They kept our feet and legs completely dry while adding an extra layer of warmth.

David and Josh Clamming

David using the home-made clam gun, Josh waiting to stick his hand in the hole

We headed out to an area where we didn’t see too many people. Of course I worried that there was no one in that spot because there were no clams there. But we crossed a small current of water and came out on some higher ground and started looking for holes in the sand. Josh immediately spotted one and started digging with one of the clam guns that David and Josh had made from PVC pipe. He was very excited when he found one! Then another. Then another. He was VERY good at this! David and I were a bit slower but started finding them pretty quickly as well. I would dig with the gun and pull the sand out and if the clam wasn’t right there, David would stick his hand in the hole to get the clam. I just couldn’t do that part – it freaked me out to think about sticking my hand in a place where I couldn’t see what I was touching. Weird, I know.

Josh quickly reached his limit then helped us by running around looking for the holes and yelling, “Here’s another one! Shoot, Elizabeth, shoot!” (Yes, the boy watches a lot of Swamp People.)

It took us a little under two hours to reach our three limits. Then it was out to dinner and a late drive back home. But we had a very fun time and can’t wait to do it again. So I was very happy to wake up to a post online listing two more upcoming clamming dates. They’re on our calendar!

Categories: Keatons Out and About, Outdoors, Uncategorized, Washington | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

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