Since 1985, outdoor adventure seekers traveling along the Mohawk Trail have found their oasis at the Zoar Outdoor Adventure Resort in Charlemont.  

While rafting and kayaking are two of their most popular attractions, they also feature zipline canopy tours. 

Connecting Point’s Brain Sullivan traveled to Franklin County and up Hawk Mountain to witness some high-flying adventures. 

Students and employees of Zoar Outdoor talk about living in western Mass in a digital exclusive clip. 

Read the full transcript:

Zydalis Bauer, Connecting Point: Since 1985, outdoor adventure seekers traveling along the Mohawk Trail have found their oasis at the Zoar Outdoor Adventure Resort in Charlemagne.

While rafting and kayaking are two of their most popular attractions, they also feature zipline canopy tours.

Connecting Point’s Brian Sullivan traveled up Hawk Mountain to witness some high-flying adventure in this next story.

Brian Sullivan, Connecting Point: For most, the idea of screaming in the woods only to be too far away to be heard by anyone in the outside world, is a terrifying proposition. Of course, there are exceptions to the rule, like when cruising along a cable from tree to tree, traveling at speeds not normally achieved without a jetpack.

The purveyors of this fast-paced festivity are the folks at Zoar Outdoor Adventure Resort, a staple here in Charlemont, Massachusetts, since 1985. And ziplining is one of their most popular attractions.

But before anyone just starts zipping on those lines, attendees go through some training first.

Meghan Ecclesine, Zoar Outdoor Adventure Resort: You come into our zip base right here. You go through signing your waiver, getting ready to go, and then we gear you up. We take you through ground school, which is where you learn all the fundamentals of zip lining. Then we drive you up to the top of the course in our ATVs.

So, it’s about a 5-to-7-minute ride to the top. You climb about 500-feet of vertical and then we take you through the course. It’s about 3 hours roundtrip, by the time you get geared up and to coming back to our base here. You go through 11 zip lines, three assisted lowers, and two sky bridges.

Brian Sullivan: And if the way she just summarized a three-hour experience in 30 seconds seems fast, it feels even faster out on the course.

Annie King, Wenworth Institute of Technology: All of a sudden, he was like, “We’re halfway there.” We’re going through 11 of them.

And I was like, “We’re already halfway there?” Like, it’s crazy, it like flew by, but you’re literally flying through the trees, so…

Brian Sullivan: When we dropped by, we were joined by members of the freshman class from Wentworth Institute in Boston.

But it wasn’t the entire freshman class, just the lucky ones who happened to check their inboxes at the right time.

Annie King: I just was scrolling through my email one day and all of a sudden I got an email saying, “Hey, like we have free orientation activities that you want to do.” And there was like a gaming one and like a craft one and then one’s an adventure.

And I was like, “I’m up for a good adventure!” So I signed up and here I am.

Brian Sullivan: While fun, excitement, and adventure may top the list of expectations for the visitors, for the staff at Zoar Outdoor, priorities one through ten are safety and more safety. And it only makes sense, considering the massive heights and ziplines that can sometimes reach over 600-feet.

This means the guides go through 40 hours of top-to-bottom training first before they can take a group out into the woods.

Meghan Ecclesine, Wenworth Institute of Technology: We really focus on making sure that the guests are secure and managing the guests and keeping them in a really good spot. One of our sayings is 100% — “100% clips, 100% of the time.”

So making sure that the guests are always clipped into the trees or to the zip line or both.

Raymond Dulac: I think the guides make it clear that they know what they’re doing.

And you really — it’s not very much that we actually have to do, mostly just enjoy the ride.

Brian Sullivan: Seeing how easy these youngsters made it all look, we figured this guy would give it a shot, too. Thanks to some help from my guide Curtis, I was all geared up, just not for the actual course.

Right now, Curtis is setting me up here at ground school because safety here is paramount. And it would have been way too dangerous for me to bring the camera back into the actual zip line course.

So, we’ll try our luck right now.

Curtis, Zoar Outdoor Adventure Resort: All right.

Brian Sullivan: Go for it.

Curtis: Step down to the edge.

Brian Sullivan: All right, let’s have some fun!

Definitely not winning any points for a graceful execution. But I’m not ruling out coming back and trying it again. And that’s a sentiment I believe was shared by everyone in the group that I followed that day.

Annie King: I don’t think they could have done anything differently. I think they did great.

They made me feel very comfortable, very safe, explaining everything perfectly. They’re great!