Ever wanted to go ziplining through the jungle? I am here to tell you don’t need to go to Asia or South America just to zipline. You will get the best experience of canopy tours in Minnesota — in the Minnesota River Valley at Kerfoot Canopy Tours. Think I’m exaggerating?
My husband and I just returned from our second trip to Thailand where we decided to go ziplining. Not only did it confirm that I hate heights, but it also confirmed that our experience in Minnesota was 100 times more enjoyable.
Let me tell you why.
When we were in Thailand last year, we wanted to zipline, but the time didn’t allow for it. So we determined that we would for sure go this year.
In Chiang Mai, we looked through eight different packages and finally settled on Dragon Flight.
Why? Because it had the most platforms and a very long zip (It turned out that their claim of a 800 meter zip was false advertising).
Honestly, it was the t-shirt that really sold it for us.
I was excited! Since I already knew what ziplining was like, this experience was going to be three times more fun with three times more platforms. Plus, it was flying through the jungle. Minnesota=No Jungle.
The day came for our flight, and after a puke-inducing ride through the mountains (they are inevitable with manual vehicles and winding roads), we were there.
We were harnessed up, given our water bottles and sent up the road in the back of a pick-up. Then, we hiked up the mountains deeper into the jungle to our starting point.
After all the fliers had arrived, the guides gave us a rundown of what to do.
“You don’t do anything. We do everything for you. You? Nothing. Us? Everything.”
So thanks to my training at Kerfoot Canopy Tours, I was able to guide our friends Shyan and Sara through the proper technique. Little did I know, it was not going to matter.
5 Reasons I prefer Kerfoot
- Kerfoot limits each group to 10 people per tour. Each group is equipped with two guides and plenty of time to enjoy the experience.
- Dragon Flight only limits the number of participants by how many guides they have to send with the group. Our group has 33 participates and 6 guides. While the ratio was approximately the same, it made the experience drag a little.
- Lessons to Zippers
- Kerfoot gives you braking equipment and lessons to be in control of your experience. The guides teach you hand signal responses, and your first zip can be done over and over until you feel comfortable with your form and with braking.
- Remember what the Dragon Flight guide said? “You don’t do anything. We do everything for you. You? Nothing. Us? Everything.”
- Flying Technique
- At Kerfoot, the guides were in agreement about each flier’s technique. Hold the trolley with both hands, apply pressure behind the trolley to brake, and keep your feet up. Knowing exactly what to do was extremely helpful.
- At Dragon Flight, we were not given any hand gear so we could not brake. We were also not given any lessons how to land. But that is nothing compared to the guides’ conflicting instructions during the zips. We were told to hold on to the cables on our harness or to throw our hands out, but to not touch the trolley. However, after twisting in circles for the first three zips, I was told that if I hold the trolley, I won’t twist. So I did. When I arrived on the other side, I was reprimanded for holding the trolley. So I didn’t hold the trolley for the next one and I spun in a circle again. For the next zip, I was reassured that I could hold on the trolley. When I landed, again I was firmly told not to do that. Round and round this happened.
- Kerfoot has 14 ziplines, some spiral staircases and a 170-foot suspension bridge. You zip short, you zip high, you zip long, you zip fast and each zip is its own experience. You only have to tackle one obstacle that is not a zip line. You also zip across a beautiful gorge three times (Maybe four. No, I think it’s four times).
- Dragon Flight is a completely different canopy tour with multiple bridges to cross: suspension bridges and logs and a high wire. It was not fun. You have to climb up and down different ladders and staircases. But the worse experiences of all are the abseils.
An abseil is supposed to be another word for repelling (like when you climb down a mountain), but that is not how Dragon Flight understood it.
An abseil experience with them was being attached to a rope, jumping off a platform and falling until the guide catches you before you break your legs. We had three of these abseils to do. The last “adventure” of the entire experience was a 50-foot drop to the jungle floor.
- Speaking of the guides, they really do make or break your experience. At Kerfoot, we had the opportunity to get to know four guides. Two guides got our trip started and part way into the tour, our assigned guides took over. All four of them had great energy and were confident in their instruction and reassurance. They didn’t talk down to us, and they made sure we were doing alright/having fun. They spoke in an even tone and were very reassuring.
- The Dragon Flight guides thought you experience would be better if you were terrified. They tried to scare us often. “Watch out for the snakes!” Or “Oh, NO!” after they pushed you off the platform. Of the six guides, four of them were okay, one of them was horrible, and one of them I really liked (he introduced himself as Ice and called me Bob).
Our experience with Dragon Flight began as a fun adventure. Being at the top of the the jungle was terrifying and beautiful, but the tour was much too long. With 33 people to get through the course, we were literally clipped on to the line and pushed off the platform. And it still took us five hours.
When our zipling experience was over in Thailand, I wanted to go home. I didn’t want to eat anything, and I didn’t really want to talk about it.
Kerfoot, on the other hand, made the 2 hour experience so enjoyable that even though I was terrified the entire time, I wanted to come back and do it again. Anne and I and our husbands couldn’t stop talking about how much fun we had had. Even Chris, my adventure-loving husband , prefers Kerfoot Canopy Tours over Dragon Flight.
All this to say, visit Asia. It’s beautiful and I love it. And if you are in Asia and you want to zipline, go for it! But don’t assume you will get the ultimate zipline adventure through the jungles of Asia! For that, you will find the best experience right here in Minnesota through the Minnesota River Valley at Kerfoot Canopy Tours!