Zip a ride on the wild side

Adventure awaits long before you even get close to Long Beach

Danielle Buchanan takes a long look over the edge of the cliff at the foaming white water far, far below. She turns to take one last look at her new husband and then turns her back — and jumps.

Although this is the first day of his life with her, Jeff Buchanan doesn’t flinch when his love leaps from the cliff. He knows she’s attached with a five-point harness to a heavy wire cable and within seconds is almost across the foaming gorge. When it’s his turn he is just as filled with excitement and derring-do as his new wife.

The Lower Mainland couple are on their honeymoon at the Ha’uukmin Tribal Park, which hosts West Coast Wild, a zipline adventure company located on Highway 4 about 40 minutes west of Port Alberni.

The site contains roughly a kilometre and a half with six  ziplines, which take the Buchanans and the other members of the group on a two-hour tour through the rainforest canopy and over the whitewater canyon of the Kennedy River. The lines vary in length from a few hundred to a whopping 1,000 feet, giving adventure fans the ride of a lifetime in complete safety.

Ensuring that safety on this day are guides Riley Scherbers and C.J. Munro, one of whom zips across to catch the clients with a special braking device prior to their arrival on the other side, while his partner checks each harness prior to the big jump.

They have fun with it, too. Scherbers has one adventurer stand with her back to the drop and spread her arms over her head.

“On 10,” he said. “One … two … Go!”

At that, he gives her a gentle push and, with a surprised and delighted screech, she’s off.

The focus of the site is on fun, but the guides point out natural features such as the edible wild blueberries and huckleberries beside the path as the group takes a short hike through the old growth forest between the lines.

This is the second year the West Coast Wild operation has been in business and even though it is located far from any amenities or other attractions, it is drawing an increasing clientele of thrill-seekers as word filters out on websites such as Tripadvisor and others.

The adventure is for those aged 10 years or older, although the primary consideration is weight — the zippers need to have enough body mass to propell themselves all the way across the line, thus avoiding the necessity for the guides to zip out to the rescue and haul them to the other side.

The final zip of the day takes us underneath a bridge over the river and back to the rough-and-ready tour centre. The newlyweds are not just smiling, they’re glowing. They took the jump in more ways than one. It’s a good start.

For more information about ziplining adventures or to book, visit








Just Posted

Regional District of Nanaimo to webcast board and committee meetings

Viewers can tune in to watch the regular meetings in real-time

Nanoose Bay carver goes all-in on projects

Bellis creates eight-foot totem as Christmas gift for wife

Oceanside RCMP auxiliary officer earns top honour for volunteer work

Dally presented special award by Island Commander

‘A really kind person’: Parksville’s Nick Major remembered by instructor

Outpouring of support in the days following death of young man

VIDEO: Missing teens named as suspects in three northern B.C. killings

Kam McLeod and Bryer Schmegelsky are wanted in the deaths of Lucas Fowler, Chynna Deese, unknown man

B.C. teens wanted in double homicide, suspicious death spotted in Manitoba

Kam McLeod and Bryer Schmegelsky were thought to have been seen in the Gillam area

Vancouver Island man wanted after walking away from halfway house in Victoria

Warrant issued for Jesse Goodale, convicted of aggravated assault

B.C. wine industry legend Harry McWatters dies

Among his accomplishments, McWatters founded the province’s first estate winery, Sumac Ridge Estate

Provincial health body refuses to release full findings of cancer triage system audit

Information and Privacy Commissioner asked to review redactions

Southern resident killer whale died of blunt trauma, likely from ship

J34 was found more than two years ago near Sechelt, but the necropsy findings have now been released

Tourism Nanaimo invites celebrities to sample ‘real’ Nanaimo bars

Tourism organization creates video, invites actors Seth Rogen and Dan Levy to visit

B.C. rail crossing death highlights risks for people in wheelchairs: watchdog

Transportation Safety Board points to ‘persistent risks faced by persons using assistive devices’

Memorial bench painted by Vancouver woman to stay in park for now

Park board to look at options for artistic enhancements on commemorative benches

Most Read