Nick Wimmer's a bit of an adventurer.
He camps, climbs and kayaks. And now he flies through the air 75 feet above the Catawba River hanging from cable wires strung through the trees.
You can, too, at Camp Canaan's new zip line canopy tour. It's the only canopy tour of its kind in York County.
"It's the first, biggest and best," said Wimmer, executive director of the nonprofit camping and recreational site in Rock Hill.
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The canopy tour debuts today during Come-See-Me, but be warned: It's not for the weak at heart.
The high-flying adventure lets thrill-seekers zip through the treetops and over the Catawba River on a network of cables and pulleys high above the forest floor. Participants start at the top of a 70-foot tower and then trek across nine zip lines, three suspension bridges and a series of nature trails on the three-hour excursion.
While waiting between zips, participants get a bird's eye view of the river and woods from observation platforms.
"You might see a bald eagle or osprey," Wimmer said. "You'll see the dogwoods in bloom, and learn of the different flora and fauna here. It's all about the experience and the beauty of the Catawba River."
Camp staff and volunteers worked with professionals at Signature Research to construct the course in compliance with guidelines provided by the Association of Challenge Course Technology.
Safety is a priority, so participants are double-clipped to a steel cable at all times and accompanied by professional guides. Riders wear gloves, helmets and climbing gear.
It's not uncommon for people to be nervous about taking that first leap.
"If people have a problem with heights, that's natural," Wimmer says. "We ensure safety. ... We help coach people along so they can take that first step off that tower. Seventy feet is tall - we don't minimize that - and it's a big step for a lot of people."
But it's worth it, Wimmer assures, calling the course a "great challenge, high adventure and overall incredible experience."
Canaan's program director, Matt Harper, one of the guides who helped build the course, said most folks come to the camp with childhood memories of a time when the 120-acre property was a primitive island with nothing but sand dunes and woods. Even now, seven years after the camp was established, many locals don't know it exists.
"We're the best kept secret in Rock Hill," Harper said. "But we're trying to change that."
The zip line will probably put the camp on the map and help boost local tourism.
There are hundreds of canopy zip line tours across the world, but none in the greater Charlotte area. The closest, Wimmer says, is in the North Carolina mountains.
Some places, including the U.S. National Whitewater Center in Charlotte, have single zip lines but not back-to-back zips connected by platforms.
The Canaan tour has been a dream of Wimmer and his wife's since they took a canopy tour in Costa Rica 10 years ago on their honeymoon. The Wimmers promised each other then that, if given an opportunity, they would create their own canopy tour.
It took years of planning and months of labor, but that dream is now a reality.