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The Walleye
page 17
From Such
Great Heights
Melissa Gaudette
"I didn't want to destroy the
elements too much," says Herve
Hamel, owner of Eagle Canyon
Adventures, as he suits up his next
victim who eagerly waits the zip
line plunge. Hamel explains his
concept for the zip line at Eagle
Canyon: keeping it as close to
nature as possible and the major
focus on safety. Safety and nature
spawns one breath-taking ride.
Eagle Canyon, located just
outside of Dorion, ON, is
home to Canada's longest sus-
pension bridge which spans
182.88m across and 46.33m
in height. The Canyon has be-
come host for the recently in-
troduced zip line. It's just shy
of one kilometre long but it
captures the curiosity of mild
thrill seekers. Hamel and son,
Jimmy, opened the zip line
in the summer of 2009 and
its popularity, contrary to the
ride, rises.
The majority of their busi-
ness stems from American
and non-local Canadian tour-
ists, and with a few European
tourists drifting in and out.
With estimated 2200-2300
visitors last year, the season,
although short, has been well
received by out of town tour-
ists. Surprisingly, locals are a
rare sighting.
Feeling nervous about the
zip line? Well, that's just.
Walking across the suspen-
sion bridges on a blustery day
evokes a sense that Superman
hovers in the background
waiting to make his next day-
saving catch. The zip line has
none of that.
There's no pressure to jump,
but the leap is entirely up to
the rider. If the rider doesn't
go, Hamel gives the rider an-
other chance. But don't take
this for granted-he will ask a
person to leave and there aren't
refunds. It's a business and
realistically, it takes about five
to ten minutes to set a person
up with gear before jumping.
As well, Jimmy, Hamel's son,
adjusts the line to each per-
son's body weight. Each rider
is categorized and for those
lightweights, extra weights are
added to the harness.
While strapping in, Hamel
calmly explains the function of
each harness and carabiner; his
patience, friendly attitude, and
exceptional safety knowledge
dissipates any nerves that may
The beautiful and exhilarat-
ing 60 second ride ends too
quickly. Hands down this is
worth checking out. Well, not
hands-down, but hands on
the handles, arms straight, legs
straight, and head tilted back
it would hurt to smack into
the gear. Be sensible.
Eagle Canyon offers camp-
sites-however, make a day trip
to the Canyon and instead
camp at the Sleeping Giant
Provincial Park. Go for hikes
and check out the slowly disin-
tegrating, weather-worn cem-
etery at Silver Islet. Avoid the
unhappily crowded waterfront
views of the camping grounds
(although gorgeous), and get a
group of friends and forage to
the remote area. There's decent
lake access and it's isolated.
For a less populated visit, go
in the middle of the week. Just
don't forget water; there aren't
any pumps up there, and that
would be unfortunate.
It's a short drive for some
great fun at the zip line-grab
your favourite road trip tunes
and hit the road.
Local Music
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