As a 22-year-old who has lived in the Twin Cities her whole life, I had never vacationed in the touristy town of Wisconsin Dells.
This seemed strange to me. Just three and a half hours east, the Dells is an obvious choice for families looking for a fun weekend getaway. And though I had never made the trek as a child, I was eager to experience the town as a young adult. My sweetie, Teddy, lives in Chicago, so we decided to meet halfway for a short getaway.
I have traveled past the Dells on I-94 countless times, never realizing the true nature of the town. As I drove in on Highway 13, I was bombarded with colorful tourist attractions: billboards, restaurants, rollercoasters, go-cart tracks, waterparks, even the Coliseum! The entire town looks like one giant amusement park. It’s a mecca of fun for kids and adults—and young professionals like me, I was pleasantly surprised to discover.
At the top of our list was a zip line excursion with Vertical Illusions. This outdoor adventure business offers kayaking, rock climbing, and zip lining for the exploratory traveler. After saddling into our harnesses, we took a van 25 minutes north to a town called Adams, hiked a large castellated mound (a steep isolated sandstone hill) complete with several beautiful views. The hike itself wasn’t too challenging, though at times it was a bit steep. When Vertical Illusions built the zip line course, they also built a trail to the course to ensure that most people could manage the climb—even the not-so-outdoorsy participants. After a 25-minute hike, we reached our destination: a 15-line course down a 500-foot mound.
Our guides, Emily and Lydia, were fantastic—friendly, knowledgeable, and helpful. Even the most fearful participant wouldn’t think twice about zip lining with these gals. I was the first to zip in our group of six. The first line was easy—just a short ride to a nearby tree. For the brief moment that I was suspended, I felt like I was on the flying swing ride at Nickelodeon Universe. Braking was a bit tricky and unnatural on the second line, but the third time around I felt like a seasoned pro.
The course became progressively steeper, longer, and faster, and of course more thrilling and fun. There was one line in particular that was so steep and so long that we couldn’t see the end through the trees. I screamed with excitement the whole way down, then almost crashed into our guide at the end. Guess I put the brakes on a little too late.
By the end of the course I was ready for more action. Maybe a little night zipping under the stars, or through the rainforest in Costa Rica, or both!
Well, maybe someday.
*If you’d like to zip line in Minnesota, you can experience the rush at Spirit Mountain in Duluth, in Jordan at Sand Creek Adventures, in Park Rapids at the Character Challenge Course, and on a course at St. Cloud State University.