Salonen: Relearning trust ziplining across Idaho forest

Salonen's son, Nick, 15, descends from a zipline platform at Tamarack Ski Resort in southern Idaho while his brother, Adam, 17, looks on from above. Submitted photo
We are part of The Trust Project.

“The natural tendency will be to crouch while jumping off,” our zipline guide warned, “but try to resist or you’ll hit the platform on the way down.”

My brain heard, but when it was my turn to leap off the ledge, descending straight down from the towering evergreen nestled 1,800 feet above the valley floor – all to reach our next platform – my body went its own way.

Ouch! As I bounced back onto the octagonal base, my bum now on the wooden floor, I realized, red-faced, I was no further than when I’d begun. After rising for a redo, my pride now thin as the Idaho mountain air, I grabbed the guide cable, inched again to the edge, and jumped. After sensing I’d lost my legs, the cable firmed up and held me steady as I finished my descent, landing gently onto the padded circle below.

We’d just completed the first couple zips and had six more to go, each increasing in intensity. The next would be the tallest, landing my husband, youngest two sons and me, one by one, into a Ponderosa “tree house” 105 feet up. Unlike the perpendicular jump we’d just completed, this would be a glide across a 900-foot span, scaling the tops of the tall coniferous trees with a view of the glistening Cascade Lake just beyond the gorgeous, newly revitalized Tamarack Ski Resort.



Resolving now to not let this adventure be marred by fear, when my turn came, I surged confidently toward the opening, the vastness below and beyond captivating my senses. By now, I knew the adept guides and tethers they’d put in place could be trusted. But I also sensed God asking more – that I would release any remaining fears, both present and future, into his capable, loving hands.
As I glided through the air, the expanse of the thick, forested mountainside and sparkling waterways beyond permeated my being. Exhaling, I released my arms from their grip on the cable, and, letting them fall away, waved them like wings. Then, holding for a moment or two the stunning view, seen only by me, I whispered a quick but deeply felt prayer, “Jesus, I trust in you,” and smiled.

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Nick Salonen surveys the Ponderosa pine forest in the mountains of southern Idaho from the highest tree-house platform of the zipline canopy tour 105 feet up, shortly after his glide across the 900-foot zip span. Submitted photo

Trust in humans doesn't always come easily, though as babies, we do it naturally, only later faltering in that trust as people let us down. Sometimes, we transfer those imperfections to God, believing that he, too, is untrustworthy, but this is impossible. God alone is fully trustworthy, for he made the world and all the good things in it, and greatly desires to lead us through this life, one moment to another, allowing us time in between to savor his blessings; all in preparation for our final, hoped-for glide to the eternal home he’s prepared for us in advance.

Facing the uncertainties of tomorrow, I pray I’ll recall these exhilarating drifts through the Idaho forest in days ahead, and how, through them, God reminded me of his unfaltering fidelity and steady hand.

Roxane Salonen

Roxane Salonen

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