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VIDEO: Charlottetown’s Helen Keating seeks zippy thrill for 75th birthday


Published on July 6, 2017

Helen Keating, 75, of Charlottetown goes through a few drills before taking her first plunge at zip lining at the Rise and Climb Adventure Course in Cornwall.

©THE GUARDIAN/Jim Day

CORNWALL, P.E.I. -  There is plenty of zip left in this 75-year-old Charlottetown woman.

On Tuesday, Helen Keating celebrated her milestone birthday more than a month late by climbing up wooden steps to a platform about 35 feet above ground before unflinchingly hurtling along a zip line for 600 feet of adrenaline rush.

“It was very adventurous and I’m glad that I did it,’’ said Keating, dressed in jeans and sneakers on sockless feet.

“I’m super glad that I did it. I’m glad I didn’t chicken out.’’

There was little likelihood of cold feet. Keating was simply too determined to seek out – and execute – a good thrill.

Born in Millview, Keating says she and her 10 siblings never did anything terribly exciting while growing up.

“We never even got to town (Charlottetown) until we were in our teens,’’ she says.

Helen Keating, 75, of Charlottetown was enticed to trying zip lining after watching a show on the exciting activity. "It just looked like an adventure,'' she says.
THE GUARDIAN/Jim Day

Her adulthood, which included being the mother of one and spending many years as a housewife, also lacked any real heart-pounding exploits.

Her advancing years have brought on a call to adventure.

A few years back, she saw a TV program featuring zip lining in Costa Rica. The thrill-seeking activity looked like an adventure Keating could willingly seek out.

When she learned earlier this year that zip lining is available on P.E.I. at the Rise and Climb Adventure Course in Cornwall, she decided to take the leap.

Her doctor voiced no concerns over Keating, who keeps fit through regular walking, taking the plunge.

Keating showed no indication of nerves as she took last-minute instructions from a course guide.

In the end, the ride had an exhilarating, if somewhat numbing, effect on the septuagenarian swinger.

“I don’t think I was thinking anything,’’ she conceded of the moment she took flight on the zip line.

“Maybe it was because I was scared.’’

Perhaps Keating will inspire other seniors to swoop into action.

Janice Corney, who co-owns the adventure course with her husband Mike, says Keating is the oldest person to have zipped down the zip line since the fun park opened five years ago.

“I could count on my one hand the number in the 60-plus (range) that have gone zip lining,’’ she said.

“So it is lovely that Helen is doing it because it shows (seniors) that it is not out of their reach.’’

As for Keating, she plans to come back.

“If I can get someone foolish enough to come with me, I will come on a nice, sunny day,’’ she said.

Keating would also like to pursue a few different adventures as well, listing horseback riding, going up in a helicopter, and parachuting while “definitely attached’’ to someone as topping her thrill-seeking bucket list.

“Got to make use of whatever time I have left,’’ she said.