During a fantastic 5 day stay at Lajitas Golf Resort (read our review of Lajitas Golf Resort to learn more about this outstanding resort loaded with lots of fun things to do), we decided that a ride on the Resort's zipline would be a fun way to spend a few hours. We met with Adam and Kari, our guides for the tour, at the zipline office on the Lajitas Resort Boardwalk which is also home to Red Rock Outfitters (purveyors of quality outdoor equipment) to find out more about the zipline tour. Adam said that the zipline tours consist of "8 high flying zip lines that fly you down some steep hills and across some deep ravines - with some stunning views of the surrounding mountains and beautiful desert scenery." Adam also said that "there are three different tour options which you can choose from based on how courageous and adventurous you are" - and as I watched the video and heard him say "courageous" my heart started to beat a little faster. Watch this short video to see why my palms were a little sweaty. And then I caught this video out of the corner of my eye and my answer was "I may not be ready!"
The Lajitas Zipline Tours include:
With knees shaking I was getting ready to say "we'll take the easy Flying Goat Tour" when my wife quickly said " the adrenalin and fast Quick Silver Tour is what we're (who is she including?) interested in. And when Adam said "great, now please sign these waivers that state that Lajitas isn't responsible for any injuries" - guess how that made me feel!
Next step was to get fitted with a helmet (which are usually too small and tight for my head - but to my surprise these helmets fit okay) and the zipline harness - which typically pushes my gonads up into my throat and has a zipline trolley that swings between my legs as I walk and keeps banging against some tender body parts. Although I'm too old for more kids I do want to protect the family jewels! However, the zipline harness for this tour was excellent and more like a cloth seat with nothing between the legs - loved it! Turns out that they are Skyline Zipline Harnesses from British Columbia that are specifically designed for ziplines and the most comfortable on the market.
There is no way to get away from the heavy trolley which made my jewels a little nervous. Where are my gloves that are used for braking I ask - "not needed" was Adam's response, "our system has automatic braking!" Interesting, sounds good but I was a little concerned about it stopping a 200 pound man heading downhill at 50 miles an hour. Lajitas Zipline uses new state of the art Hercules braking systems which is a passive braking system, meaning that once it is set, it operates without staff interventions. Hmm, with previous zipline tours I had to wear gloves and pull down on the cable when the guide standing on the platform signaled me to start braking. Half the time I would plow into and sometimes knock over the guide who was there to stop me! With Hercules there is no guide to stop the rider and I envisioned myself riding through the stop and slamming into the end post holding up the ziplines - the knees started knocking again. I thought, this should be interesting!
We started the tour with an exciting and bumpy ride in a vintage 1976 Pinzgauer which is an all-terrain 6WD military troop carrier. We piled in and started our climb up some steep narrow rocky roads along the edge of volcanic mountains created 30 million years ago in Quiet Canyon in a 33 year old vehicle - guess how safe that made me feel! I kept my eyes on the mountain side of the road but my wife was facing the other way, looking straight down a cliff on this narrow bumpy road, and when I realized that the pain I was feeling was her squeezing my arm in fear, I didn't dare look down her side of the road. On the way up (when I finally opened my eyes) I saw amazing rock formations, petrified wood, lots of desert plants, and breathtaking views across the Rio Grande River and distant mountain ranges into Mexico and Big Bend National Park - what a stunning view. We were told to keep our eyes out for red tailed hawks, road runners, dove, and blue quail plus Aoudad Sheep, a mountain lion, or some Javelina.
We finally made it to the top at 2700 feet above sea level and got out to ride the Panchos Pass zipline which was described as a quick introduction to a fast zip line that is high on the Mesa and 982 feet long as it flies over a deep canyon. The heart and knees started their shaking ritual. Adam explained the braking system by saying "as you approach the ramp at the end of the line make sure your legs are up and be prepared for a jolt when you hit the braking system." As I stood shaking I watched Adam go first.
When Adam reached the bottom he radioed back to Kari to "send Susie zipping!" And Susie leapt off the platform with a "wheee" and flew quickly over the deep canyon to the next platform.
I reluctantly climbed up the steps, gave my trolley to Kari, said a prayer and crossed my heart, and tired to stop shaking! Then I heard "send Mike zipping" and was told to step off the platform 25 feet above ground and sit down in my harness and enjoy the view. When I finally caught my breath and opened my eyes I admired the view, let out a scream of Geronimo, and prepared to land hoping that the auto braking system worked. It did and with a big thump I went flying forward then backward and floated back to the arms of Adam - wow, that was fun!
Since I made the first one safely and really enjoyed it, to show I wasn't too scared I volunteered to go first on Comanche Revenge. I had second thoughts when I was told that this is the highest above the canyon floor and the longest (1478 feet long) of the ziplines. When I stepped up on the platform, it seemed like we were a mile above the canyon floor and the view was unbelievable. With no fear I leapt off the platform, zoomed toward the bottom yelling something, and made a perfect landing. I had anticipated and enjoyed the quick jolt of flying forward and the quickly backward like a pendulum.
Now I'm getting excited and ready for the Desert Dash which took us from the rim of a canyon to the bottom along a 989 foot long zip line at about 50 miles an hour - thrilling and scenic and fast!
I was disappointed when I found out we were on our last zipline down Longhorns Leap which is 1406 feet of cable down the wildest part of Quiet Canyon. From there it was an easy drive down the rest of the mountain and back to Lajitas Resort and a very cold beer in the Thirsty Goat at Lajitas Resort to reminisce about a fun zipline tour.
What a fun and exciting adventure. Here are just some of the reasons why Lajitas Zip Line is one of the best, if not the best, zipline tours in Texas:
We can't wait to go back and take one of the other zipline tours. Return to the review of Lajitas Golf Resort. By the way, I really wasn't scared!