So when I think about adventure, I think casual bike ride with the kids. I make my husband swear that their will be no uphill pedaling or the most whining will come from me. When I heard about the Zipline Eco Tour on Catalina Island, I’m not sure what came over me, but I wanted IN on that leap-of-faith adventure. Sure the entire evening before and morning of our activity I had butterflies ready to burst out of my insides, but once you step off that platform you’re about as close to flying without wings as you’ll ever be!
Just a short 10-15 minute walk from our hotel and around the corner from the Casino, you’ll find Descanso Beach. Descanso means relaxation in Spanish and just walking by I can tell on a summer afternoon you’d be feeling it. As we past the beach and head up the hill a bit you’ll find the start and finish of the Zipline Tour. Signing in you fill out some release paperwork, get weighed in (total weight is 245 pounds or less–even if tandem riding with a child, 80lb minimum per rider) and there are lockers for your personal belongings. Cameras are okay if you have a wrist strap, as I hoped my husband would snap and video the experience! My iPhone stayed behind, I didn’t want it at the bottom of the ravine.
Closed toe shoes are required and based on tempermental weather long shorts or pants and layers are good! We zipped at 10am and it was cool on that November morning so I’m glad I didn’t freeze down each line. Each group gets two guides, one that sends you and one that brings you in on the line and they both perform a practice run on the ground with a thorough lesson and plenty of time for questions. We had Charles and Erik and they were both super informative and had a fun sense of humor to try and get us worryworts to relax. Once our gear was on, our harnesses clipped, trolley in hand, we rode in a bus up the hill to the first line. Becky was our bus driver and she is in her late 60’s and mentioned all the crazy adventures she’s done besides ziplining, like jumping out of planes. This made me feel a little better about doing this, I was excited, but still scared. If Becky could do it, I could!
500 feet above Hog’s Back Gate, we started at the first gate. All clipped in, the 4 point check is done and I step off the edge of the platform and am told to take a big step, my leap of faith. I did and I immediately left all my worries behind and felt the rush of wind in my face as I sat back, held on and pulled my feet into the “cannonball” position. Once I got to the end you hear that clap of plastic and metal colliding and you’ll pulled into standing and it’s done, I’ve done it. I flew like a bird, kinda but what an amazing rush! My husband went first to capture photos and film. On the line with direct view of the water, we were able to let our legs go out straight and turn sideways (one hand off the trolley), I did turn, but only took my hand off the trolley for a second. Having them both off won’t allow you to fall by any means, but having them there does steer you, so we only got to “play” a few quick times.
The second line was the longest at 1,045′ and we were also taught what happens if it’s windy and we need to slow down or if we don’t make it all the way to the end. Well on that second line, I fell short. The rescue line didn’t reach me so I hung there for about 5 minutes stuck about 2/3 of the way down. I awaited the second rescue attempt where they send sandbags down and manually pull me in. If anyone it had to be me that got stuck, but hey that hang time had spectacular views! Sure I had some fleeting moments where I thought I’d be there forever, but never did fear of falling. Here I am redeeming myself on line 3, thus the hand pump!
Throughout the tour, the guides are keeping us motivated, laughing, but also sharing history and ecology of the island and letting us know how they are soon going to be hosting nighttime zipline tours that will hopefully bring even more adventure-seekers to the island!5 lines for $109 on weekends ($99 during the week) is an amazing steal for the thrill of a lifetime, it’s a check off your bucket list and doing it with my husband supporting me was so important to me. Each line still had me with butterflies, but once you step off the platform you soar like nothing you’ve ever experienced. At the end of your adventure on the last line there is a photo-op spot to pose and pictures are available for purchase when you get back to the station. The two-hour adventure is one that I look forward to doing again. The views were amazing and it’s one of those times in your life where you’re riding that high feeling for days afterwards!
Our adventure was hosted, gratuity was ours. All opinions are our own and not influenced by compensation.