Regular readers of this blog know by now that I have a fear of heights. Yet every once in a while I challenge my fear. Like ziplining. I ziplined once before, in a cave, and was weak-kneed the entire time. By the time I got to the last run, taking off from a platform that had a 70-foot sheer drop-off, I almost couldn’t do it but there was no turning back. So when I planned to zipline near Las Vegas with Flightlinez Bootleg Canyon, I was a bit apprehensive but not in panic mode. Here’s why.
I had read on the Flightlinez Bootleg Canyon web site that they use seated harnesses. Psychologically, I am much less nervous when I’m in a seated position rather than standing. Of course, there was still the platform issue. Would the starting platforms be at the sheer edge of a cliff?
Preparing for the Flightlinez experience
My fears were eased when I met our guides. Andrew, Nick and Steve could have been a comedy team with their silliness, but at the same time, they were VERY serious about safety. (Andrew is not included in the photo below.)
After being fitted with harnesses and helmets in the Flightlinez Bootleg Canyon headquarters, our group of six zipliners went through a short training session, learning what to do and what not to do. Seated position, hold onto the straps. When the guide on the end ramp starts waving the flags, reach up and pull on the brake cords, but not too hard. When they wave the flags faster, pull harder. When the flags go down, put your legs out in front of you and spread them wide. Grasp the straps again and lock your arms. Sheesh! I thought, that’s a lot to remember when you’re flying at 55 miles per hour a hundred feet in the air and dangling from a cable.
Heading up the Mountain
Following the training session, we piled into a van for the ride to the zipline course in Bootleg Canyon. Along the way, our guides pointed out various sites, told lots of tall tales and joked a lot. We drove up the mountain road, one of those winding, narrow roads where you hope you don’t come face-to-face with oncoming traffic. We did, but fortunately, we were not on the drop-off side of the road!
We could go up only so high in the van and then had to hike up the rest of the way. Each person was to carry their own trolley, the contraption that connects your harness to the ziplines. Trolleys are heavy, as heavy as a woman’s purse, they joked. Now my purse is heavy, but nowhere near the weight of the trolley. Thank heaven Steve took mine and carried it for me, along with a couple of others.
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From our vantage point we could see Lake Mead in the distance. Our guides also pointed out the Grand Canyon. We could see both ends from where we stood.
It turned out none of the platforms have a sheer drop-off, so my mind was at ease about that. I remembered from my previous experience that the start and the end were the two things that made me nervous. The actual zip is exhilarating. It never feels like you are going as fast as you are, and you can enjoy the breathtaking beauty of nature that surrounds you. Although you still have to pay attention to your “landing.”
Another fear I had was that I’d be so white-knuckled that I’d have a hard time taking my hands off the straps and reaching up for the brake cords. However that fear was nonexistent when it was time to brake. I was also concerned that I might stop too soon and get stuck over a canyon. It didn’t happen to me, thank goodness, but on one of the four runs, with a strong headwind, it did happen to one other person in our group. I won’t name names (Skip). One of the guides went out to retrieve him.
As I was putting my harness on earlier, the folks at Flightlinez fitted me with a GoPro camera. Here is a video of one of my runs:
If you go
The starting point for Flightlinez Bootleg Canyon is their offices at 1644 Nevada Highway in Boulder City, Nevada, approximately a half hour drive southwest of Las Vegas. Visit their website for more information.
Accommodations in Boulder City: Find the best deal, compare prices, and read what other travelers have to say at TripAdvisor.
Disclosures: My visit to Flightlinez Bootleg Canyon was hosted by Flightlinez Bootleg Canyon and the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, and my zipline experience was complimentary. However, all opinions are my own.
This article contains an affiliate link, which means that if you book a room through this link, I will receive a small commission at no additional cost to you.
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