Before we left, for our trip to Las Vegas, I did a ton of research on the Internet about cool things we could do whilst we were out there, since we didn’t want to spend an entire week on the Strip. You can read about my other Las Vegas Adventures here in my last post. Aside from all of the usual things I found, like trips to the Grand Canyon and Hoover Dam, I learned about a new experience that is not so well known with a company called Bootleg Canyon Flightlines… Their sister company Bootleg Tours offers a range of extreme mountain biking activities and other fun stuff too, but I have always wanted to zip wire, and I thought that the mountain range near Boulder City around Bootleg Canyon (where the Hoover Dam workers got their moonshine during the prohibition years) would be pretty cool!
I booked the experience on-line, and I doubt I would have heard about it other wise, I didn’t hear of it from any of the tour touts who all seemed to be pushing trips to the well known sites instead. It wasn’t over the top expensive either, the website is currently offering deals at $149 each (about £91 at the time of writing this post) but this includes your transport, training, etc. However, I found this coupon that knocks $23 off the price if you want to go.
The team that trained us were great fun. They put everyone at ease, and equipped us with our paragliding harnesses before we travelled up the mountain in the minibus. Once we had driven as far as we could, we hiked the rest of the way, so if you are planning to do this, be aware that the landscape is rugged and dusty. There are rattle snakes and tarantulas in the region, and although unlikely to be bitten (the tour guides are pretty insistent that they lead the tour up and also follow at the rear, and they seem to notice all of the wildlife) you should still employ common sense and wear practical footwear. I wore my Sketchers Shape Ups, which were fine, though they are now slightly orange from the orange dusty sand that worked it’s way into the fabric (never mind, great excuse to buy a new pair and keep those as my practical pair). It’s also worth remembering that you will be high up in the air, so you want to wear shoes that aren’t likely to fall off (eg sandals or flip flops) even if you aren’t bothered about your safety.
For those who aren’t familiar with zip-lines, (or zip wires as we seem to call them in the UK, passengers sit in a harness that’s suspended from cable wires. On this tour, riders travel from one point to another by flying over the desert ecosystem from the top of Red Mountain. Some will soar at speeds up to 50 miles per hour..
On this tour, we experienced boarder line weather, which was very unlucky. It was extremely windy, and overcast, and being the desert, we were very cold. I was glad to have taken a tracksuit top with me, and would have liked a coat to be honest. Our’s was the last tour bus to head up that day, all other tours were cancelled because the winds were too high.
I actually rather enjoyed this experience, as it was rather lovely to hang and watch the mountain bikers 150 or so feet below me, and had a great view of Mead Lake in the distance. I think this might have been less enjoyable if I had been in any way nervous or fearful of heights, but I cant imagine wanting to do this if I was like that any way… Actually, I knew I was perfectly safe, and that the crew working with us were very relaxed, so I just sat back and enjoyed the ride.
This is the video of our experience (I’m afraid there is a lot of wind noise, but that’s because there were 35mph winds):
It was a really fun experience and I am so glad I did it. I am now very keen to try zip lining through the tree top canopy of the rain forest in Costa Rica. The videos for that look even faster, more streamlined and extreme if this one is anything to go by:
FUN RATING – 8.5/10 – This was a real adrenaline buzz, and I laughed a lot. I loved being in the mountains and hiking up, and the staff were really fun to be around. It may have scored more highly for me on a calm day, as I wouldn’t have had so much boring waiting and hanging around (pardon the pun). On the whole I would recommend this experience if you have long enough. The tour will take approximately 4 hours out of your day (unless you get stuck in high winds) including your travel down and back.
- DO – Book on-line (This is their website and this is a voucher/coupon for money off)
- DO – Remember that if you want to return and repeat the experience, you get a generous discount for subsequent visits
- DO – Wear sensible shoes
- DO – take a bottle of water with you
- DO – Take a warm fleecy top with you if it’s windy
- DO – Take money to tip the staff
- DO – Take a tough camera if you have one
- DO – Make sure you have a camera strap attached to your wrist/the carbine so that if you drop your camera, you don’t lost it
- DO – take a helmet cam or hire one if you can, as you are not supposed to hold a camera whilst flying
- REMEMBER – “IF in DOUBT, LEGS OUT!” (All will make sense if you ever go).