By EM Fredric
WRIGHTWOOD, CA (The Hollywood Times) July 3, 2019 – Pacific Crest Zip Lines give both memories and thrills of a lifetime and are the safest way to fly above the ground with friends, families or significant others. Need a quick day trip to de-stress and get away from the city and back to nature? Nestled in the San Gabriel Valley is the quaint town of Wrightwood – home to Pacific Crest Zip Lines – who just happens to have the best and safest zip lines around. I know, I researched. I had invited a girlfriend to go with me last summer but she opted to include zipping while on her Costa Rica vacation. She was having a really good time until she hit a dead tree branch at 40 miles-per-hour and almost broke her rib and was lucky she only came home with a badly bruised one. The safety factors, well-maintained zip courses are what I looked for and Pacific Crest has it all and then some.
My girlfriend, Sarah and I decided to beat the July 4th rush and get in before we couldn’t get a reservation. Adam Bendeson – Zipliner-in-Chief – gave us options of which tour we might want to try because we had lucked out and there were a few spots open on the shorter tour. We opted for the Mountain View Tour because of the added attraction of free-falling which typically takes 2.5 hours to complete and includes 6 ziplines, 2 “free-fall” rappels (where guests get to take a leap off of tree platforms high above the ground), and 3 short hikes, the longer tour is the Canopy Tour which consists of 9 ziplines (including one set of side-by-side racing ziplines), 2 traditional rappels, 3 bridges and 3 short hikes. You can do both – and save money for an all-day adventure tour – but we wanted to stay for lunch at one of the local restaurants and ease our way back. Adam checked us in by weight and waiver before turning us over to our fun and excellent guides, Zack and Cody.
It was a day to conquer fears at this year-round attraction – as these experienced guides geared us up – giving instructions along-the-way- making sure our group was fitted properly and loaded us into the van that shot us up the mountain like a Jurassic Park ride. Cody and Zack began what would be ongoing bad jokes, a few good ones tossed in, which actually helps derail your brain when you’re scared. They were soon coined “The Sweet Life of Zack and Cody.” These seasoned pros love their jobs and are passionate about what they do and always encouraging. Soon we were at our first trailhead where we hopped out and hiked to the first zip and stood in a line. It was explained that the first two shorter ziplines were our basic training before graduating to more extreme lines. It was clearly stated that at these points if anyone felt they couldn’t make the tour they could be taken back down the mountain but it was said in a way that made you want to move on and keep trying and our group did. You can be brought down later but it’s best to try and test yourself – you’ll be amazed at how courageous you actually are!
Our group consisted of a young couple, two nieces with their older uncle and Sarah and me. A group of strangers that were about to become close within a short period of time as we quickly became each other’s cheerleaders. Some were afraid of the zips, others the free-falls and one girl, Kelsey was frantic about it all from start-to-finish. She did it all because we encouraged her on and each other. Ahh, if life could imitate the experience of this supportive adventure. Kelsey forging ahead proved to us all that our fears are not always a reality as much as what our minds make of them. The Zack and Cody kept in constant radio contact as one stayed with the group ready to zip and the other as the catcher on the end of that line – as well as dual tasking as photographers.
The ziplines got longer and more exciting and we were told to look around – the view is intoxicating. Little insider info – not a good idea to attempt this after a heavy night at the bar – you need your wits about you and the freedom to enjoy each moment that arrives. You can always book a motel or Airbnb and spend an evening at the tavern with the locals – you might even see some of the guides winding down after a long day’s work.
As we got to our 3rd zip Zack and Cody gave us a much needed water break. Then it was time to free-fall.
There are two on this tour and to most of our group the more frightening aspect of our course. Most of us leapt off the platform – with a little help from Zack – to fall as the equipment caught and eased us down to Cody. Everyone felt proud of themselves until we zipped another long line and got to the next free-fall, this time backwards! What a thrill and oh so scary but ever so worth it even if you go once. Most ziplining companies don’t offer the variations of tours that Pacific Crest does – making it especially attractive. They’ll even have a Halloween Zip to spook you along the way.
We learned so much about the local environment and the recurring joke of how small the town is – but it has that mountain charm and good food that’ll make you want to sit awhile.
All features of Pacific Crest Ziplines are built to meet the requirements of the Association for Challenge Course Technology (ACCT), which is accredited by the American National Standards Institute, and all guides undergo rigorous training in accordance with the ACCT. They use a redundant system which was evident throughout our experience. We were always connected to lanyards while up on the platforms in the trees and the guides handled all of the protective gear – plus, rather than zipping on just one cable (as most tours do), they use a dual-cable system for added safety and security.
Our last zip came up and I think we all felt a little melancholy by the end of our tour. We had become comrades within three hours of ziplining at Pacific Crest. Rain, snow or shine – they even offer moon zips and holiday packages to choose from – including customized packages for groups and it’s only 75 miles from LA to soar through fresh, clear mountain air.
First-timer or seasoned pro – you’ll be baaack!! I know we will!
Call (760) 705-1003 to book 9AM – 4PM PST, 7 days a week!
If you don’t reach a reservationist, please leave a message and they will get back to you as soon as possible.