Fly, Larry, fly… up up in the sky! This day was gonna be a blast… I was taking Larry to fly through treetops on ziplines, rappel down the sides of pines and traverse canyons via suspension bridges. All just 90 miles from our home in Westwood, CA, it’s Navitat Canopy Adventures in Wrightwood.
It’s not Larry’s birthday, nor is it our anniversary. The “gift” was courtesy of gracious PR folks who invited me as a travel blogger to report on their venue; they also granted the opportunity to Larry because I basically begged them. If I was to write about this, I wanted to report how someone like Larry would like it. He is more safety conscious than me by a long shot.
Don’t get me wrong, Larry is no weenie. We’ve done helicopter rides. Hot air balloons over African plains. Puddle jumpers so small, we each had to take our own. But in 34 years of marriage, there have been two occasions when Larry would not “fly” with me. My bungee jump off a bridge in New Zealand. (That link is my YouTube video of the jump, so we warned.) And I flew down a glacier in Antarctica on my butt sans Larry.
I feel that organized adventures are about as safe as anything else, including LA freeways, so as long as I can physically do these things, I’m gonna do them. There is definitely risk involved, and I choose to take the risk. Navitat’s safety precautions are evident, but they still wisely don’t use the word “safe.” I agree with that strategy.
Men are hard to gift at “our age.” Experiences and consumables tend to be good gifts, but after a while, you can run out of ideas. THIS is a great one. Navitat produced an adventure that, I think, is quite empowering. You get better as you go. Each element – zipline, rappel, bridge – is a minimum of three times: fly across 10 different ziplines, rappel down to the next level three times, and cross some of the most beautifully constructed suspension/rope bridges you will ever see.
At $109 per person (for someone like me, a perfect CHIPMONK GIFT), the two of you can have a great day together. If your kids are over age 10 and at least 90 lbs., then they’re OK to zip, too.
Our scheduled tour was 11 AM. Traffic on a Thursday can be brutal, so we left home at 8:30 AM. The adventure is 3.5 to 4 hours long, which would put us at getting home around 4:30 PM. For you, I recommend doing this during the week, too, as groups are potentially smaller (we were a group of four). It doesn’t run during winter snow months, so do it NOW before next winter.
What it looked like. Wrightwood has “low mountain” type terrain, the trees are a mix of pine, oak and chaparral. I didn’t look around too much while I was zipping, mostly trying to know when to start braking. Twice, I braked too short resulting in hand-over-hand pulling myself a few feet to the end.
What I thought about. First zipline: “Oh Lord, please don’t let me be the one to crash into that tree.” (Thus, the stopping short.) Fourth zipline, “Wow, 45 MPH is awfully FAST.” Final zipline, “Kinda glad this is the last one, I’m TIRED.” Adrenaline rushes are exhausting. I’ve never had a fear of heights, but I tried to imagine how scary the bridges would be for someone who has a fear. If that is you, this ain’t for you.
A final comment – both Larry and I noticed how the people working at Navitat are as great as the adventure itself. Passionate about nature and the environment, Ray and Taylor, our guides, clearly love this job AND love Wrightwood. Smart, confident, they worked like machines buckling us in and out, not once did I notice them unfocused or relaxing their standards. The company has excellent training, but just as obvious, they know how to hire right.
- Navitat Canopy Adventures in Wrightwood, CA – Ziplines, Bridges, Rappels, www.navitat.com, 1-855-navitat.
Let me point out here, too, that the ziplines are not attached to tall metal poles like other places. Every canopy/platform, bridge, rappel rope goes from tree to tree. Navitat didn’t go into this lovely natural setting and make it unnatural. Nice.