From a sheltered platform more than 40 feet high, I step out into darkness, my heart beating a little faster than usual. The zipline cable from which I hang hums as I gather speed, cool air rushing past my face.
While Spicewood proper may be nothing more than a few buildings tucked away down a country road, the town’s real charm lies hidden in the surrounding hills. And if you know where to look, you’ll find plenty of reasons to support the locals’ claim that “life is good in Spicewood.”
I'm terrified of heights, so naturally, I wanted to go on an adventure that would challenge that fear. Yes, I'm a little insane. But isn't that the way to conquer fears? Well, I suppose a healthy fear is good for survival, but I found what I thought would be a safe way to face that fear head-on: ziplining. I highly recommend the experience.
After revisiting an article that we ran in Texas Highways last August, I decided that this was the year I would brave it. Luckily, one of my best friends in Houston had the same idea (always on the same wavelength, that's why we're buds). Within a week's time, we drummed up a group of 10 friends (me in Austin, the rest from Houston) to visit the Cypress Valley Canopy Tours in Spicewood. What fun!
I put on my brave hat while shaking inside, but after the first leap, I was having a blast. You're so securely harnessed in and connected to the zip line that it's hard to truly feel vulnerable. Plus, our trusted guides, Lindsey and Andi, used their expertise and a bit of humor to take the edge off and make it fun. Granted, this probably isn't as high or as long as zipling down a mountain in Costa Rica, but it's a fun adventure just the same. And it was just my speed, so to speak.
I didn't even mind the three rope sky bridges we had to traverse (and I've never gotten on them, even at amusement parks, because I'm even more terrified of them!), but the harness helped quell that fear, too. We zipped along six lines from one tree platform to another (up to 40 feet high), passing up Lofthaven, the furnished tree house that you can zip to and rent for the night.
Thanks to the drought, there was little water running through the property, but I'm sure it adds an extra dimension of excitement and natural wonder, so, I definitely hope there will be water on my next visit.
When I go again, and I will, I will try the more challenging tour, which has longer zip lines, and challenges that they say ranges from "moderate to difficult." I'm up for it!
If you've ever had a curiosity about ziplining, but are being held back by fear, I say DO it! If I can, you can.
If you've been, what was your experience like and where did you go?
TWO SECONDS after I leap off the platform, the cypress-scented air fills with the buzzing whistle of the steel zip trolley. This tune accompanies the "boom-boom-ba-boom" of the George of the Jungle theme song resonating in my head–perfect background music for my first bird's-eye view of the Texas Hill Country. I'm zipping along at 30 mph, gargantuan cypress canopies looming overhead, and a placid stream gurgling 30 feet below.