Zip on! Ziplining over the canyons at Lajitas

Waters and Roady prepare to launch off the first zipline platform.
Waters and Roady prepare to launch off the first zipline platform.

by Marlys Hersey, Editor

Lajitas Golf Resort & Spa has opened its zip line. By the time Gazette Publisher John Waters and I went on the course in Lajitas’ Quiet Canyon in late October, over 100 persons had already experienced it before us.

I was excited to try ziplining, though I admit to just a pinch of reticence at the notion of jumping off a platform to hurdle downhill, tethered by only a cable. Our guides instantly dispelled my concerns, as all three were warm, funny, competent and confident, and they all had experience working on zip lines elsewhere in the country.

The course itself is a remarkable feat of engineering, to me, anyway. There are nine separate lines traversing open spaces between canyon walls and varying in length and elevation change; the lines range from 200 to 2000 feet long, spanning the upper canyon to nearly the canyon floor.

We start out at Red Rock Outfitters on the Lajitas Boardwalk, getting suited up in elaborate climbing harnesses and helmets before jumping in a vehicle to be shuttled to the top of the highest line, the beginning of the course.

There are a lot of carabiners and clips and ropes and other things involved with hooking onto the zip line at the beginning, and then disassociating from each zip line at the end of each ride, and yet the guides handled those niggling details for us so we were free to enjoy the ride.

At the first zip line station in Quiet Canyon, Gazette Publisher John Waters gets the lowdown from guides Roady (William) Zocklein and Colin Miller.
At the first zip line station in Quiet Canyon, Gazette Publisher John Waters gets the lowdown from guides Roady (William) Zocklein and Colin Miller.

They gave us some safety instructions, almost none of which I can recall now, because the course seemed very sturdily built—and there are excellent, powerful, automatic breaks at the bottom of each zip line. The guides told us about other ziplines which apparently rely on the users wearing very thick gloves and having to reach up and grab the cable overhead to stop themselves at the end of each run. Frankly, that sounds terrifying. I briefly imagine the array of possible injuries in those scenarios, and then let them go.

Waters riding the zip.
Waters riding the zip.

We start out on the shorter line with the least amount of elevation drop and eventually get to the longer steeper lines towards the end. No matter: they are all fun. We go fast enough for each run to be exhilarating and yet not so fast that we miss the view. It’s a great combination of arendaline and meditative experiences. Dangling from a cable, zipping across those spectacular canyons is a rush and a delight. How often are any of us in that position?! I wish I could stop right in the middle of each line and just hang there a while.

When we finish, I am only sorry there aren’t more lines so we could do this for the rest of the day.

Zipline tours are given most days at 8:30 am, 10:30 am, and 2:00 pm (tour takes about two hours total). Participants must register at Red Rock Outfitters on the Lajitas Boardwalk 15 minutes before a ttour. For reservations, call 432-424-5170. Closed-toed shoes and comfortable clothes are recommended. Participants must be in good health, and be able to walk short distances and climb stairs.

As you can see, Roady has a really fun job
As you can see, Roady has a really fun job

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