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By Miguel Gonzalez
(Wrightwood)-This small but beautiful mountain community is home to many natural attractions and each year thousands flock here to enjoy the snow, the shops and the overall ambiance. This week, High Desert Daily was invited to take a tour of Wrightwood’s newest attraction Navitat Canopy Adventures: a series of zip lines, sky stair trails and rappels carefully crafted around nature to offer the experience of a lifetime.
Zip lining at altitudes of around 7,100 feet was more than exciting, it was as close of an experience as I will ever get to a bird’s eye view.
Navitat Tour Guides, April Scott and Chris Gearhart made our diverse group feel at ease with elements that most humans can be intimidated by. Their knowledge of the science of zip lining thought trees at least 100 feet tall gave participants a level of confidence that made the three and a half hour trip fly, or should I say zip, by.
The tour began at the Navitat offices in downtown Wrightwood where participants are given instructions and gear to navigate through the skies. The group is then shuttled to the course on a less then 15 minute trip, to start zip lining on “beginner” courses until faced with zip lines around half a mile long and 250 feet off the ground.
The course site is situated on a portion of the Wrightwood Guest Ranch property, a 300-acre retreat located between the San Gabriel Mountains and Angeles National Forest. “The course will vary in height from 15 feet to more than 250 feet off the ground, and zip lines will range from 200 feet to 1,500 feet in length,” Scott explained.
Monrovia resident Nancy Stewart had previously zip lined in Big Bear and said the experience was something she would never forget. “It’s intense, fun and challenging all at the same time. Much better than Big Bear,” said Stewart who was accompanied by her adult daughter Emily.
Stewart added that the price per person, which is $109 per adult and $99 for 18 and under, was worth the experience of spending a day exploring the Wrightwood sky and terrain. “I felt so secure and the views from the lines are amazing, I would recommend this to anyone.”
Navitat is part exhilarating zip line tour and part educational rainforest-style canopy excursion. As a safety requirement Navitat asks that all participants weight at least 90 and no more than 250 pounds. Each partaker also needs to sign a standard agreement form. Youths under 18 need a parental permission form.
Besides the obvious thrills I was impressed with an enlightening experience that gave partakers a new perspective on the natural surroundings and importance of caring for the ecosystem and all its habitants. In my humble opinion, this outing would be a great opportunity for High Desert resident because of the proximity to this attraction.
The course site is situated on a portion of the Wrightwood Guest Ranch property, a 300-acre retreat home to towering White Fir, Ponderosa, Jeffrey and Sugar Pine, and an abundant wildlife, including black bear, mule deer, bobcat, mountain lion and a great variety of birds.
Another positive impact of this new attraction, according to Bowman, is that Navitat is helping create local jobs. “People are able to work in their communities and it keeps Wrightwoodattractive even in the summer.”
My experience zip lining opened my eyes to the majestic views that we sometimes tend to take for granted because they happen to be in our backyard.
This is definitely a must do family activity.
NAVITAT tours begin from 7a.m.to 4p.m., through Nov. 30.
Reservations are required. Tours last approximately 3½ to 4 hours.