Can Ziplines be both Exciting and Cozy?
If I had to name the best part about Arizona Zipline Adventures in Oracle, it wouldn’t even be the ziplines. Not because they aren’t great, but because there’s something better—the staff.
The day I took a trip to its location at Peppersauce Station, which is at the base of the Santa Catalina Mountains, was the day that the desert decided to deluge the area with a rare spring storm. Our program was cut short because of it, which was apparently the first time they’ve had to do that, as they only recently opened in January. We were only able to zip on two of the fives lines, but just those and the rest of the experience was enough to leave me with a positive impression.
Arizona Zipline Adventures offers the first and longest Zipline Ecotour in southern Arizona. The Ecotour is made up of five lines that span from 400-1,500 feet long. After seeing the daunting ziplines, it was definitely a bummer that weather conditions didn’t allow us to finish. However, the staff and the ambiance of the store made up for the loss.
After braving the first two ziplines in the rain, a sudden lightning storm brought us racing back to the station wet and cold. Seeing we were freezing, one of the staff members asked if we’d each like a warm cup of hot chocolate. I happily enjoyed that steaming drink, sat by the fire and listened to the rain come down.
“The ambiance is definitely what we were striving for,” said David Thompson, one of the four co-owners, along with Emily Goff, Brandon Luthy and Charlie Goff. Their shop is the first thing visitors see when arriving—well, maybe besides the gigantic ziplines.
Arizona Zipline Adventures sits on land that has been owned by Charlie Goff for many years. Emily Goff said that her father, Charlie, and her grandfather bought the land in the early 90s. “So it’s only through him that we were able to do this really, because that’s the hardest thing about building one of these is being able to acquire the land,” she said. Emily grew up in Oracle and even pointed out a barn she had always thought was haunted as a child.
Most of their shop is made of recycled material from the old mine that used to be on the property. David said they wanted to preserve as much as possible, like the wood and the metal roof. There are places to sit and eat, a fireplace, and nice string lights above the tables. It’s a cozy area. Inside the shop they offer locally made baked goods, sandwiches, ice cream, drinks, t-shirts, southwestern jewelry and more. I found that folks like to four-wheel, mountain bike, and explore Peppersauce cave near the area as well. Even if they don’t come for the zipline, it’s a nice place to hang out and enjoy the scenery with a fresh cup of tea.
One of my personal favorite parts about Arizona Zipline Adventures is how complete the experience was. During the Ecotour, our facilitators taught us the history of the land around us. I won’t share, as it would be better to hear it from them. When we were waiting for the storm to blow over the first time, one of the staff came up and made up a game for us to pass the time. It was that kind of thoughtfulness that made the place so inviting.
The ziplines are set up similar to how a ski run goes from green circles to black diamonds. The first is fairly easy, while each one progresses to prepare the zipliner for the final one. Although they can become intense quickly (the last one can zip a person at 60 mph, depending on weight), they are open for most ages. “We have been able to cater to a really wide demographic,” said Emily, who estimated they’ve had well over 1,500 participants since they opened. She said they’ve had kids that are six years old and they’ve had people calling that are 92 years old wanting to go down the zipline.
The facilitators made the experience feel safe, while also keepings us laughing. “I like working with people, but I also enjoy the outdoors,” said one of the facilitators, Carl Riggs. “And when you get that combination it’s a win-win.” I like how the facilitators created good rapport with us participants, but put safety first when the lightning started.
Just like any stormy day, I like to spend it somewhere comfortable and surrounded by warm people. After experiencing two of the ziplines and just getting a look at the last one, I can say that I’ll definitely be taking my rain check soon.
Click here for the second story on ziplining.
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Arizona Zipline Adventures
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