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TR Aug 2011 - Bootleg Canyon Flightlines experience

Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by KellyLovesVegas, Aug 4, 2012.

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  1. KellyLovesVegas

    KellyLovesVegas certified personal trainer/retired space nerd

    Feb 19, 2012
    Trips to Las Vegas:

    My Trip Report

    This is an excerpt from a larger Trip Report. This report focuses only on our experience with Bootleg Canyon Flightlines.

    Bootleg Canyon Flightlines - Sunset Tour August 24, 2011
    We called about 10:00am to book our tour. We’d hoped for an afternoon tour, but the only one available was the Sunset tour. So we made reservations for the sunset tour that evening.
    The BC Flightlines van pick up location is at the Excalibur Tour Bus Rotunda. We aren’t fans of the Excalibur, so we waited as late as possible before arriving at Excalibur for the 6:00pm pick up. The van drove up precisely at 6:00pm and our driver greeted us. Four of us were picked up at the Excalibur – a nice couple in their 30s, hubby, and me. On the brief ride to Boulder City we flipped through a notebook containing snapshots of desert terrain and wildlife we might encounter.
    Upon our arrival at the BC Flightlines office, we signed the legal waivers and weighed in. (You must weigh between 75 and 250 lbs to ride the ziplines.) After everyone in our group (four of us from the Strip, plus a local couple who drove to the office) completed the weigh in process, our guides escorted us into the back room to get into our two-point body harnesses (not fashionable but certainly functional) and go through the safety/equipment orientation. Our guides (Ryan Jackson and James) made sure that everyone understood how to ride safely and how to operate the trolley brakes. After answering questions and taking a few minutes for us to deposit any loose items in a personal locker, we piled into an off-road van and up the mountain we went.
    As the off-road van circled up the mountain, our guides pointed out interesting sites and told us how Bootleg Canyon got its name. We were so lucky to have Ryan Jackson and James as our guides. They were funny and personable. There was a bit of nervous tension among some of the participants (most notably my hubby who was doing this only because I wanted to and it was my birthday trip), but Ryan Jackson and James diffused the tension with humor. Before long the van stopped at the drop-off point. We disembarked at a point about 40 feet below the launch site. The men in our group were given their own trolleys to hoist. Our two guides carried their own trolleys, as well as three trolleys for the women in our group. We each took a bottle of water and hiked up the trail to the first launch site. The first launch site offered a view of Lake Mead and the surrounding area.
    At each launch site there are four permanent ziplines. First the landing guide connects his trolley and zips down to the landing site. The launch guide and the landing guide communicate via radio to confirm everything is ready prior to launching and throughout the launch process. Next the launch guide installs a participant trolley to each of the four ziplines and secures it in place with a trolley lock. Then the launch guide fastens each participant in the first group to his/her trolley via two substantial carabiners. The fastened participants hang in a seated position for a few minutes until it is their turn to launch. The launches are staggered to ensure the landing guide has time to unfasten each participant upon arrival and move them away from the landing zone before the next participant arrives.
    The two other couples comprised the first group launched. Then it was time for the second group: hubby, me, and the launch guide. I was first up. As the launch guide fastened my harness to the trolley all I could think was Woo-Hoo! After one last radio coordination our launch guide released the trolley lock and away I went! The ride was amazing! It was still light and I could see the desert terrain below and in front of me. The canyon winds were intense but they didn’t diminish the adrenaline rush. I couldn’t believe how fast the time flew when I was on the zipline. What an adrenaline rush!
    After the entire group had arrived at the first landing spot, we gathered up the trolleys (again, men carrying their own trolleys, guides carrying theirs plus those for the women) hiked to the second launch spot. The second launch spot offered a view of the sun setting behind the Strip. As the first group was being connected to their trolleys for the second glide, the dusk turned to night. The adrenaline rush of ziplining in the dark is at least equal to the daylight run, because you can’t anticipate what is ahead. It’s a feeling similar to riding the Space Mountain coaster at Disney. Landing in the dark is more interesting - the landing guide uses green light sticks to signal when you are to start applying the trolley brakes.
    The third and fourth runs were similar to the second run. We hiked from the second landing spot to the third launch spot. We followed the same procedure for the launches. Likewise for the fourth run. After the fourth run, we hiked to the off road van, which had been positioned at a point near the bottom of the mountain, for the ride back to the office.
    Each tour package includes riding down four different zipline runs. The first and fourth runs are positive (the line runs high to low, with the landing spot at the lowest point in the line). The second and third runs are positive-negative (the line starts at the high point, then dips to the low point, then climbs up slightly to the landing spot). You must hike to the launch spots for each zipline. It isn’t a huge amount of hiking, and though you are climbing the trail isn’t horribly steep. The trails are composed of a mix of loose and hardpack dirt with rocks, so sneakers or hiking boots are strongly recommended.
    For more information the BCFlightlines website (bcflightlines.reachlocal.com) captures the logistics of the activity with videos and pictures of the tours. What the website doesn’t capture is how exciting and entertaining it is. Kudos to our guides for FANTASTIC tour!
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