When invited to come check out the Wired Zip Line Course in Canton, we happily obliged. I had never zip lined before, and neither had my sister nor husband, though we all agreed we wanted to try it out. We decided to come out on a Sunday, and the weather was absolutely beautiful – 70s and sunny. A good day to go zip lining, for sure.
The course is easy to find, but it was First Monday so the traffic was terrible. To get there, just take Hwy 64 west to Canton, take a right on Hwy 19, and it’s on the right. You can see the zip lines and towers from the highway. The course is situated on a beautiful piece of property. We were asked to fill out a brief info sheet, then were introduced to our guides and harnessed up. In addition to our harnesses, we also were given helmets and thick, padded gloves to wear.
Our guides were Cody, Clay, and Mike, and Lori was our instructor who taught us how to brake and some other zip lining maneuvers. I’ll admit, I was getting pretty nervous during the training portion. They hook you up on a short line to practice breaking. It’s pretty simple – you keep both hands clasped over the pulley on top of the line, then when the guide signals to start breaking by putting his hand on his head, you take your right (or left) hand and place it on the line behind the pulley. The friction slows you down to a stop. Still, I was worried that I would get in the air and forget the signal, or put the wrong hand on the line, or who knows what other way I may be capable of screwing up these seemingly simple instructions. Luckily, my three practice attempts were successful, as were my sister’s and husband’s, so we were off to conquer the course.
During our training session, Lori warned us that the hardest part was just making it up the first set of stairs to the first line. She was right. This staircase is a seemingly endless, steep, spiral stairway. It seemed to take ages to get to the top, and the tight spiral of the staircase combined with my nerves was making me feel a little overwhelmed. I made it to the top only to see my sister struggling about half way up the stairs. I could see it was getting to her, too. However, with a few words of encouragement from our awesome guides, she overcame her fears (for the moment at least) and joined us on the platform. Cody and Clay hooked to the line and zipped across to the next platform where they would wait for us to arrive. My husband volunteered to go first, so Mike clipped up his harness, and sent him on his way. Every moment you are waiting on a tower to zip you are clipped on to the tower so you can never fall over. It is 100% obvious how much the people at Wired value safety, and even more remarkable how well they are able to maintain their standards of safety while also making sure everyone had a great time. I was up next, so I got clipped on to the line, and began my first zip ever. It was awesome! Cody was waiting for me at the other side, and when I started approaching the tower he gave me the signal to start breaking. I remembered what to do and sailed in smoothly to the platform. Now it was my sister’s turn. We waited, and waited, and waited. Finally, she was on her way! She came down the line screaming (screams of joy, of course), and arrived with a smile on her face, though it was a slightly shaky smile.
Although I knew what zip lining was, I had never before considered the logistics of it. The actual time zip lining is just a small portion of the whole time you spend on the course. Only one person zips at a time, then once you arrive at the destination platform you are unhooked from the line and hooked to the platform before the next person can zip. Then, the second and third platforms had ladders and bridges to get you up to the next line. Before you can ascend the ladder or bridge you have to be safely harnessed in, in case someone were to fall. This ends up taking quite a bit of time, but I honestly had just as much fun waiting on the platforms as I did while flying through the air. Just standing on the platforms (the tallest one is 95 feet high) and taking in the beautiful view was amazing. I especially liked the view of the pond from the 2nd tower where we watched turtles swim for a while.
In total, the course has four lines, totaling around 3,500 feet. Each day, before the course opens, the guides do a practice run to check course conditions. The speed and direction of the wind determines which line will be the fastest. For us, the fastest line was 2nd, with riders getting up to 40 mph. The third line travels over the marshy area of the property, and the fourth line is short and sweet (they call it the bunny slope), taking you back down to the ground.
We had a wonderful afternoon at Wired, and we all agreed we would love to go back. The actual zipping was fun, but it was the great people there who really made it for us. We do not have enough wonderful things to say about our guides. They were awesome, they kept us laughing and entertained (and safely harnessed in) the whole afternoon. We arrived at Wired at one in the afternoon, and it was close to three by the time we left. Though I have no other zipping experience to compare this to, I highly recommend anyone interested in zip lining in East Texas to check out this course. It’s not just for adults – kids age 10 and up are welcome, and I think it would make a great family experience. Drop-ins are welcome, but reservations are recommended. More information is available on Wired’s website – www.ziptheusa.com.
Canton, TX 75103