I’m headed to Big Pines Zip-lines, 70 miles north in the small town of Wrightwood on the far eastern fringes of the Angeles National Forest. It’s a beautiful area with pine trees, gorges & trails. In winter it’s a popular ski & snowboard resort (Mountain High resort).
As this was a last minute booking we were very lucky as they just managed to squeeze us in for the full 3 hour package consisting of 8 zip-lines, 2 rappels & 3 rope bridge walks. The lovely Sue took our booking over the phone & we were able to pay cash on arrival. We set off from the hotel around 9am & for a midday slot stopping on the way at Cajon junction for a Subway sandwich & a spot of rock scrambling before making our way on to Wrightwood.
The town itself boasts a number of good eating & accommodation options & the local music scene there is reputedly very good.
We checked into the zip-line offices, paid the $119 fee, signed the usual waiver & were joined by a group of 5 med students. The instructors were brilliant right from the word go. Funny, light hearted, professional & patient! We spent around 30min getting rigged up & briefed on what to expect before we set off on what is by far the bumpiest van ride I’ve ever experienced in my life! For about 20min (felt like a day!) we snaked up a mountain track to the start of the course where we were briefed again and allowed to practice what they hoped we had listened to!
There were an initial 3 zip lines, a rappel, another 2 zip-lines, 2 rope bridges, another rappel & finally another 3 zip-lines.
The final zip-line was a dual line & they paired us up to ‘race’ bringing an end to a fantastic afternoon. As this area is almost on the edge of the Mohave desert, the weather is generally clear & dry making for great photo conditions.
We returned to the office & elected to pay $45 for a flash drive with all 70 odd photos that the staff had taken. We split the cost with the other group bringing the cost down to just $6 each. Bargain.
Of the 2 previous (JNB, EZE) zip-lines I’ve done I would say this was the best.
I then suggested to the crew we could squeeze in a bit of horse riding & especially since they both just happened to be experienced riders. I didn’t have a chance to pre-book this either so pleaded with the lady on the phone to fit us in outside normal hours! She was nice. So at 5pm we set off for the ‘Sunshine & Day Dreams’ horse stables 47 miles south of where we were to the town of Norco which is a ‘horse town’ – horses dominate the town’s activities, so much in fact, that where you would normally find side walks – you have horse trails! Horse owners can then tie their steed to the many rails & corrals placed outside shops etc.
When you drive through residential streets you expect to find a house & a garage – but you’ll also notice that most have a horse stable.
This ranch is perfect for beginners & there’s around a dozen horses including a mule. As we were fairly late in the day (the last ‘walk-in’ ride left at 4pm), we opted for just an hours ride which was still long enough to take in a good deal of varied scenery including a bamboo plantation. The timing was perfect as it was sunset. we paid $35 for the ride.
It was then a 40mile drive back to to the hotel stopping off for a cheap & very cheerful Vietnamese meal in Westminster known as Little Saigon – 8miles SW of Anaheim. There’s heaps of great cheap eats clustered around Brookhurst St.
Here’s some pics & useful links:
S&D Horse Riding
Mountain High Ski resort
Review by Paul Hudspith