Ian and I took a camping trip down to South West Saskatchewan during the first week of July. I have SO much to report on from that trip. We did some activities, exploring, tours, and some relaxing. I will be doing various reports over the next couple of weeks, but I’m going to start with the activity that we did on our first morning at Cypress Hills, we went on the zip line!
Eco-Adventures is a Saskatchewan company that runs various activities out of Cypress Hills and Elk Ridge. I have been wanting to do zip lining for quite some time now, but there never used to be many options in Saskatchewan. I was excited when I found out earlier this year that Cypress Hills actually has one! When Ian and I decided to do a camping trip this year and tour the area, I knew we had to go on the zip line. The cost starts at $80 per person, and they also have other activities for various prices. Options cover all age ranges from child to adult. Make sure you check out their website for more details on that. If you’re making a trip out that way, I highly recommend that you make time for them in your schedule!
I went to make a booking online about a week before we were going to be leaving for our trip. I had put in my payment information and then it got stuck on the processing screen. I don’t know about you, but I’m always scared to click on anything at that point! I’m always paranoid that I’ll end up getting charged multiple times, my credit limit is only so high! I clicked out of the screen and sent them an email to see if the payment had gone through. I got a quick and friendly response letting me know that it hadn’t, and to try again. I am always impressed when a company gets back to me within the same day, but even more so when it’s within the hour! I tried to put my payment through again, and this time it worked. It only charged me a $15 deposit for a booking for two. I emailed them again just to check how it worked with the remaining payment and once again got a quick response. They charge the deposit to hold your day/time but then do the final payment once you get signed in. They do this so that anyone coming in groups, but wanting to pay separate, can easily do so. It’s great that they do it this way. I can see them getting a lot of groups coming in, and this way one person doesn’t need to put a large amount on their card.
We got to Cypress Hills on Thursday afternoon (which I will talk more about in another post) and walked over to the Eco-Adventure area. We wanted to make sure we knew where to go the next day and see what it was like. There was a ton going on! They had wall climbing, slack lines and a few other things. A lot of people were doing these activities, and some were just sitting on the benches watching and relaxing. It had a really fun, positive vibe there and I knew we would have a great experience the next day! They also had free Wi-Fi, which was great to see. I’m on limited data on my phone, so I had to be quite careful during the trip. I took full advantage of free Wi-Fi any chance I got.
We got there a bit early the next day and it was a lot quieter than the previous afternoon. I had booked ours at 10:00am so I knew we would have enough time to get our camping gear packed up but it was also early enough that it wouldn’t be too busy. We completed our remaining payment and filled out/signed our waiver forms.
It’s true in every circumstance that a huge part of an enjoyable experience is the people that you’re with. This is something that was out of our control, and always kind of stresses me out. Don’t put me with a person who just wants to grump, I don’t have time for that!
Our group consisted of Ian and me, as well as a family of 5 from Medicine Hat. I was a bit concerned when I saw that there would be three very young kids going with us because you never really know how they are going to be with an activity like this. Those kids were awesome. They were right into it the whole time, even the four-year-old! The parents were awesome as well, all of our personalities went really well together and that helped make it a fun time.
Another factor that made our time enjoyable was the two who led us through the course, Don and Kaley. Not only do they both clearly know and enjoy what they are doing and work really well together, they were also super friendly and engaging. There was a lot of joking around between everyone and some great conversation about the South Sask area. I was also super impressed by how well they did at memorizing our names. By the time we were climbing up to the first line, they seemed to already have them down. It’s one of those little things that just make a huge difference. Obviously, that’s also convenient for them because then we know who they are directing where!
My opinion of Don and Kaley, the people that we dealt with when paying, and my email exchange, would all be enough for me to recommend this company 100 times over. I bet you’re wondering how the zip line went, though!
We got our harness on, and they made sure that they were tight in all the right spots. They went over a couple of safety points and then we were off!
You start off the course by climbing a rope ladder. They said that this was the hardest part of the whole time, and they were right. You go up two at a time, and it was mostly the timing that you needed to watch. They said that no one has ever fallen off, but you do get tethers attached to you just in case. This was probably a good thing because Ian was quite ready to make me the first person to fall! Everyone made it up no issue, including the kids. You can definitely tell that this company is big on safety (rightfully). From the time that you leave the ground until your feet are on solid ground again, you are hooked up with various tethers.
It’s a long way down!
Don and Kaley would alternate which of them went to the opposite end first. One person would then send us off, and the other would receive us. They always made sure that we were hooked up properly, in the proper position, and that it was safe for us to go.
There were six separate zip lines and a suspension bridge to cross. You also climb up one post that has staples in it.
They did different challenges at each line like no hands…
…high five a tree (which I didn’t succeed at)…
…upside down (which I think I did, there just isn’t photographic evidence)…
..and finally a race!
Now, I’m ashamed to admit it, but I had a complete fail on the second last, and longest, zip line. When you come in at the end you need to keep running and go up a ramp. Well, I did so, until I tripped. Or something. I don’t even know exactly what happened! All I know is that I was going back the way that I came! I went almost halfway back on the line, and thankfully Don was able to get to me with a rope to drag me back to the end. Thank you for that!!
See, here I come in..
..yup, and there I go, just hanging out.
The final zip line had roughly the same landing, but I did much better on that one! I will admit that Ian beat me on the race, but that’s just because I let him.
See, I had to let Ian get ahead of me so that he could take this picture!
Ian and I had a great time on the zip line. They just opened their second location at Elkridge this year, and I’ve heard that the zip line is actually bigger and better. If we don’t make it out there this year, we definitely will next year! It’s only fair to compare the two!
Ian brought his camera and was able to get some pictures for me, but Eco Adventures also takes pictures for you. They are available for purchase after for $8 per person. This is actually a reasonable price. I remember companies in Hawaii wanting more than that for just one photo!
Even if zip lining isn’t for you, definitely visit their website (link is at the top of this post) to see what else they have to offer. Cypress Hills is amazing, and this is a great way to spend some time there.
More details on our trip will be coming soon!