Paso Robles, CA Sunday, November 13, 2011
I thought I would share my experience with Margarita Adventures located at 22720 El Camino Real, Santa Margarita, CA .I and a group of my fellow employees from the Adelaide Inn Paso Robles were granted the pleasure and thrill to participate with this event on a Sunday afternoon. The weather really cooperated with us, being sunny, warm, and just enough breeze to stir the air amongst the oaks of Santa Margarita Ranch. The Margarita Adventures staff of Mike, Matt, and Patrick were friendly, informative, helpful, and overall, just plain fun. You start off at Ancient Peaks Winery in Santa Margarita, CA where you can get free wine tasting either at the start if you need some liquid courage, and after where you can relax and talk over all the fun and thrills you have just come from.
The Zip Lines are all placed on Santa Margarita Ranch, which is one of the largest Mexican Land Grant Ranchos still in operation. On the drive up you will be given a nice background on the Ranch, how they strive to use sustainable growth in their agricultural as well as cattle raising. You slowly drive up the dirt track and go between various ecosystems. From acres for grazing to vineyards of various varietals, on through oak trees, until you get among the chaparral. The view at the start is breathtaking. The natural habitat of the Central Coast of California is evident in these hills. With hawks, crows, turkey buzzards in the skies above to the deer, bears, bobcats and the ever present cattle that stride on the ground. Rabbits, gophers, and other rodents dart in and out of the bushes and trees. Sage and a woodland earthy bouquet add to the ambiance.
The first zip line is Renegade, which stretches for over 1300 feet. This is not only the longest of the four stretches of cable where you will zoom along yelling and screaming in delight, but also one of the most breath taking for its view. Here you will gear up in your harness, gloves and safety helmet. The staff are here to assist you if needed as you start to psych yourself for your beginning run, but also will allow you to get some last minute water and leave behind any excess clothing and bags you may have.
I was the first of my group to go, and as the guinea pig for them. The first step is a doozy, but if you just let yourself go and step off, you will get a wondrous rush as you fly down the cable and allow the harness and lines to guide you down. The sights as you glance about are a treat and when you get to the end, you almost want to go again. I helped to cheer on my other mates as they one by one came down the line. One of my friends was deeply afraid of heights, but then she allowed herself to take a leap of faith. Though her eyes were closed for the first run, at the end she was also browsing nature and having good times.
The next stretch was the 800 foot long Woodlander. This was one of my favorites, after the Renegade. You seem to go faster because of the perspective, as you will go between some huge oaks as you fly around their branches and turning leaves. I was later told that if you stretched out your arms and hands, you could actually touch them as you zoomed to your finish.
Third was the Hilltopper a short jaunt between two hills. Here you need to get a running start to get your speed. I tried to be a little more daring and go freestyle. I ended up tripping over my own big feet. I still had a blast and laughed it off by bungling of the start. My friends all joined in with the laughter and we continued to just have take in the zips, each others company, and the banter of the staff. Even as a couple of us did not quite make it to the end, the guides quickly stepped off with a secondary rope that you could grab and they pulled you on to the landing stage.
The last line you zip the finish line is the Archway. There is an actual arch that you will sway back and forth as you start to straighten out for the finale of your flying through the air. The wooden ramp is angled to allow you to lift up your legs and allow your body's adrenaline to subside.
Once your group has wrapped up their own fun you will remove our gear and the guides will drive you through more of the ranch and tell you more on how they grow some of the wine grapes. I had the pleasure to see a herd of does who were grazing along the cattle. They did not get spooked as we drove along. Just slowly worked their way up a hill side as the cattle ignored us. At most the various mothers would stare us down as we tried to drive past them, only to stride away as we got close enough.
The overall experience for my group and I was just fantastic. I will highly recommend then to any who want to have fun, try something different, and still have a nice glass of wine to relax to. For a cost of $99 and 2-3 hours of your time, I think this is a great treat. No matter if it is a guy with his friends, a bachelorette party wanting a unique experience, or a family wanting some bonding time, this tour may well be for you.