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On top of the world

Dec. 20, 2010 at 6:20 a.m.


Zip line tour options

Canopy tour

This 90-minute tour takes you up to 40 feet with three sky bridges and six zip lines, the longest more than 350 feet. With certified guides, you'll glide through the trees in this manageable excursion. Participants should be in good to moderate health, with a weight range of 70 to 250 pounds. Children ages 10-17 can run the course with a parent or legal guardian.

Canopy challenge

All zip liners must complete the Canopy Tour either earlier in the day or in a previous trip before moving on to the challenge.

In a more physically demanding course, guests will be traversing moderate to extremely difficult zip lines, sky bridges and canopy challenge events. Participants must be at least 5-foot-tall, over 10 years old and in good physical condition.

Sunrise birding tour

Zip liners will be taken through the trees at sunrise with Cypress Valley guides and local birders to explore the world of the local bird communities, which change with the seasons. Birding tours are scheduled for Saturday mornings.

Want to go?

Location: 1223 Paleface RR, Spicewood, Texas

Contact information: 512-264-8880; e-reservations@cypressvalleycanopytours.com

Hours of operation: 9 a.m. to dusk Tuesday-Saturday; noon to dusk Sunday.

What to bring: Wear comfortable clothes and closed-toed shoes; leave all jewelry, sunglasses and cell phones in your vehicle.

Make reservations: www.cypressvalleycanopytour.com

Make a weekend of it

With all there is to do in the Austin area, you're sure to find enough activities to pack your weekend full of fun. Here are some exciting events to plan your weekend around, as well:

24th Annual Gruene Music & Wine Fest - Oct. 8-10; Complete with wine and food tastings from more than 40 vendors, live music, souvenir shopping and Cowboys football, this fundraising festival at Gruene Hall is sure to display all the gems of Texas Hill Country living.

Austin City Limits Music Festival - Oct. 8-10; Music lovers' heaven comes to Austin every fall with a rock line-up to remember. Located in Zilker Park, party-goers can jam out to bands like Blues Traveler, The Strokes and Phish, to name a few. Check out Austin Kiddie Limits as kid-friendly bands like The Jellydots and The Verve Pipe perform, too. For more information on bands and tickets, go to www.aclfestival.com.

The 17th Annual Austin Film Festival - Oct. 21-28; Get the chance to rub elbows with Hollywood producers, studio execs, agents, actors and screenwriters, all of whom are looking for fresh material and faces for the entertainment industry. More than 190 films will also premier around town in several venues. Go to www.austinfilmfestival.com for the complete listing and ticket information.

What is it?

Zip line n. A transportation system or piece of recreation equipment consisting of a cable stretched between points of different elevations, a pulley, and a harness or bar for attaching a rider, who moves by gravity.

Source: http://dictionary.com

Birds have a great view for leaf-peeping, or seeing the richly toned autumn leaves as the seasons change.

Soaring through the treetops to take in this majestic beauty is precisely what Cypress Valley Canopy Tours had in mind when it opened in 2005.

This exhilarating zip line adventure takes you through the heart of Texas Hill Country, outside Austin, negotiating the creek ravines and cypress trees with certified climbing and technical gear.

With three tours to choose from, each with varying degrees of difficulty, family members over the age of 10 may enjoy the lofty views from the zip lines and sky bridges.

This outdoor retreat also offers many opportunities to spot native creatures to the area, from birds such as yellow-billed cuckoos and the downy woodpecker, to land animals like white tail deer and raccoons.

If you're looking for a romantic overnight stay in the cypress canopy, a room for two, the Lofthaven, is tucked away in the trees among the wildlife and waterfalls of the valley. With a queen-size bed and an air mattress also available, families of up to four can zip in and stay at the small woodland suite.

Hoping to inspire a love for the outdoors and an eco-conscious way of life, owners David and Amy Beilharz began developing the area in 1998, moving from a busy west Austin neighborhood to the bountiful Cypress Valley.

Emboldened by his own zip-line experience in Costa Rica, David said the doorway was opened. They've been working to share their wooded paradise with the world.

Whether it is a family expedition, romantic getaway or corporate outing, Cypress Valley Canopy Tours guarantees a thrilling ride.

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