A Soaring Birthday Celebration

by Jessica on March 17, 2011

Ten year old in the Trees

 Our oldest son, Ryan fancies himself an adventurer, and is regularly asking to do things that will add a little thrill to his life. For the past several years, he has been begging to go on a zipline canopy tour. After doing some research, we learned that all the tours in our area required that participants be at least 10 years old. So, the Cypress Valley Canopy Tours was a perfect present for his tenth birthday.

Ryan on his first flight.

 Cypress Valley is located just outside of Austin, TX. Most of Cypress Valley is a working farm and ranch owned by a family that is dedicated to conservation and natural preservation. The canopy tours allow visitors to enjoy the natural beauty of the ravine and surrounding area.

We were signed up to participate in the Canopy tour that encompassed three skybridges, six ziplines, and would last for 90 minutes. After a gearing up, we were taken through a short ground school demonstration to teach us the mechanics of ziplining. Then, we were ready to fly.

 The first platform began above the lake, and took us on a short and easy flight into the valley. I was expecting to be slightly nervous, but our guides were so confident and professional that it was easy to relax and enjoy the ride. Soon, we were zipping over forty feet in the air, across ziplines that spanned up to 350 feet. It was simultaneously thrilling and tranquil to feel the wind whipping around our bodies, as we watched nature flying past us.

It seemed as though no time had passed at all, but soon we had finished our tour. We had a little surprise waiting for our birthday adventurer. As the rest of our tour group continued back to the gearhouse, we followed our tour guides back to the middle of the tour. We repeated two of the ziplines from before, then we zipped onto a path we had not traveled before. Just on the other side of the giant tree was an intimate treehouse, and our lodging for the night. We said goodbye to our guides, and settled in to enjoy our evening in the trees.

A view of the Lofthaven

The Lofthaven treehouse was the perfect place to end our day. Our hosts had provided all the amenities we needed for a charming evening. Iced water, tea, and delicious chocolates were waiting for us, along with a pullout bed for Ryan and dishes for any treats we wanted to enjoy. The bathhouse, with water heated by solar panels, was just across a bridge.

The sights and sound of nighttime in the country soon lulled us into a state of transformative calm. We enjoyed a game of cards and backgammon, loving the opportunity to spend one on one time with our oldest son. Texas weather is often unpredictable (except in summer when it is humid and hot everyday), but the Lone Star State showed us the best weather. It was cool, but not too cool, so that we could open the windows on the tent and look out onto the ravine as we laid in bed.


Soon enough, the sounds of the breeze in the trees and trickling waterfall rocked us into a sleepy trance. Drowsily, we made shadow puppets on the canvas walls until we couldn’t keep our eyes open anymore. Happy Tenth Birthday, Ryan!

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