It’s easy to lose track of your speed at a cruising altitude of 200 feet. That’s a lesson I’m quickly learning on White Lightning, the penultimate run of Liberty Lake-based Mica Moon Zip Tours. Silently and effortlessly gliding over a deep green gorge, I stretch out my legs in front of me, toes pointed, like an Olympic luge racer. That is, until I realize I’m coming in hot toward a hulking tree, the downhill anchor of the zipline. I execute a high-speed, foot-skidding stop — sort of a reverse-Roadrunner — and brace my feet on the trunk, narrowly avoiding an embarrassing fate as a high-speed tree hugger.
In the heady days of Prohibition, Spokane-area bootleggers set up shop in the heavily forested canyons of Mica Peak, their product coming to be known as “Mica Moon” (-shine). Now the peak delivers altogether more aboveboard thrills courtesy of Mica Moon Zipline Tours, Spokane’s only true zipline adventure.
Mica Moon operates on a private plot one drainage adjacent to the Mica Peak Conservation Area, which means zipline tour guests experience a hawk’s-eye view of a pristine, high-elevation forest. Over the course of eight ziplines, guests fly, suspended by a cable, between tree-top platforms perched in stately firs and cedars. In-flight entertainment includes deer, elk, and bobcat; guides have even spotted a lynx while on tour.
The 2.5-hour trip begins with a short UTV ride up steep, narrow jeep tracks; a short practice run then gets riders acclimated to the zipline drill: clipping on to the launch platform, securing the zipline handles, and clipping in the safety line. From there it’s a tree-to-tree traverse over eight ziplines of increasing height, length, and speed. Short hikes connect a couple of runs, allowing guests to get their bearings in anticipation of the final two runs: White Lightning, where zipliners hit speeds of nearly 50 mph, and Point of No Return, with its breathtaking quarter-mile canyon. Today’s Mica Moon is more “hang time” than “hangover.” More info: Micamoon.com. //