Streaking in Wallace


October 17, 2018 | View PDF

Every year, my sister and I plan a get-away together. We choose a destination, set a date for our adventure, and off we go. When we lived a mile apart, our sister trips took us in any direction we wanted. Now that we live nine hours apart, we investigate locations approximately equidistant between our respective residences. This way neither one of us has a long travel time to reach our chosen vacation spot.

This year, we decided to meet in Wallace, Idaho, midway between my home in Virginia City and my sister’s home near Dayton, Washington. Wallace resembles Virginia City in that Wallace is an old mining town with plenty of interesting history. It offers a lot of attractions that we figured would keep two older ladies interested. So, the last week in September, my sister and I met in Wallace for a few days of visiting, hiking, perusing the town and area attractions, and enjoying good food and good wine.

We hiked the Pulaski Tunnel Trail, we walked on some of the 72-mile-long Coeur d’Alene bicycle and hiking path, we investigated museums, browsed in several of the shops, and we took a mine tour. We trudged up the many flights of steps to nowhere that allow pedestrians to climb the hillside from one street to the next, and we meandered all around Wallace. Good grief, after all the comments I made about the tourists we encountered this summer in Virginia City, here I was, a tourist myself, complete with camera, wandering the streets of an unfamiliar town.

Wallace allowed prostitution well into the 1980s, so of course we had to visit the Oasis Bordello museum. The upstairs of this building, where the girls plied their trade, remains unchanged from the night in 1988 when the girls packed their bags and left town, forewarned that the FBI intended to raid their establishment. The main floor of the museum has a lot of interesting little gems to view as well as offering unique and hilarious gift items. Naturally I had to again play tourist and purchase some humorous gifts for a few select people. I figured my offerings would bring a smile to the recipients’ faces, if not outright laughter.

As much as we enjoyed all the touring and hiking, the initial attraction that caught both my and my sister’s attention way back months ago when we first discussed meeting places, and which became an object of mutual interest and discussion, was the Silver Streak Zip Line. Before we ever left home for our little trip together, both of us talked about the possibility of trying the zip line. My sister admitted to me that trying a zip line happened to be one of the items on her bucket list. What better time than the present to cross something off one’s bucket list?

So, on our last afternoon in Wallace, we bought a zip line package. With several options to choose from, and without any idea how we would like this little adventure, we both purchased the (appropriately enough) bucket list package which gave us two chance to zoom down that little cable. For an additional charge, we could elect to add the Big Daddy run as well, but we opted not to take that. People in Wallace had mentioned the Big Daddy run to us and explained that a zip liner could see out across the entire valley when riding that line. Unfortunately, “too soon old, too late smart” won the day so neither of us had the sense to add that Big Daddy choice to our package.

Our guides got us harnessed, gave us gloves and hard hats, and off we went to the zip line course. We arrived at our first cable line, the guides gave us our instructions, checked our harnesses, and it was time to fly.

My sister went first. I watched her rocket along the wire and reach the other side safely. I sat in my harness staring at the thick cable heading downwards across the gorge and my legs felt bolted to the platform. All I had to do was lift both feet, and I would be plummeting along a cable stretched what looked like a very long distance across a very deep canyon. I took a deep breath, wondered why I thought I had wanted to do this in the first place, raised both feet off the platform, and I was off like the proverbial bat out of the nether regions.

The first ten yards, I thought “Oh crap, what have I done??” but almost immediately, the fear drained away, replaced by exhilaration and euphoria. I reached the end of the run feeling exultant and eager to tackle the next ride.

The second run consisted of two cables strung side by side, several yards apart, so two people could ride the wires together. Our guide told us people would use this particular stretch to race each other to the end of the line. My sister and I weren’t interested in racing, we just wanted to soar again. At the count of three, we leaned back into our harnesses, slipped off the platform with a mighty YEEHAAAAAAAAAA issuing from both our throats as we streaked across the canyon.

It ended too soon. Both of us loved the zip line, but I came away with three regrets. The rides didn’t last long enough, I should have bought the Big Daddy option as well, and I have no pictures of us streaking in Wallace. That is the sort of picture I like to drop into Christmas cards. It seems to add a little bit of flavor to annual greetings.

We did have a great trip this year, one that still brings a smile to my face, particularly when I recall the zip line experience. I have no idea where we will go for next year’s sister trip, but if one of the options includes a nearby zip line, I have a sneaky hunch that is the destination we will choose.


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