Notes from the Fox Den

by Josie Fox

They say its not what we have in life, but who we have in life that matters. And some of the most important people in my life call me “Aunt Earline”.

The relationship between an aunt and their niece/nephew is a unique one. Us aunts are like a second mother figure and a best friend all in one.

I had an opportunity to be the cool aunt and help my great niece Carolyn celebrate her ninth birthday on Saturday, Aug. 25, by zipping through the trees. My brother (her grandfather) organized a fun filled day for all of us at New York Texas Zipliine Adventures on Shultz Mountain in LaRue (which happens to be owned by our cousins Connie and Charles Shultz).

Eight of us, including the birthday girl; her little brother Thomas; her parents David Clay and Britteny; two of her uncles Noel and Trace,her grandfather Duane and I were assisted into our gear by some of the best zip guides, before taking a quick practice zip to ensure we knew how to properly brake and pull ourselves back up the line if needed.

Despite my fear of heights, I had an amazing day! I loved watching as Carolyn and my great nephew Thomas fearlessly zipped each line. There were even a few laughs at my expense as I was a little nervous about jumping off one platform and needed a little extra coaxing; and the time I struggled with my landing.

New York Zipline Adventures has been in operation for 10 years and was one of the few zipline parks open in the nation when they began operating in 2008.

Shultz Mountain offers breathtaking views of up to 30 miles and boasts that the homesite sits atop the highest elevation in east Texas.

The family home was one that many people growing up in Cherokee County would recognize as it used to sit on Hwy 69 where Payless Shoe was located in Jacksonville.

The 1910 historic house was relocated to the property in 2001 and has been lovingly restored. If you love good ‘ole fashion front porch sitting, then be sure to arrive early for any scheduled zip tours. Seriously, I could sit on their front porch all day, sipping a big glass of sweet tea and feel content.

The Shultzs’ left the area as undisturbed as possible when constructing the zipline so the views and wildlife would enhance the experience. It really is exhilarating to zip through the trees, over valleys and ponds, yet somehow peaceful at the same time. If you are looking for ‘sky high thrills’ then head on out to NYTX Zipline and tell them Earline sent you (my family calls me by my middle name).

All in all, it was a great weekend spent with family. Sometimes we don’t get to see each other as much as we would like to, so when we get together we try to make the most of it.