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Friday, June 27, 2014

Go Ape Adventure

Last week, Josh & I took a day off and went to the Go Ape Treetop Adventure Course at Eagle Creek Park.  We'd both been wanting to do it since it opened in 2012.  It's much more than just a zip line - it's an entire high ropes course with rope ladders, swings, bridges & other crossings.  We had so much fun!  It takes 2 to 3 hours to complete the course, so we definitely got our money's worth. 

I'm not really afraid of heights, but I was still a bit nervous.  Even after 13 weeks of boot camp, I still don't have much upper arm strength, and for some reason I thought that I had to hold on & partly support my weight on a zip line.  I knew there was a harness to keep me from falling, but I didn't realize the harness actually holds me completely and don't have to hold on at all.

The course started out with a small version just a few feet off the ground where the instructor showed us how to connect to the safety lines and watched us do a bridge crossing and a zip line.  I realized from this instructional course that I was completely supported by the harness, so my nerves disappeared & I was ready for the real thing.

After instructions, we were free to do the rest of the course at our own pace.  The Go Ape philosophy is that it's not really an adventure if you are supervised.  Of course, staff members are walking around on the ground nearby, and we all had whistles to blow if we needed help, but we could play around on our own without having to follow a tour or schedule, which was really fun.

The course is actually 4 different courses, each beginning with a rope ladder that we climbed up into the trees.  Each course consists of various crossings, swings, tunnels, & bridges; sometimes splitting up into different routes of varying difficulty; and each course ends with its own zip line.

We had a great time figuring out the best way to navigate each crossing.  Of course when offered the choice, we always took the more challenging route.  And the zip lines!  How do I begin to describe them?  I have never felt anything so close to flying, not even roller coasters.  The harness was holding me very comfortably - I didn't feel like I was hanging, but yet I felt secure.  I just jumped off the platform, flung my arms out, & flew! 

Josh really loved the Tarzan swing.  We hooked up to it same as we did to the zip line, but once we jumped off the platform, we are at the end of a huge rope swing.  We swung across into a great big cargo net, which we then climbed up to the next platform.  And yes, climbing the cargo net brought back memories of the playground at elementary school.

Check out the video below to see Josh playing Tarzan:

Of course Josh & I discussed the possibility of living up there on those platforms & bridges when the zombie apocalypse happens.  No way could a zombie climb those rope ladders, or navigate any of the crossings.  It's only 4 miles from our house, so it's a reasonable plan.  I think the zombies would be occupied eating all the deer in Eagle Creek Park for a while, anyway, so we'd have time to expand those platforms into comfortable shelters.  And bonus - there's a Pistol Range at Eagle Creek as well, so we'd have access to some weapons & ammo. 

All silliness aside, we really had an amazing time.  In addition to the one here, there are Go Ape locations in Missouri, Virginia, Delaware, Pennsylvania, and Maryland.  If you live near one or your travels take you there, we both highly recommend you go on your own adventure.

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