Sunday, October 3, 2010

Learning the Ropes

Ever wonder what ski mountains do when there's no snow?  We found one on the border of New York and Massachusetts that took to the trees while the weather was still good.  When Brett scored two $45 tickets to the Catamount Adventure Park for only $20 on craigslist, we knew it was a great deal!  But, as we quickly learned, at this adventure were the ride.

To the Trees!
Nestled in a five acre wooded setting at the base of the mountain, the Catamount Adventure Park turned out to be an aerial forest challenge!  More than 130 platforms with configurations of cables, wood and zip lines connected the maze.  Seriously, it looked like we had landed on Endor when we first walked up!  The place appeared as though it had been designed by Ewoks, but really Swiss Alpine mountaineers helped build the park to the standards of the American Challenge Course Technology.  Our first lesson was how to stay hooked into the trees!  We were suited up with harnesses and leather gloves and sat through a demonstration lesson before officials turned us loose.

Nine courses in varying degrees of difficulty tested our balance, agility, focus and strength.  (And for a while there, Heather was sure she had none of those things)  The courses were color coded for difficulty: yellow, green, blue, black and double black.  You had to start on a yellow course to work your way up...much like the bunny hill on the ski slopes.  It took a little bit to get the hang of it, but once we did we were off!  Zip lines shot us through the forest and we dangled high in the air over the tops of trees while our adrenaline was working over time!  Talk about working up a heart rate!

This course was not a good idea for anyone with a fear of heights!   By the time we progressed to the blue level courses, we were easily 30-40 feet off the ground.  The self guided tours took us through obstacles that made you feel like you were a contestant on Fear Factor, minus the bug eating.  If you just tried to focus on the wires and not look past to the forest floor, then you were okay.  It was hard to remember that even if you did lose your balance and fall, your safety harness would catch you.  For the true chickens, the course had staff members with ladders that would come get you out of the tree...but honestly, going down those ladders looked scarier than most of the obstacles.

Of course, Brett had done ropes courses before and was practically a pro at it, but this was a first for Heather.  Her first thought was "This is what it's like to be on Circus of the Stars!"  She spent a considerable amount of time worrying about crashing into trees coming off the zip lines.  Her yelps of excitement/fear were just part of the howls from the other Ewoks folks on the course.  To participate at the adventure park you had to be older than 8, be able to read the rules and weigh less than 275 pounds....good thing we had just finished the Mean Diet!

The ropes course was a ton of fun and a great way to get your exercise!  We spent three hours playing in the trees and woke up super sore the next morning.  We never made to the black levels, but we're pretty happy with our progress.  Nothing like spending the day feeling like a flying squirrel!

Here's a look at our highlights:

The official video from Catamount Adventure Park: