This weekend my husband and I planned a family outing to the Adirondack Mountains for a little climbing-only not by way of our normal hiking trails, but rather in the trees! That’s right; we went ‘Extreme’, Adirondack style and enjoyed a day full of thrills at the ADK Extreme Adventures, located in Bolton Landing, NY.
ADK Extreme is a place nestled in the woods just off exit 24 on the Northway providing those who travel here a chance to get a “monkey” –eyed view of the forest by completing a set of obstacles tethered high in the trees by cables. They offer five different “rope” courses, each becoming progressively higher off the ground and more difficult to maneuver. It is a great place to test your will, strength and determination all in a safe and structured environment with guides constantly at the ready to either talk you through your fear, or if need be, help you back to the ground.
Reservations are strongly recommended and after showing up for our scheduled 9:00am start time, I soon began to see why. This place was hopping! It also was a major plus that their website offered two coupons; one could be used first thing in the morning and one at a twilight session. We chose the morning session saving $10.00 per person – a BIG savings. The catch with this coupon deal-it is only good for the 8:30 or 9:00am time slot. We are early risers, so that was not an issue.
Soon after we received harnesses our group moved over to the first course so the guides could “teach us the ropes” so to speak. We learned how to safely clip ourselves to the safety cable, how to move from each obstacle to the platform surrounding the trees, learned how to set up and use our zip-line contraption and heard their strict warning policy. If you are caught not clipped correctly, you receive a warning. If caught again, they take you out of the trees and you are done for the day. If you go beyond your comfort level and need to be “rescued”, meaning helped back to the ground, well then you are done for the day as well. After this briefing, we were sent to what I thought was the practice course to try out our new skills. You are set off to the practice course but what they don’t tell you is that this is the beginning of course one.
Did I mention that I can be paralyzed in my tracks due to my fear of heights? Can you see the terror in my eyes??
I learned quickly to focus on what was ahead of me and not to look down trying to follow that saying people say “Whatever you do, don’t look down!” My son was the first to go through and he made it look easy. Then my daughter went and again, walked through the first course like a pro. Then came my turn; it took a little bit to find my footing on the moving log that was a first in a series of 8 that I needed to traverse. With my core engaged 150% trying to keep my balance, coupled with being so far off the ground (ok, I admit, I cheated and looked down) I was sweating buckets! I made it to the next platform and my husband would come up behind me and say “you are doing awesome, honey!” He could see the fear on my face.
I made it through course one.
Course two was a little more challenging. I found that my fear was turning more to focus and I began to feel a little more confident with wooden slat “bridges” that would move side to side with each step. The moving obstacles were challenging, but I felt comfortable doing them. That was until I came to what they called the “Tarzan Swing”, which was a rope that you had to swing across into a big net. For some reason, this is where my knees started to shake and I looked at my husband and said “I don’t know if I can do this.” He replied “Yes. You can.” I took a deep breath and leapt to what I was sure would be my doom. I grabbed the net and channeled my inner “Jack Black” the pirate and scaled it with ease.
I took another deep breath, this one drawn and exhaled with relief. The prize for my bravery? To clip in and ride a super long zip-line to the last obstacle of course two. This was the best (and my favorite) part of the course.
I felt a little apprehension to begin course three. At first I said no, that I was done, but after seeing my family ready to clip into another zip-line, I threw caution to the wind and yelled “wait up! I changed my mind. I’m going to do it.” With “Yay, Mom” still drifting in the air, I clipped into the zip-line and off I went. This course was higher and was full of moving logs, bridges and obstacles that sent me way out of my comfort zone. The last set of moving logs pulled something in my side and with each movement of trying to keep my balance it would send a message loud and clear “Hey! This hurts you know!” Thank goodness I was at the end and only a set of log poles to the finish.
When my feet were safely planted on the ground, I said “okay, now I’m done!” My husband and kids made their way to course four and up they went. I was so proud of them! They worked through the course with relative ease, however when finished, my daughter then said “okay, now I’m done!”
The boys decided that yes, they were going to attempt course number five, the hardest and most difficult. We wished them good luck and decided that we were going to go hit the cooler for a much needed drink and some lunch. We waited for about 45 minutes to an hour and finally heard “Hi Guys!” We looked up and saw that my husband and son were getting ready to race on the last zip-line.
We met them in the lodge to return their harnesses. My son gave me a hug and said “I had to be rescued!” The boy who shows no fear got a big dose of it and repelled to safety after the first obstacle. My husband said that he did not know how he managed to get through the course and that we were wise to stop when we did. That was good to hear that my “Spidey Senses” were working for me to keep me on the ground and stop while I was ahead.
If you are looking for something fun and different to do with the family, I would highly recommend ADK Extreme Adventure. We all agreed that this was a blast and it was great to share encouragement and high five’s for a job well done.
We will definitely make a trip back.
Check it out!
** Plan on a full day. We started at 9:00am and pulled out of the parking lot around 2:00pm; a little under an hour for each course. Pack a lunch and sit in the great little picnic area, or on the spacious deck off the lodge. There is a small snack bar inside that sells the typical fare along with cameras if you forget yours.**