On Saturday, my friend Rachel and I headed up to Rockville, MD to take part of a fun outdoor adventure called Go Ape. It was part rope course, part zipline, and a TON of fun. I’m not awesome with heights, nor with forcing myself to jump off of high ledges, but I had a total blast! I was a little concerned about the weather, but since the entire course takes place in the shaded woods, it was actually not bad. I still got super sweaty (what else is new?), but definitely didn’t overheat.
They have start times every half-hour, so we signed up for the 12:00 group. Once you get there, they have you fill out a liability form (duh), and then they take your entire timeslot through a little safety session. They saddled us up with sweet and totally flattering (HA!) harnesses, told us the most important rules (always stay attached!), and had us perform a demonstration on a little 4-feet-off-the-ground practice area.
If we passed the test, we were sent off to do our thing! There were probably four or five different stations, all of which began with you climbing up a rope ladder into a tree. This was actually the most physically demanding part of the course, in my opinion, since I’m not very coordinated. Still, once you made it to the top of the platform, everything else was mostly just a matter of balance and fear-conquering.
Once you were actually up and going through the course, there was a whole variety of obstacles and ways to cross: tightrope lines, swinging platforms, a swinging tunnel, etc. Some were fairly challenging, and some were pretty easy.
I’m not the most balanced person in the world, but I found it all very do-able. At some points you were also given the option to take an easier or harder path forward, so everyone was able to get through each course at the level they were comfortable.
One thing that I really liked about Go Ape is that even though you start at the same time as 8 – 10 other people, you don’t all have to stick together. You and whoever you came with can go at your own rate (the instructors don’t lead you through the course). Since it was just Rachel and me, and we’re both relatively fit people, we went through each course pretty quickly, and thus got stuck waiting behind other people fairly frequently. Our instructor told us to treat it like mini-golf, where if there are people behind you that are moving more quickly, you let them go ahead of you. So even though we tried to go the longer/harder ways almost every time, at one point we got stuck behind a really big group, so we cut ahead via the “easy” route to save time and jump ahead.
The last thing you did at each station was zipline down to the next area! The ziplining was definitely my favorite part, although I didn’t accomplish it particularly gracefully because I was always landing sideways or backwards. At one point, both of my shoes flew off when I was trying to stop myself, hahaha. Only me, right?
The only time I really started to freak out and contemplated not doing an obstacle was near the very end. They had a couple of “Tarzan Swings”, where basically you are literally just strapping yourself onto a rope and jumping off a ledge. The first one was kind of like a practice one, so it was okay, but the one near the end was REALLY high up. Rachel had to do a little bit of coaxing to get me to do it, but — be proud of me! == in the end I took the literal leap of faith. Well, I guess it was really more like a crouch-down-and-step of faith. But still! For your entertainment, she also filmed it so you can all hear me screaming like I’m about to be murdered. Totally normal reaction, right?
You’re welcome for that. I’m pretty sure my face in the next photo just about sums up my feelings about that entire experience:
So yes! Go Ape was super fun, a great “secret” workout (since you’re not thinking about all the muscles you’re using until they remind you the next day, haha), and I definitely recommend it. They have a few different locations — the one here in Rockville, one in Williamsburg, and one out in Indianapolis — and I’m sure there are other companies out there that offer something similar. I think the total price ended up somewhere between $55 and $60 with tax and whatnot, which was fair in my opinion because the staff was great, the equipment was clean and seemed fairly new, and they had water stations at the start of every course.
Three cheers for adventure!
Do anything adventurous with your weekend?