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The Trickle - Tarzan and George

August 19, 2013 - Brian Ferry
I felt like George of the Jungle the other day.

My family took a day-trip to Holiday Valley's new Sky High Adventure Park. It's a ropes and zipline course through the trees between ski slopes. Very cool. And, I must say, it felt very safe.

Throughout my three-hour tour (nothing to do with boats and castaways) I was swinging through the air, 10 to 60 feet above the ground, on a variety of contraptions. Most of these contraptions were not designed by people who were interested in making one's passage easy.

For example, one bridge featured steps that rolled - the chunk of wood I had to step on (and there were a bunch of steps) was not securely fastened and spun pretty freely on the axle. Others were made of nylon webbing. That's hard to walk on. Some just tended to swing away from where you wanted to step as you moved your weight. One obstacle's steps were simply ropes hung in a 'U'. Most of the bridges had cables to hold onto. That helped. The most challenging bridge for me was the one with just a nylon strap for a walking surface, reinforced every eight feet or so by wood. There were no handholds except the single cable the carabiners were hooked to directly above the track. So, as I walked, the strap moved - with my feet - out to one side, and my upper body either fell against the cable or fell away from it. I would then have to haul myself up from a steep angle to continue on.

The ziplines were fun. The longest was the very last, part of a group of six intended to help customers enjoy their trip back down to "base camp." That final zipline is about 350 feet long, according to Sky High information. I estimated it at 150 yards, so I wasn't too far off.

For those who are afraid of heights, this is a good place to start working past that fear ( disclaimer - I am not a licensed professional... anything... and you should not take my advice on matters psychological ). The courses were color-coded - yellow (easiest), green, blue, black, and double-black (hardest). I don't ski, but I assume this code is based on skiing difficulties.

On one of the blue routes - I didn't even attempt a black diamond - there is a pretty tall ladder that extends up at the end of a pair of challenging bridges. From the platform at the top of that ladder is a long zipline to the annoying strap bridge. The platform is 67-feet in the air, according to the experts on site.

Speaking of dangerous heights, the safety equipment featured two carabiners that worked together. One was locked and the other was not. Devices called tweezils (I didn't get a spelling) allowed the user to switch which of the carabiners was locked and unlocked. You clip the unlocked one onto the next line, tweezil it (yeah, it's a verb, too), which locked it and allowed the removal of the other carabiner from the previous obstacle. (You could only tweezil when the carabiner was in a certain position. Generally, that was over a firmly secured cable. I dangled from one obstacle. The system worked fine.) It was neat.

It's not cheap, but it was a good time.

And, for those less inclined to monkey around in the trees, there's a mountain coaster. That was fun, too.


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