For the past few years, people have been increasingly taking to the trees. With the addition of Muskoka Zip Lines & Aerial Park in Bracebridge this summer, there are now over 10 unique aerial parks all within a 2 – 3 hour drive of Toronto. There seems to be little question that this is becoming quite a popular activity for people of all ages. Most of these outings last a couple of hours, and can be a great way to spend a morning or afternoon escaping the grind of everyday. But what’s the big appeal? Why are all these people strapping themselves into harnesses to tip-toe across wobbly bridges suspended above rivers, or launching themselves between trees at 50 feet above the ground floor? Well, here are a couple reasons.
1. It’s like an extreme nature walk.
No buildings, no vehicles, and unless you want to risk it slipping out of your pocket and into the lake, probably no cell phones either. It’s the perfect escape, and you’ll be so engaged in making sure your next step is sure-footed that emails or deadlines, or what to make for dinner will be the furthest thing from your mind. What you will notice it that there are birds in the trees around you, that everything is so green, that the forest is alive. You’ll notice just how big and strong those trees really are, and you’ll know what real fresh air is like as it whips through your hair when you tackle your first zip-line. You’re always telling the kids to “go outside and play”, and this just might make you want to join them. Best of all, when properly built and maintained, most tree trekking courses are totally safe for the trees, and won’t impede growth or damage them at all.
2. It’s fun for the whole family.
Most courses are suitable for climbers aged 9 and up, and offer different levels based on a climber’s skill. It’s also fairly likely that, unless there is an experienced climber in your group, the playing field will be fairly level for kids and adults, so no one will feel left out, or left behind. In fact, some kids often have to wait for Mom and Dad to catch up, instead of the other way around. Make sure to look out for special group rates, as many places will offer discounts for groups of 10 or more people.
3. It’s a great team-building activity.
Climbing is without a doubt a team sport. Safety is of utmost importance when you’re climbing so high above the ground, and having a partner who can spot a tangled line or an improperly secured clip can be a big comfort. There’s also a big sense of accomplishment when you’ve all made it through the course, and nothing brings a team together like successfully overcoming a challenge like this. Some courses even offer corporate team building activities as part of a climbing package, definitely more fun than a regular day at the office.
4. It’s a total-body workout.
Have you ever tried climbing a tree for three hours? Tree trekking targets your arms, legs, core, and some stabilizer muscles you may not even know you had. Climbing up 50 feet is just the warm up; keeping your balance as you shuffle across a string of suspended planks that sways at every step is where you may break a sweat. Each step is the next rep, each new obstacle your next set, and by the time you’re done you won’t feel so bad about that cheat snack you had this morning.
5. It’s a great idea for date-night.
How many times have you gone to dinner and a movie? Or for Ice-cream and a walk through the park? Why not try something new? Tree Trekking is challenging, fun, and bound to increase your heart-rate. All the makings of a good date. Plus you may seem just a little bit more spontaneous and adventurous for suggesting something new and exciting like climbing trees. Besides, you can always go for ice-cream afterwards.