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Go Ape September 21, 2016

Posted by Kenny Norman in west.
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Ebony and I went to Go Ape, an outdoor treetop obstacle course with ziplines, last Saturday. We had to book our spots in advance online and it cost $58. We almost didn’t go because it was forecast to rain a lot that day. Thankfully, the rain let up by 1:00 and the rest of the day was 83 and sunny, although Go Ape would let us reschedule in case of rain. Ebony met me at my house at 3:00 and we made it to Eagle Creek park, where Go Ape is located, by 3:40. I had Ebony pay the $5 entry fee so she didn’t have to chip in for gas. We had to fill out some paperwork and sign some releases, which made me a bit nervous. The lady at the desk offered to take all the stuff from my pockets, such as my wallet, phone, camera, and keys, and hold it. I liked having that option because I was worried that stuff would fall out while ziplining. Instructors got our harnesses on, which felt surprisingly not uncomfortable. By that, I don’t mean they were comfortable, just that I was surprised at the lack of discomfort. We met some other people in our group, including one middle eastern lady named Monica who ran right up to us and started talking to us. I like that. Another guy, who I think was her husband, was with her. Another middle eastern guy named Ryan was there with his dad. Monica looked a little older than we did while Ryan looked a little younger. During training, Ryan was our guinea pig! We got a little delayed because a group of six guys (five of whom looked to be our age) showed up at the last minute and were added to our group because our group was the last one of the day. We trained for a good 15 minutes about how to transfer from cable to cable and to ALWAYS stay attached. For this to work, and for people to stay alive, they REALLY have to put their total faith in their equipment, which isn’t a problem as long as you stay attached. After you do that on the training line a few times, it becomes second nature. You attach a green hook on the rope to the green hook on your belt as you climb up a ladder. You then attach a red hook and a blue hook on your harness to a red hook on the rope. THEN you climb the ladder. After that, you transfer the red hook to the red cable and then you transfer the blue hook to the cable. Next, you disconnect the green hook on the rope from the green hook on your belt. You walk over to the steel cable and you place the blue pulley on, then you transfer the blue hook from the red cable to under the pulley. Then, you transfer the red hook to the red cable and place the red hook above the pulley. At that point, you’re safe to zipline or run across treetops. It will involve EITHER a pulley OR a green hook- not both. It sounds like a long explanation, but it becomes second nature after training a few times. As an added bonus, you could do the two training ziplines at no cost because you could get a full refund up until you entered the ladder for the first zipline- that was the point of no return where no refunds would be given. We went on five ziplines, though I thought there were six, each of which took three or four obstacles to get to. Each zipline began with climbing a ladder surrounded by a fence with a lock and a code. I had frequent trouble opening the door despite entering the correct code. Some of the obstacles had an “easy path” or a “hard path” to take to the next step. I always chose the easy path, and as a result, I finished second out of our group. On the obstacle course, we had to walk across several literal tightropes, some rickety bridges, and some planks. Some of them I found genuinely difficult, while others I found easy and was mystified by others’ complaining. At one point, I had to ‘climb’ a net laterally to get from one point to another. That wasn’t that bad. I even went on a mock zipline with a rope below the cable to get to the real zipline! The final zipline almost nearly went over the water and the view was breathtaking, to say the least. In fact, this was probably the most breathtaking experience I’ve had all year. And keep in mind I spent two weeks last February in Florida with Disneyworld and a cruise. Go Ape wins! I find it totally worth the $58 we spent. I only wish I had brought gloves because holding onto the ropes, cables, and lines irritated my hands after a point. Granted, I was grasping very hard, and the irritation was minor, but I think gloves would have helped. Also, we came in for some rough landings. The ziplines do not slow toward the end; you come in full force in a pile of mulch. Most people land hard on their butt and it hurts, but at least they get little mulch on them. I tumbled and rolled to disperse the impact like I was taught in karate, which worked, but I had mulch ALL OVER. Thankfully, I had clothes to change into at the marina afterward, but that’s when I learned that I should just bring clothes I don’t mind getting dirty next time. And yes, Ebony and I have concluded we’re doing this again in the spring. Plus, the people at the front desk said we can get a free t-shirt on our next visit!