Category Archives: zip line

Requiem for Fallen Trees

Kids in trees are the natural order of things like bears in dens, or billy goats gruff on rocky outcrops. Trees are a roosting spot like no other free from the ground’s plodding predictability. The cool rustle of green’s shifting shades is a come hither and climb invitation. Hands and feet seek purchases pressing hard and making imprints against ridged, textured bark. From on high eyes pop and vistas roll away into the farther distance.

Aerially inclined

This summer and fall it’s tree-a-go-go in the backyard PlayLAB. Aerial is the unrivaled attraction and trees become the default play zone. It seems like the climbable trees all have their own complement of kids with disembodied voices and eyes squinting through leaves. It’s a wonderful state of affairs until the unrelenting winds and thrashing rain of Hurricane Dorian fells three trees, friends really, members of the neighbourhood gang.

Moving up

In one afternoon’s blow years of familiarity and fun are vanquished. No longer will super heroes, engineers, builders and highwire artists make the trees central elements of ever changing stories. No longer will shimmering whispers in the boughs precede a rainy wind’s arrival. The reduction in enticing billowing green means fewer birds to nest, less morning song.

Super Heroes Secret Lair

It is more difficult to experiment now. Hammocks, zip lines, looped ropes, pulleys and bridges will struggle to see the light of day in the backyard PlayLAB. And what of the drop down grin ‘n gasp when a tree dweller lands with a cushioned bump on the ground giving a start to an unsuspecting friend passing by underneath. These surprise gotcha moments are gone as are the hiding places for myriad games.

DIY Hammock

Many aerial adventures are preserved in images and memories. Parts of the tree have been repurposed. Twigs and kindling fuel fire. Stouter branches are walking sticks for Cub Scouts. For now, the trunks are testaments to the fragility of great strength and the resilience of children in accepting changed circumstances.

Before the snap

There is one tree left in the PlayLAB. It is in frequent use. I believe the kids have a better appreciation for its presence, for its possibilities.

Thanks trees, we miss you….

More treealicious reading here.

The last climb

 

 

Zip zip hooray

Skimming inches above the ground attached to a pulley hurtling down the line is an adrenalin charged zip, zip hooray moment. A steady stream of kids cycles through to the top of one of the twin ‘towers’ preparing to be airborne. Two zip lines, four feet apart are an invitation for back and forth races covering a distance of 100 feet.

Hands tightly grip batons as the zippers run down the 20º take-off slope before they launch — dangle — zip, or launch — drag — sputter in the sand.

This is a legs up course as there isn’t much clearance to glide over the ground surface. Either the lower legs are bent and thrust behind the zipper, or the legs are held in front of the body – both are a real workout for the abs. Of course where there are kids, there are variations….

Like the feet first ‘slice’ cutting through the air…

The ‘hopper’ reminiscent of a frog getting ready to spring off a lily pad.

Or as we can see below the closed-eyes wishing (left) and the eyes open, dust kicking dishing (right),

And the ‘going for the gusto’ parallel power start.

This zip line is located in New Brunswick’s Fundy National Park a two minute drive from the main visitor centre at the Alma entrance. There is a large grassy area, picnic benches and a variety of play structures. Our kids frittered around the other pieces but it was really the zipper that held the day.

Truth be told the kids haven’t encountered a functioning zip line they didn’t love. It’s the derringer-do, the exhilaration of defying gravity and yes, where there are double lines, the fun and thrill of racing…..

For Nova Scotia readers, there are a couple of new zip lines that have been installed recently in Kentville’s Oakdene Park

Zip you later…