If you go, hang on tight

SNN Staff Writer
After a 45-minute drive, a 15-minute how-to video and a quick practice course, you’re ready to go. You hook your rig every couple of loops as you climb up that first ladder. You reach your first obstacle, and after you finish it you think “psssh, that was easy,” and it is - but not all of TreeUmph is candy canes and lollipops.

I went to TreeUmph – an outdoor climbing and zip-lining park - with my boyfriend and his family on April 24, and it was probably the most fun I’ve had all year. It was my first time ever going to an adventure course, and I felt like a little kid in a candy shop.
TreeUmph is in Bradenton. For $50 you can zip line your way through four obstacle courses in the trees, and a fifth if you feel you can handle it. The first course is, of course, the easiest. Each course gets more intense, and at the end of the fourth you can either end it there or continue on to the ultimate course called the Summit. At the end of it all you get to ride the final zip line all the way back to the entrance.

One bit of advice, wear knee length shorts or pants. You’re hooked up to a harness the entire time and wearing anything shorter is not fun. The harness will keep pulling your shorts up, and there are other groups of people there, so wedgies are not the easiest thing to get rid of.

If you have a fear of heights, this is not the place for you. Each course gets higher than the last. The entire time you’re strapped into a harness held up by a wire in the trees. The first course mostly consists of some simple rope bridges and moving logs. The second is a more elaborate version of that. The third is where some of the more tricky things come in, including rock walls and rope swings into nets. The fourth is tougher and longer and it’s also where you have to make your final decision: to summit or not to summit.
At the end of the fourth course you can either go down and finish with the final zip line or go up a level and do one more course, the Summit. The Summit is the shortest course, but by far the hardest. Each obstacle gets harder than the last. And you might regret your decision when you have to maneuver through thin rings attached to the end of a ropes, and you’re swinging in all directions trying not to fall off or get stuck. But when you reach the end and get to ring the huge bell signifying you’ve successfully gotten through the Summit, it’s well worth the accelerated heart beat and shaky arms.

TreeUmph is so much fun. It’s not too expensive, or too far away. And it’s also a great workout. So hang on tight, steady your footing, and try not to fall