Last week I had the opportunity to take on the Aerial Adventure Park at Bristol Mountain for the first time. Mind you, I had never done a ropes course before, so this was a new, exciting experience for me. Read below for more information on my visit and tips for when you come to tackle the courses.
Before even stepping on the starting platform, there are a few things you need to do to prepare for your climb. First, you need to harness up before heading out to the course. After this, you will make your way to ground school (don’t worry, this is not like any type of summer school you are thinking of). Ground school is where the guides will explain to you what to expect so nothing comes as a surprise: the different types of cables and elements you will encounter, how to clip in and out of a specific course, the major do’s and don’ts, and key acronyms/colors/etc. to remember so that you can feel confident as you work your way through the different levels. From here, if all goes well, you will graduate and be set free to explore!
When I first got into the woods, I was amazed at all of the different elements that hung above me and how cool it looked, especially because you cannot see any of it from outside the entrance. When you get to the starting platform there is a lot to take in. Don’t worry! There is a guide stationed on the starting platform at all times to either point you where you want to go if you already have an idea or help you decide the best course based on your experience and comfort level.
Since it was my first time, I only ended up doing yellow (level 1) and green (level 2) courses, which were exhilarating! On all of them there was a variety of elements that involved cables, ropes, bridges, ziplines, and even snowboards! Of all of the parts of the courses my favorite was this standing series of wooden panels with holes for your hands and feet that you had to climb sideways across to make it from platform to platform. This one took me a while to figure out my approach and I definitely didn’t start off very graceful, but, once I got the hang of it, made it to the next platform very quickly. Not only was this one fun to do but it was also challenging. By successfully navigating my way through it on my own, I really enjoyed myself and wanted to high-five myself when I completed it.
This leads me to my biggest piece of advice for you: It is more fun to take on the harder elements and use trial and error to figure out the best way to get across, because it feels great when you do. So, try and push yourself outside your comfort zone by taking on a more difficult course or trying to conquer one on your own! Even though the Adventure Park itself was a blast, I think the confidence boost I got from completing everything myself was the best feeling of all.
Overall, no matter if you go through the course alone or with a group of your friends or family, you will without a doubt have fun. After you get geared up and go through a quick lesson of the rules of the course you are set free to do your thing and test your own limits. Even though there are guides all around to assist you when you need them it is on you to make the most of your experience and do exactly what you want to, so don’t feel pressured to follow in anyone’s footsteps.
If you are looking for more information before your visit I compiled a list of tips after talking with some guides and from my own experience that will guarantee you arrive at the top of the mountain feeling prepared and leaving with a newfound sense of confidence and potentially bragging rights about finishing a black level course. Check that post out here.
I would say that my time on the ropes course couldn’t have gone any better and greatly exceeded my expectations even after completing my adventure alone. So, be brave, step outside your comfort zone and into the trees because it will be the best decision you make!