Climbing To New Heights
Hiking is on the top of everyone’s to do list each summer, but that’s not the only outdoor adventure to be had in Snohomish County. Nope, there are local businesses that allow you to get wet (rafting, kayaking) and soar to new heights (climbing, zip lining, and ballooning).
If the second type is what gets your adrenaline pumping, then High Trek Adventures is the place for you. It not only offers a course that allows you to climb and make your way through 1800 feet of obstacles, but three zip lines that will bring you back down to Earth.
Sadly, I didn’t get to personally enjoy all of these things. Someone had to stay on the ground and get photos and video after all (yep, there is a downside to being SnoCo Gal). Not to worry though, I not only sent The SnoCo Kid and friend up for the kid experience, but our constant hiking companion, Paula of Vivid Experience Candles (Marysville) as well to give me some big kid perspective.
After getting all strapped in and learning about using the safety lines to move from one obstacle to the next, my group took to the course. It offers 60+ obstacles of varying difficulty and spans three levels (15, 30, and 45 feet off the ground). As I’m sure you can guess, the higher you go, the more difficult the obstacles get. There is, however, an easier way to get all the way up to the third level so that all can participate in the zip lines.
I was a bit nervous as they got started, realizing quickly just how responsible each kid and adult is for their own safety as they make their way higher and higher. Those safety lines they learned about, have to be moved one line at a time, from one obstacle to the next, and there is no net to catch you if you make a mistake. I do a lot of crazy things, so worrying is just par for the course I guess.
The kids did struggle a bit the first few obstacles, but soon caught on to how they worked and did a great job of remaining serious and not playing around when it came to changing from one obstacle to the next. They thankfully put all of my worries to rest by the time they started moving higher.
They did come back again when it came to them being responsible for connecting to, and using, each zip line, but once again they rocked it and made it through all three without issue. So, rest assured, if you send kids up on the course and zip lines solo, they will do just fine. All you need to do is listen in on the safety talk and be there to help guide them from the ground.
Enough about all of that though, let’s get to the course itself. The first level is accessible for those 4 and up, and is a good place for all ages to familiarize themselves with safety and the obstacles. Those 7 and up are able to head higher up (must be able to reach 70”). The two kiddos in our group are 11 and 12. They were easily able to navigate the first level as well as the second one. Only one took on a few obstacles on the third.
Taking the time to scope out and plan where you are headed beyond the first level is a really good idea, as there are varying degrees of difficulty within levels, not just from one to the other. As the kiddos found out once or twice, you don’t want to get stuck in front of an obstacle you can’t, or don’t want to, do since backtracking and alternatives aren’t always available.
Lucky for them, they had a world class navigator on the ground to guide them in the right direction for getting up and back down when necessary. That’s me, in case you are wondering. Helping out those above is an awesome way for those stuck on the ground to get in on the action in a way that involves more than just being the designated picture taker.
I literally had just as much fun as they did for the entire 1 1/2 hours we were there. From guiding them and having to run around the bottom of the course to keep up with them all as they spread out and went their own ways, my mind and body got a workout. More importantly, I laughed harder than I have in a long time.
At what? Well, the more challenging the obstacles get, the more interesting it gets to watch people trying to get past them. The kiddo that made it to the third level was a trooper, pushing through obstacles that were hard for someone with short arms and legs. I watched her get creative and couldn’t have been more proud that she didn’t give up once. She has a future as a true adventurer ahead of her.
Don’t go thinking the adults get off any easier though. Paula was definitely a rock star on the course. Then again, she’s almost a black belt, so I’m not surprised. That doesn’t mean she wasn’t immune to getting stuck or struggling. Ask her about the spiderweb obstacle … seriously, do it! I’m pretty sure that was the only one she backed down from.
And, before you even ask … no I did not get photos or video of any of the struggles and bloopers my group experienced. As someone who would have probably experienced them more than anyone in the history of the course, I wouldn’t do that to anyone. That decision wasn’t just about feeling their pain though, there was more to it than that.
What stopped me? That one is easy. Even from the ground, I could tell how much the course is about more than just having fun and an adventure. It is also about challenging yourself and overcoming the sometimes very difficult obstacles in your path. So, as I took pictures and videos, I chose to focus on moments that would make my group feel good about themselves and proud of what they accomplished.
I don’t think they needed the photographic and video evidence to feel that way though. All of them came down from the course and zip lines feeling less like they just spent an 1 1/2 playing around, and more like they accomplished something big. So, bottom line, High Trek is a place to go to have fun, to challenge yourself, and to have a bit of adventure in a safe and controlled environment.
You won’t find any bears there, and you definitely aren’t going to be in the middle of nowhere with no cell service or anyone in sight. Unless that’s the kind of thing you want. As for me, I prefer a bit of both, so I look forward to more adventures in the great outdoors and to coming back to enjoy High Trek for myself (no, there probably won’t be any photo evidence of that).
Find out more at www.hightrekeverett.com!
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