Zip-a-dee-doo-da, this isn’t.
When you find yourself nearly 50 feet in the air, the breezy zip lining adventure you thought you signed up for has taken a turn to the wild side, testing your mental focus, bicep fibers and relationship with heights. And you’re absolutely glad you came.
The adventure in question is the new Go Ape Lums Pond zip lining and treetop adventure course, the only course of its kind in the state and one of only four courses in the Mid-Atlantic region. What began as a proposal from Go Ape Treetop Adventure Courses led to a partnership with the state’s Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control to construct a $500,000 course, which opened for business on June 22, 2013.
“The feedback we’ve gotten has been overwhelmingly positive,” says Dan D’Agostino, Go Ape’s USA managing director. “Lums Pond is one of most exciting courses, especially with the lines going right over the water. What makes for an exceptional course is the topography and the landscape, and the park is just gorgeous.”
The site’s season is set to last from March through December, with an anticipated 15,000 adventurers testing their mettle this year alone. If you’re one of them, you’ll encounter a course consisting of five separate stages, four zip lines spanning Lums Pond and 3,166 total feet of don’t-look-down crossings from tree to tree—which can be anything from solid walkways to less familiar footing in swinging foot rings and the like.
Don’t panic just yet. Safety is the No. 1 priority for all involved, and staff members take great pains to ensure everyone is qualified to move from stage to stage with confidence and course-awareness in mind. You’re harnessed in at all times, and the system of carabiners, clips and everything else in your easy-to-navigate rig provides all measures of safety for all areas of the course.
And what if you just happen to get stuck somewhere? Maybe you were so excited to soar across the pond you bungled your equipment and ended up getting stuck on the line and (safely) hovering dozens of feet over water, wishing you weren’t that person. Well, fear not. The expert staff at Go Ape can handle any situation, even if it means shimmying across the line to drag buffoons to safety. Not that this happened.*
Once the end of each course is reached, it’s zip line time. Once you’re on the line and darting across the pond, the experience is a relaxing, albeit quick, aerial perspective you’re unlikely to find elsewhere. The hard part is fighting the innate urge to maintain breathe and pulse, which, in this case, meant going limp off a treetop. Try anything once, right? Trust Go Ape, you’ll be glad you did.
After all was said and done, it was an action-packed two-and-a-half hour romp through the trees at Lums Pond, and the wind in your eyelashes during a 700-foot dash over the pond makes this activity well worth the $55 price tag. If you’re thinking about going, see the tips below to find out if a Go Ape adventure is right for you.
What to Know if You Go
- Some restrictions are in effect. No one younger than 10 year old or weighing more than 285 pounds may participate in the Go Ape course.
- The motto for the course is as such: “If you can climb a rope ladder, you can do this course.” That is certainly true, but it’s also good to know this is going to be a workout. We took sore abs and arms home as souvenirs.
- Comfortable clothes and shoes you can get dirty are a must. A pair of lifting gloves or any other hand gear designed to combat friction will be helpful, but not necessary. Go Ape has approved hand gear for sale at the Lums Pond office, but be sure to clear your gloves with personnel if you bring your own.
- You’re likely to start out in a group, which will be divided up based on ability and speed. Whether you go alone or with a family, your desired speed of completing the course can be accommodated.
- There are water coolers at each stage, so leave the clunky bottles (and everything else for that matter) in the car. You really don’t want to be carrying anything extra.
- Look down. Might sound scary, but where else will you get the chance?
* It happened.