When starting an aerial adventure course, it’s good to have a goal in mind.
Sean Krajacic, one of our Kenosha News photographers, came to the new Boundless Adventures park to “crush this course.”
As for me, it was more about surviving it — with, hopefully, my knees (and my dignity) intact.
Boundless Adventures advertises itself as being an obstacle/ropes course for all skill levels.
With that in mind, I offered myself up to the ropes course gods as a middle-aged woman with a healthy fear of heights and no wish to test their safety harness system by tumbling off one of the rope bridges, swings and other obstacles we would face.
Sean runs and goes rock climbing and thinks nothing of hiking long distances over several days. In fitness terms, I’m fairly active — attending Jazzercise classes every week and walking my greyhounds every day — but am in no way ready to run a marathon. (Or to tackle the Boundless Adventures course they call “Extreme Insanity” … because, apparently, regular old insanity isn’t crazy enough.)
Boundless Adventures has nine courses, with increasing levels of intensity: yellow, green, blue and black — that “Extreme Insanity” course.
We headed off on a green course called Rough Terrain.
And rough it was.
Remember, Kermit said “it’s not easy being green,” and I assume he was talking about this very course. It was not easy to complete, but it was a challenge worth doing. As a bonus, it’s a great core workout, too, according to course manager Kait Miller.
Miller went through the course first, and I tried mightily to follow her lead. Assisting me was Conor LaRoche, one of what they call their “park monitors,” who are there to make sure you follow safety procedures — clipping on and off the wires correctly — and offering tips and coaching to climbers.
This Rough Terrain featured rope bridges, swinging logs to traverse, two ziplines, spinning wooden steps Miller calls “lily pads” and a labyrinth with wood triangles and wires (“bob and weave” is the way to move through it).
The one feature they all share is keeping you off balance as you move between small platforms in the peaceful trees of Bristol Woods County Park.
Tackling that course
My tips for a fun and successful Boundless Adventure:
Choose your course wisely. Everyone must complete a yellow course, then a green, then a blue before moving on to the ultimate challenge. If you find the yellow courses enough of a challenge, do all three of them. Otherwise, move on to green and, for something more daunting, the blue and black courses. As for me, green might be my happy place, which is fine. I just can’t believe they didn’t call one of the courses the Jolly Green Giant.
Get out of your comfort zone. Before Miller came to Kenosha to work for Boundless Adventures, she was a recreation manager at a retirement community. Asked if those folks could tackle a ropes course, she said, “A 94-year-old man did a ropes course and an 83-year-old woman ziplined to check it off her bucket list. So yes, everyone can do this. It’s all about pushing your boundaries.”
Go with your own strategy. Me? I’m a grabber — I like to grab and hold onto anything that helps me feel more secure. (That includes people, so watch out!) As a bonus, the next day, I could feel my triceps got a good workout.
Lift with your legs. “If you’re worried about your balance or upper body strength,” Miller advised, “then use your legs.”
And use your brain, too. A key to working through a course, Miller said, is problem-solving.
But if you still can’t problem-solve your way through an obstacle, ask for help. Course monitors are always nearby to coach you through the course and offer assistance.
But what if I STILL can’t cross that swinging bridge? Don’t panic; help is on the way. “We offer assistance,” Miller said, “which includes pulling you along on a zipline or helping you down on a ladder. We won’t leave you stranded on a course.”
Keep track, if you like stats. It took me about an hour to complete this course, including the pre-climbing safety lesson and getting all the gear together. According to my Fitbit, it was 1.6 miles and 3,500 steps. But who’s counting?
Have a comment? Email Liz at firstname.lastname@example.org or call her at 262-552-8102.