Climbing trees

The wonderful Kid Friendly DC blog was the source for our great adventure last weekend. Early Saturday morning we headed for Maryland – Sandy Spring, Maryland – which is home to the largest aerial forest adventure park in North America. If you are like me and was wondering just what an aerial forest adventure is, this picture might just give you a little clue…


At Sandy Spring you will find 13 different rope courses of varying difficulty. The courses consist of bridges made of ropes, cable and wood, which stretch between platforms, and usually finish with a zip line descent to the ground – for those of us from kiwi land, that would be a fancy sit down flying fox.


What was great about the park is that we could all take part. Because of her age, Edie was restricted to the beginner levels but they were just thrilling enough for her.

All suited up and ready to go.
All suited up and ready to go.
Edie Kinevil in action.
Edie Kinevil in action.

Olive was able to have a go at the slightly more challenging levels on the condition that she had adult supervision. Richard had been exploring the lower level courses with her and felt she could handle a bit more so he casually suggested “why don’t you go with Olive on one of the green levels?” After having a whale of a time with Edie on the very lowly purple courses, how could I say no? Oh, how I wish I had…

this was Olive...fearlessly tackling every bridge with great composure...
this was Olive…fearlessly tackling every bridge with great composure…
loving the thrill of being high up off the ground and having no problem dealing with all the clipping into and out of the safety lines...
loving the thrill of being high up off the ground and having no problem dealing with all the clipping into and out of the safety lines…
and this was me...yes I am crying!
and this was me…yes I am crying!

Actually most of it was really fun but on one particular bridge I completely lost my nerve. Three quarters of the way across I just froze and panicked. Somehow I made it to the other side where I proceeded to give the emotional tree hugging demonstration you see above. My humiliation was further exacerbated by my seven-year old bounding onto the next bridge with cries of “hurry up Mum” and the strange looks I was getting from the pre teens waiting behind me for their turn. Not one of my most dignified moments.

There was even an aerial skateboard.
There was even an aerial skateboard.

At the next available platform I gently suggested that we might like to get down now – there were exit points dotted around each course – but this idea was of course met with a resounding “no way!” And so I had to soldier on, which in the end was a good thing – the final zip line was worth all the preceding stress.

Croad climbers in action.
Croad climbers in action.
Olive enjoying her final descent.
Olive enjoying her final descent.
Olive's official zipline photo. The course photographer pretty much followed her around. he was pretty amazed at how well she was doing as she was clearly the youngest on our particular course.
Olive’s official zip line photo. The course photographer pretty much followed her around. He was amazed at how well she did as she was clearly the youngest on our particular course.
Very happy to be back on terra firma.
Very happy to be back on terra firma.

So we can all highly recommend the Adventure Park at Sandy Spring – unless you happen to suffer from vertigo, and in that case I would advise you to steer well clear! Or hold the jackets and take photos! One thing we do recommend is arriving early – it fills up really quickly which can lead to a fair bit of waiting around between bridges.

I’ll leave you with another official pic of Miss O. We were all incredibly proud of her bravery and determination – of course now she wants to go back and get even higher – gulp!


Take care everyone. We miss you all and send lots of love and go Team New Zealand!!

10 Replies to “Climbing trees”

  1. Actually I was proud of everyone – I thought the marriage was over at the particular point in the aforementioned photo, but Chrissy recovered with great aplomb – Edie was awesome too, she soon learnt how to clip in and out and was a lethal weapon on the zip-line – of course we had to take the final photo’s so hence they’re mainly of Olive and Chrissy.

  2. Guess after this the girls will find their special climbing tree at front of Vineyard
    renamed “no risk involved tree”. Guess the fort tree will be a piece of cake.!! Wow well done girls lovely to see Olive doing her thing and Edie tackling it too with aplomb. Good on you Chris for finishing
    I am surprised you were even game to go up there and overcoming your doubt
    of yourself takes courage……..and as your Mum I was so proud of my bairn.
    Love Mum

  3. I’m impressed Chrissy. Like you I would have been in tears and hugging trees.. someone would have had to coax me to get me down. Well done you for pushing your comfort zone..I know how hard it is. Jacqui xx

  4. Nothing but a well done from me Chrissie! I wouldn’t even go up. Yes you can ask me to stand on a horse whilst it is in full gallop but no way I am going higher than my trusty 1m55 high Angel. So very well done!
    Take care Croadies and know all of us at Da Vinci miss you too!
    Ow and the secret is out of the bag so feel free to tell who wants to know, I am also shouting it from the rooftops… I finally got engaged and will get married in December 2014 πŸ™‚

  5. Wow what amazing tree fairies Olive and Edie!! As someone who suffers from a strong fear of heights, I am so proud of my sister! I remember a similar experience climbing a tree canopy with Grace and Molly in Australia where I had to stop and take a deep breath several times throughout, being petrified the whole climb, while the girls thoroughly enjoyed the view πŸ™‚ My fear of heights has actually gotten worse since I had children and I reckon it’s all wrapped up with maternal hormones and an awareness of one’s mortality after becoming a parent. Well Done Chrissy and for giving your girls the courage to enjoy the climb. The tree house at the vineyard will certainly be a piece of cake for Olive and Edie πŸ™‚

    Oh and by the way speaking of climbing I read a funny quote the other day which I can’t resist sharing

    “the higher a monkey climbs, the more you see of his behind.” πŸ˜‰

  6. There is a tree park like this in Porirua Chrissy behind the gear homestead but i am not sure what the lower age limit is. How fabulous and such fun not that you would gwet me on any of those ziplines. You all look so healthy and happy. Helen apparantley banged in to Jacinta and Thanae in town a couple of weekends ago and thought she was the splitting image of Olive..we will see if you agree when we see you in December.

    Much love to you all..Jen xxxx

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