Survival Skills 101: Night Time Treetop Trekking

Treetop trekking is just one of those experiences that feels exhilarating to defeat – you know, in case you’re being hunted down in the woods like in Hunger Games and only have a helmet, a harness, two carabiners, and a pulley at your disposable to keep on the move. I was able to find a Living Social deal earlier in the year that offered a 3-hour night time aerial treetop trekking experience at Horseshoe Valley Resort (Barrie) for only $30. Otherwise, the price is double that, but may still be worth it for the experience.

Upon our arrival, the staff suited us up in our helmets and harnesses, and gave us a quick tutorial of how to use the carabiners (metal clips typically used in rock climbing) and pulley systems. They also told us to trust the equipment, as each carabiner can hold up to 5,000 lbs of weight. Since you’ll have two attached to the wires at all times, this allows for 10,000 lbs of weight. In other words, you’ll be safe once you stop screaming your head off if you fall off the courses by accident. There won’t be any opening scenes of Cliffhanger here. I was actually surprised the staff placed so much trust in everyone to learn the steps of how to set up their own pulleys before zip-lining between trees. After the first two tutorials and the big zip-line ride, you’re basically on your own to figure out how to proceed through the courses.

Treetop trekking will absolutely put your mental and physical state to the test. You’ll be walking across tight ropes/wires or planks of wood with very little to hold on to, forced to take a leap of faith on a knotted rope to Tarzan across to the other side, and tested if you were paying attention to how to set up your own pulleys to zip-line from one tree to the next. The main thing is to be patient, cautious, and to damn well use your common sense! Just go at your own pace and once you’ve finished the courses, you’ll be amazed how you survived all of that.

If you’re serious about treetop trekking, check out the FAQ below! Enjoy!

FAQs:

Q) Who can tree trek?
A) Generally, anyone (over the age of 16, under 250 lbs) who is at least 5 feet tall – the reason being (I would assume) that some of the courses require you to stretch out your arms across tightropes/cables… and if you’re any shorter than that, it’s going to be difficult for you to cross from one end to the other, unless you plan on dangling the whole time.

Q) What should I bring with me?
A) You can carry a small backpack with you while you’re climbing, but just be aware you will be carrying a heavier load and will be sweating a lot.
- Gloves (you will want to avoid rope burn)
- Water (good idea to stay hydrated)
- Hair Tie (keeping hair out of your face is a must and you’ll have to wear a helmet)
- Bug Spray (if you’re scared of the little critters and actually believe this stuff works)

Q) What should I wear?
A) Comfortable, breathable clothing like a T-shirt or tanktop and shorts. You must wear closed-toe footwear; I would recommend running shoes that are more flexible at the sole, as you will be balancing on tight ropes and planks.

Q) How dark will it get for night time tree trekking?
A) The time slot that I went for was from 7pm to 10pm in July, so it only got dark around 9pm. Hard hat helmets are supplied with a head light, only good enough to see what’s in front of you. We were pretty tired by about 9:30pm though. Call the place ahead to book your appointment though, as you may get a different time slot.

Q) When is the best time to go?
A) From what I’ve heard, May/June has a lot of bugs including an abundance of caterpillars… ick. I went in July and it was bug-free (minus a few mosquitoes flying around), although a bit hot at times. I can only imagine August and September would be nice too, although more susceptible to rainy weather.

Q) How many courses do I have time to get through?
A) Generally they start you off with 2 out of the 3 beginner courses. Then you’ll have time to do 1-2 intermediate ones. Obviously you’ll get to cover off more areas if you move fast or don’t have to wait for anyone in front of you.

Q) What happens if I’m in the middle of a course and I want to quit?
A) Umm… I don’t know if you have a choice really haha. There’s no where to go but forward. So if you’re tired or scared, just let the person behind you go first and take your time. Pace yourself. You wouldn’t believe just how much your body and mind will push you to keep going; it can be quite motivational.

THE DEATS:

TREETOP TREKKING @ HORSESHOE VALLEY RESORT
Regular Price: ~$73.00/person
Address: 1101 Horseshoe Valley West, Barrie, ON L4M 4Y8
Phone: 705-835-7600
Website: http://treetoptrekking.com/