This past Sunday morning, while most people fell back into the extra hour of sleep from the Daylight Savings Time change, I was swinging forward through the trees at South Florida’s only aerial adventure park: Treetop Trekking Miami.
Located at Watson Island, I arrived eager to take in the challenge, fun, and view throughout the six acres there, just across from Jungle Island’s cruise ports.
After getting harnessed and helmeted in the guest check building, I made my way to the course's starting point, where I and about a dozen other trekkers got a ten-minute instructional brief on how to use the equipment in and through the courses.
The Discovery Course, for kids 5-8 years old, gave younger thrill-seekers a chance to run through the jungle; all the while ziplining, balancing, and navigating bridges while they explore the sights within Miami’s newest attraction, which opened on National Adventure Day, October 14.
The Aerial Adventures Course, for those 9 years old and above, was split into two options:
Explorer Courses and Thrill Seeker Courses.
The Explorer Courses consisted of two yellow paths – the first one a beginner, the second an intermediate trail.
Making my way on to the first yellow route, the introductory hanging wooden boards were a cake walk, the second leg of it, however quickly ramped up the difficulty with rope secured logs crooked at each end in a zig-zag formation.
Already sweating and only a quarter of the way through, I realized I was in for a workout like I’ve never experienced before.
Now, I’ve done some fun novelty runs before like Foam Glow and Boot Camp Endurance Race, but dangling through trees as parrots shrieked around me is a whole other thing.
Exciting, exhilarating, and excruciating, this was a true treat; working every muscle I had, and even some I didn't know existed.
Nearing the final leg of the beginner course, I ziplined just fine until I found myself backwards, rolling back into the center of it, having to pull myself to the end hand-over-hand, amidst shouts of encouragement below from the staff and other participants along the course.
It was like all the best parts of Survivor.
As a result, after finishing it, I was itching to get to the next one – adrenaline is funny like that.
The next yellow path was even more intense and immersive, so with newly gloved hands, I pushed along further than I thought I could go and even higher through the forest canopy.
For those afraid of heights, this may not be your cup of tea, but if ever there was something you wanted to do to get over it, this is highly recommended.
“What?!,” you're surely wailing as you read along, but hear me out.
Yes, the height gets up there, but you’re so busy fighting through the courses of suspended bridges, nets, along wires, and across those ziplines (yes, I got better with them) that you don’t have time to really look down, you just want to keep moving.
Before you know it though, you’ll have to stop and get your bearings, and then you’ll realize how much natural leafy beauty surrounds you.
Because of this, I never moved so much, so high above it all; I was as awestruck as it was inspirational.
So after clawing my way through the intermediary yellow course, quaking with a mix of anticipation and burnout, I knew I had just enough energy and willpower to do the Green Run: the second to last line of the Thrill-Seeker Courses.
This one had all the best surprises, with a new combination of obstacles and ladders to climb and descend, and the most amazing views of the park, ponds, waterfalls, and even some lizards that I didn’t think were real until they blinked their approval of me sharing their high vantage point.
Several times along the way I now stopped to take it all in, reveling in the breeze above, and my morning advancements as I also paused to catch my breath.
It’s been a weird and tough time these last couple of months/weeks for us all I think; the world’s gotten to be a bit of a mess, and we’ve struggled for those moments of levity, where things didn’t seem so heavy all the time.
Perched on a board, attached to a pole, between yards of wire and rope above a jungle teaming with both humans and animals navigating their way below, I didn’t feel that light in a long time.
Thus, when I completed my journey and made it back down, drenched and delighted, I handed in my helmet and harness, and inhaled a hard-won breath of air.
And while I didn’t get to complete the last leg of the Treetop Trekking experience, the best adventures are the ones you get to take again.
So just like the Terminator, I’ll be back…
For more information, visit their website at miamitreetoptrekking.com to book online and save 15% with promo code miamizip15, or contact321-277-7310.