- Published on Saturday, 02 August 2014 13:22
- Written by Alexandra Hopwood
Once we were trained on how to use the gear and had completed a small, low-level "ground school" course, we were ready to tackle the full course. With a name like ZIPStream, I was originally expecting a lot of waiting around interspersed with a few minutes of pumping adrenaline on a zip line or two. What I actually got was much more than I had bargained for. ZIPStream Fall Creek Falls offers a full treetop obstacle course with all kinds of elements, such as wobbly bridges, slack lines, cargo nets, swings and traverses. Of course, there were several zip lines included - my younger son's favorite part. We walked out into a gorgeous, open forest of oak trees, and the course revealed itself before us. There were so many elements to take in; I didn't know where to begin. Ropes, cables, wooden elements and platforms stretched in all directions from just a few feet off the ground to high above our heads.
Our guides explained there were different levels, ranging from the easy green course to the expert black course. We took their recommendation and started on the easiest level. It took a few obstacles to really get the hang of transferring our SmartSnap Belay lanyards from one element to the next, but we soon picked it up. We conquered each new element as we went. Some were trickier than others. While the boys had no trouble scurrying across the balance elements, my husband and I wobbled around more. But with helpful hints from the guides on the ground, everyone took on the challenge.
By the end of the easy route, my husband and little one decided that was the course for them. They began it again, attempting a few elements they had missed when the course split into two paths, and trying to improve on the ones they had already accomplished. My older child and I embarked on the green course and then the blue course, the next levels up. The elements were more challenging and we were higher off the ground, but this just added to the thrill and sense of accomplishment as we took on the obstacles together. By the time we got to the red course, we were both nearing the limits of our comfort zones, but wanted to push ourselves and try it. Some types of elements that had seemed relatively easy on the green and blue courses suddenly seemed a lot more daunting at 40 feet above the ground! As we went through the course, we encountered people of all ages at different levels. There really was something for everyone out there. Watching some athletic adventurers attempt the black course, I was impressed by their ability and also confident it was not the level for me. We exited at the end of the red course, exhausted and proud, and rejoined the rest of our family, who had become experts on the yellow and green course.
The whole experience was a great bonding time for our family, the highlight of our Tennessee adventure. What a great addition for people looking to get a different kind of outdoor experience and a new perspective on the beautiful Fall Creek Falls State Park. ZIPStream is open through the fall season and the boys are already begging to come back and bring their friends on a weekend in October. I had such a great time myself, I'm thinking, "Why not?"
The next time back we plan on taking more time to visit Fall Creek Falls State Park. There are numerous hiking trails that follow deep gorges and lead to picturesque waterfalls. There is a large lake with boat rentals, biking trails, horseback riding and swimming both in a pool and in the cascades that lead to the falls. If it were up to my boys, we would have time for it all. For my husband and me, we'll have to wait until the leaves change and we have some more time off of work.
For more information or to book your tour, contact ZIPStream Fall Creek Falls at (615) 499-5779 or check out their website www.zipstreamfallcreekfalls.com. For information on lodging and accommodations at Fall Creek Falls State Park, call (423) 881-5298 or visit tnstateparks.com/parks/about/fall-creek-falls.