Thursday, July 12, 2007

Tree hugging is not for wimps!

It was greeted with some degree of personal trepidation when our team leader mentioned a few weeks back that at our next team meeting we would be embarking on a team building exercise that involved a high-wire forest challenge.

Despite choosing to pursue gliding as a hobby, I don't really have much of a head for heights - certainly when not firmly attached to something solid like a building or aircraft. I'm never that happy balanced at the top of a ladder.

And so it was, following the business part of our meeting, we headed to GoApe - a high wire experience situated in a Forest near Bracknell. We were harnessed up and received our basic training before being set loose on the course of four groups of aerial challenges, each one getting progressively further from Terra Firma.

Fortunately for me, there was always an easier route to choose to bypass the very difficult sections, but even the easier options involved a minimum of hanging from a wire and pulling yourself between two trees 20 feet apart.

Each section ended in a zip wire, with one stepping off the final platform into the air to slide not very gracefully into a pile of wood chippings which acted as a break.

The egging on of my colleagues prevented me from bailing out part way through and I completed the course exhilarated, if a little exhausted. Several of the sections were pretty scary but once you've started one it's as hard to return as it is to push forward.

You can see some more pictures of our experience here.


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