Not far from the city of Charlotte, North Carolina, the 1,300 acre U. S. National Whitewater Center provides family-friendly fun for all ages and fitness levels. This amazing outdoor facility offers whitewater rafting, kayaking, paddle boarding, rock climbing, ropes courses, zip lines, and more than 30 miles of mountain biking trails. On a Thanksgiving weekend, my family embarked on a family endeavor to mitigate the potentially damaging intake of holiday food.
Our quest began as a desire to zipline, but after comparing ticket bundle options, my brother, sister-in-law, nephew and myself all opted to encompass the precursory adventure of a ropes course. Learning the ropes always means embracing a new adventure, but re-learning how to walk again, afterward, was not on our agenda.
Although you have an a la carte choice to zipline only, my family chose to heed the advice of Johnny Cash and “walk the line.” The first time stepping from a solid platform to unstable rope lines is intimidating, but there’s a lot to hang onto on that first pass across the treetops. What lie ahead – a single line with a single overhead rope – was a true test of balance, muscle, and confidence. I did well at the start, but on the final stretch, I faced failure. And had to laugh.
As I hung there dangling in the trees, awaiting rescue by a muscular, fair-haired knight, I grinned, shook my head and silently kicked myself for listening to the advice change my footing to side step. While this was the way THEY successfully navigated the tightrope, I took a spill to oblivion. In retrospect, I should have walked that line the way this aged-out gymnast would conquer a painted-on parking lot line; with previously trained turned-out feet, and shoulders held high. Why did I not do that?
The camaraderie and encouragement felt through a day of ropes course teamwork is something all families should take a moment to experience. And, our inability to walk up and down steps the following day proved to be an unexpected secondary team-building experience.But laughter ensued. We endured both the challenges and the aftermath – together.
Whether you are near Charlotte, North Carolina or plan a visit to the area, I highly recommend an excursion to this fabulous family playground. And, check out their calendar of special events. Why not challenge your family to a fun run or watch a competition from the water’s edge?