Sunday, February 19, 2023

A Night of Adventure

The night before Aaron was set to leave home for college (a short 45-minute drive away), we decided to do something exciting as a family.  While in Minnesota for the summer, we planned to go on a fun outdoor adventure/ziplining day, only to find out that they were closed on our last available day.  So, to make up for it, Aaron found a local place that was a good match - Ryze Adventure Park.  Ryze has a four-story tall adventure tower with over 100 unique different obstacles.  It really was the perfect fit for my high-adventure-loving son.  And an equally beautiful place for my less-adventure-loving daughter to take her first leap.

High adventure means high safety.  When you see all the things that my kids are about to do, remember that their safety system is a double-click system, meaning that they aren't able to unclip from the safety wires that would catch them if they fall until they come all the way off the course.  And like many other climbing programs, a lot of how high you go is up to you.  You start at a level that feels comfortable and only go as high as you want and when you are ready.

After a few minutes of clipping instructions and practice, they were off!  They started at the first story and enjoyed the many obstacles there.

They just kept going, trying out each obstacle, continuing to work at putting one foot in front of the other.  Jason and I were incredibly proud of both of them.  Aaron was so patient with Emma, and Emma just kept going.

The more they did, the higher they climbed.  They took on more and more challenging obstacles that both of them worked through to complete.

I loved being able to take it all in and be grateful for this time together.  Mostly.  And the sunset and the view - it was so fantastic.  Looking back, I didn't know how much everything would change the very next day.  It feels like just yesterday, while simultaneously being a million years ago.  I'm incredibly grateful I brought my camera and bottled this up.

The higher obstacles got to be more complicated.  I enjoyed the ones on bikes and scooters, as I knew it took balancing to a different level.  And lots (AND LOTS) of upper body strength to work through these obstacles.

Eventually, my two made it all the way to the top level.  THE TOP LEVEL.  For Aaron, this is just another Wednesday (literally, but more on that at the end).  For Emma, and most other nine-year-olds, it was a really big deal to hit that top level.

At the end, there was a decision to make.  Take the "free fall" from the fourth story to the padded landing at the bottom - or, take the stairs.  Even though Aaron had already done it once, Emma wasn't sold and decided it wasn't for her.

So Aaron did some ziplining.  And Emma did some thinking.

And decided to take the plunge and come down with the free fall after all!!!!  It was a great ending to a really wonderful family evening.

And as promised, this experience was such a great fit for Aaron that he asked for an application when we were done and enjoys "playing" at Ryze on the regular.  He loves getting paid to have fun and getting to help lots of people (including Girl Scouts like mine) to work through the obstacles you see.  If you haven't had the chance to check it out yet, what are you waiting for?!

Until next time,