A Walk in the Clouds

2016-10-29-17-38-43A few weeks ago, we were invited by my sister-in-law, Rose, to visit Camp N to join a mountain bike clinic and try out the rest of their outdoor adventure facilities. We planned to get in before 9AM, zip through the activities, then leave by 1PM so we could still make it back in time for our village trick-or-treat activity.

We ended up staying until 6PM (sorry MPHA!).

Camp N’s six hectares caters to those who want a taste of adventure. They offer an Adventure Tower, which has the longest roller coaster zipline in Southeast Asia, a freefall deck, a climbing wall, and a rappelling wall; an obstacle course in three skill levels; a rope course perfect for team building; and the kids’ favorite—the aerial walk. They also have a living maze, which leads to ‘secret’ themed gardens, the running and bike trails, and of course, wide open grassy space, trees, and lots of fresh air.

The girls quickly harnessed up and attacked the climbing wall. They hadn’t been on a wall in over a year, since Raine’s accident, and they were eager to get back to it. Raine is a very analytical climber, she studies the route and options before making her move. Breeze, on the other hand, is more instinctive, zipping up the wall by feel—sometimes even just relying on her arms and upper body strength, feet hanging free in the air. I think they both beat The Hubby up the wall.14889991_578423432357821_9187536221476301828_o

The trio (the girls and The Hubby—I was busy trying to keep my balance at the biking clinic) moved on to the free fall and zipline deck. Breeze was too short and light to go on these activities (she would have gotten stuck on the zipline since her weight wouldn’t be enough to sustain the momentum to get through the course). Raine backed out of the free fall. She just couldn’t get herself to step off the deck on her own free will. She couldn’t jump, and she couldn’t be pushed, because the fall has to be smooth, otherwise the rope may swing too much and you may hit the tower. But stepping off was too much, “I have a healthy respect for heights, and it was going against my instincts.” Wise girl, that one.

The Hubby, however, had no problems walking off into space. He even had his own cheering squad. The girls were enthusiastically calling out from 70 feet down, “Go, Daddy! Are you ready to plunge to your death?” Very encouraging, my girls. Morbid, but encouraging.

Both Raine and The Hubby tried the zip lines. Raine did the short (180 feet) one, while her Daddy silently zipped down the 280-foot one (“Didn’t you feel like screaming at all?” I asked him. “Yeah, but it would have been embarrassing.” He’s so manly.).

The Aerial Walk course burns calories, because aside from the exertion, fear burns calories.

The Aerial Walk course burns calories, because aside from the exertion, fear burns calories. Photo by Harvey Tapan

Raine crossing on the second level.

Raine crossing on the second level. Photo by Harvey Tapan

Breeze climbing the plank staircase.

Breeze climbing the plank staircase. Photo by Harvey Tapan

There are facilitators to assist you.

There are facilitators to assist you. Photo by Harvey Tapan

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Photo by Harvey Tapan

After lunch, we tried the aerial walk. The trio had previously gone on the aerial walk course while I was biking, so the girls were quite comfortable on it already. The whole course has three levels of ropes, planks, nets, and logs—all gloriously unstable. The girls weren’t allowed on the third level, much to Breeze’s disappointment. The girls crossed over to opposite platforms like they were just walking through the mall  on a weekday. I, on the other hand, teetered and clung to my harness and the rope and anything I could grab hold of as I inched my way through. Several times I thought of giving up, but since I was following Breeze, and supposedly assisting her, there was no way I would let some three-foot-eight kid beat me. When I finally made it to the third level platform, it was a knee-knocking but exhilarating back-to-back zipline ride down to the course exit. Definitely worth the near-falls, fatigued knees, arms, abs and back, and three gallons of sweat.

One thing worth pointing out is the safety harness that they have on the aerial walk. It’s an EDELRID smart belay system, with a double clip-on lock thing. You simply cannot open and unclip one if the other is not clipped on and locked.  So as you move from one obstacle to another, you need to unclip and then clip yourself to the safety wires one clip-on lock at a time (I’m sure there is a proper technical term for it, which I cannot think of at the moment). In the unlikely event that you give in to gravity, you won’t fall to the ground. You may dangle undignified, but you will not fall.

After the aerial walk, the girls wanted to try the obstacle course. The course has obstacles for varying skill levels; we went on the beginner course. It involved a lot of running, and some climbing over logs that required me to lift my knees to heights they normally would not reach. I had images of me vaulting over some of the logs, but there was some mind-body dissonance going on there.  The trio finished the course way ahead of me, and the girls turned around and exclaimed, “What! Mommy, you’re not done yet? Hurry!” It’s nice to know they think I can keep up.

Obstacle course.

Obstacle course. Photo by Harvey Tapan

The facilitators were really careful with kids

The facilitators were really careful with kids. Photo by Harvey Tapan

Cargo net -- the kids climbed; we just posed.

Cargo net -- the kids climbed; we just posed.

Then for the last high adventure of the day, the kids finally took out their own body harnesses and climbed the cargo net. After all the activities they had for the day, that proved to be a walk in the [vertical] park for them.

As we were saying our goodbyes, Rose said, “Oh I didn’t show you the maze yet!” So we went through the very narrow and quite prickly hedge maze, and found ourselves in the Bahay Kubo garden. It was delightful.  As we walked down the winding path, I found myself singing the Bahay Kubo song—the plants growing were in order of the lyrics of the song! First was the singkamas at talong, then the sigarilyas at mani…and so on. At the end of the Bahay Kubo garden was the Medicinal Garden, where the healing plants grew.  And that led to another garden, and another. They even had palay and corn, salad greens, and the largest okras I has ever seen. There was also a small pond and a gazebo. A wonderful place to spend the day with a good book, a cooler of iced drinks, and tubs of Chef Tony popcorn. Which is probably the reason I can’t keep up with the girls.

Anyway.

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The token shoe-fie to prove that I was there

The token shoe-fie to prove that I was there

As with the bike trail, the rates for the adventure activities are pretty reasonable. You can get a package, or you can just pay for the activities you like. The All-Gravity package, for example, which includes the long and short ziplines, the high and low free fall, the rappel and climbing walls plus the full aerial walk, is only P750 per person. If you want to do just the aerial walk, it’s only P200 (plus the entrance fee of P80). Totally worth it.

The girls have been asking to go back to Camp N, and we probably will during the Christmas break. With the adventure packages and the biking trails, it’s a guaranteed day of fun for us HPs.

For questions or more information, you can get in touch with Camp N at [email protected] or call them at 0977 842 2676. Or you can visit their Facebook page.14753352_571169693083195_5436485393601621960_o

And thanks for the fantastic photos, Harvey Tapan!

 

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