Get Out: We Can Be Heroes
Written by Allison Kay Bannister. Photo: TreeRunner Adventure Park.


I’m going to go on a slight tangent here for a sec, because I had this huge a-ha about a week ago while watching a talk show where one of the guests was monologuing about the importance of people getting out of the house. 

He was referring to young people, but what he said really relates to all of us. Between the convenience of our phones and the isolation mindset we took on during the pandemic, most of us aren’t putting ourselves out there like we used to—and it’s not good for us. Socially, physically, emotionally… all of that. 

That’s not really the a-ha part, though. What hit me was how getting out, forming my own recreation group, and actually doing things, I ended up making some incredible, deep friendships. And those people have developed strong relationships with others in the group as well, and it’s been life changing for a lot of us, as well as being really beneficial to our mental health. All of this relates to this month’s outing, so it’s really not much of a tangent at all.

During their opening weekend, several group members went to TreeRunner Adventure Park. This is a challenge course that involves climbing, ziplining, crossing rope bridges, and more—all in a wooded setting. It has levels of difficulty and ranges from low to the ground to high in the trees. I had been experiencing some pain, and my physical therapist got really stern with me about not participating, so I ended up just following along as a spectator. While it wasn’t what I wanted to do, it did give me a great vantage point for photos and also a perspective that I might not have gained had I been on the course with everyone.

They started out with a pretty thorough primer given by the staff, which involved securing body harnesses, learning how to use the clips that needed be connected to the cables at all times, and attaching the zipline trolley. Before they got going, they were allowed several tries on the practice structures. Then, everyone moved to the main platform and decided which course to take. My group went in a couple of different directions, but they all chose an intermediate level.

I was walking along underneath, when our first setback occurred. One of our group got stuck in the middle of a rope bridge and couldn’t get footing to take the next step. Help came quickly, while I silently panicked about what I had gotten them all into. The staff and a couple of our group members were able to get her moving again, but just then, another member realized how powerful her fear of heights was. While I shouted unhelpful platitudes, her peers in front of and behind her quickly stepped in to offer encouragement and practical suggestions, and to cheer her on. Once these obstacles were overcome, everything went really smoothly. (I’ll admit I was really relieved.) From there, they swung, trekked, ascended, and descended. And enjoyed it so much, they got some water and took a quick breather, and went back for another round on another course. (Whew!)

It should be noted that the majority of our group is mid-forties to mid-sixties in age, so we don’t have nearly the agility (or reckless daring) of the teenagers and children who were there that day. I think that made it way more of a big deal to not just complete it, but go back a second time.

When everyone was finished, there was a tremendous sense of accomplishment in those who participated. But the vibe was also one of intense bonding and trust building. They all worked together to get through the course, and to face fears, and to realize they were stronger than they knew. Even though I didn’t do anything, I still felt so proud. And admiration, too.

A couple things to note: while we did have a few difficulties, there was a very low risk of actually falling. The harnesses and clips protect from that, as long as they’re used and used correctly. There was also plenty of staff on hand, and if things had gotten dire, there was a way to exit the course, with assistance. So, the danger was really low. The big thing is that pretty much everyone said they’d do it again. Boom! 

If you want to try it, head to to learn more.