Typing is a bit more arduous than usual today, but I guess that’s the toll that 3-hours of hanging, climbing, and swinging through the treetops of the Berkshires exacts on one’s fingers and forearms. But don’t get the wrong impression; today’s soreness is well worth yesterday’s adventure at Ramblewild Tree-To-Tree Adventure Trails.
As Yankee’s summer intern, I was very excited when I learned one of my days would be spent exploring New England, and even more excited when I got the inside tip on Lanesborough, Massachusetts’ new attraction from our Senior Editor, Ian Aldrich.
Yesterday morning my twin brother Brian and I hopped in the car and headed off to Western MA, eager to find out what exactly Tree-To-Tree Adventures entails. And basically, it’s the treehouse from your childhood’s wildest dreams, with twists and turns no 8-year old could ever come up with.
A short hike from the parking lot leads you into a cool and shady Eastern Hemlock Forest, which stays 5 degrees cooler than the surrounding area in the summer. The distant shouts of joy, and squeaks and scrapes of cables and pulleys quickened our steps, as well as our heartbeats. We were greeted by a bubbly guide named Steph; she was eager to assist us with our safety harnesses and get us out onto the trails as quickly as possible. A short safety course taught us the workings of Ramblewild’s advanced safety harnesses, which allow climbers to self-guide their way through the courses.
Our heads were craned skyward as we walked towards the HUB, the main platform where each of the park’s 8 courses and over 100 unique elements are accessed, peering up at objects one would never expect to find dangling above the forest ground. “This is wild!” exclaimed my brother, flashing the same toothy grin that frequented his face years ago, whenever our dad allowed him to scale a particularly daunting tree or cliff.
The adventure began on the Green Circle trail Trekkers Reach, a fun and slightly challenging scamper over suspended logs, up a dangling climbing wall, and down a standard zip line. We were just getting warmed up.
The next 3 hours would find us zipping over ravines on horse saddles, scaling cargo nets, skateboarding 50 feet above the forest floor, and using muscles we never knew we had. At times the trails journey so far off into the trees you forget the world around you, entranced by this natural playground in the sky, placed here for your enjoyment.
The trails are rated in ski slope fashion, and like the best mountains, Ramblewild offers trails ranging from fun and relaxing, to brutally challenging. Only the thought of having to yield bragging rights to my brother urged me past my fatigue on Hemlock’s Revenge, the park’s most challenging course. While my brother thrived on the forearm torching black diamonds, I found myself more at home on the slightly easier blue squares.
It was refreshing to find thrills in such a natural and peaceful environment; a far cry from your typical amusement park, Ramblewild focuses on sustainability and is designed so that all the courses can be removed, without any damage to supporting trees. The electric-free park welcomes visitors preferring to keep their feet firmly planted on the ground to explore its 900 acres of forest. Parents and grandparents touting cameras, dogs and infants can enjoy watching their loved ones navigate safely from tree to tree, while taking in the forest’s refreshingly clean air and natural beauty.
If you’d like to get over your fear of heights, get back in touch with nature, or seek thrills away from your typical amusement park, Ramblewild is worth checking out.