Our Ottawa School Trip
New trip, new group of 8th grade travelers. The first thing I do is ask them all what they are most looking forward to about our Ottawa School Trip. Of course, I got a mix of answers, but by and large the most popular response was Tree Top Trekking. About a third of the kids had done tree top adventures in the past. There was a mix of excitement and nerves among the newbies. Personally I was pumped – climbing trees in my yard as a kid and zip-lining in central America were fond memories.
Arriving to Ottawa Tree Top Trekking
When the bus pulled of to our spot in Ottawa, we were greeted by a friendly staff member. We embarked up on a 6-minute walk to the chalet. The mild incline and short hike through the trees and streams got us into the outdoor mood. At the chalet, we checked in seamlessly – all of the students were equipped with harnesses and helmets.
Another short trek into the woods, and we were welcomed at the intro station. Seasoned staff walked us through the process of clipping, hooking and gliding our way through the course safely. We all struggled to focus as the blackflies buzzed hungrily around our arms, legs and ears. There will be less blackflies up top, they said. If you wear bug repellent, you’ll be fine they said. I swatted them away as one by one the girls gingerly started hooking themselves rung by rung up the ladder.
There were two courses possible, similar in style but one at a lower level for the faint of heart. As the students disappeared one by one into the foliage, I eagerly awaited getting up into the trees. Away from the ever present carnivorous insects… The course began with simple obstacles – like wooden bridges to carefully cross and short ziplines. As we tackled obstacle after obstacle, weaving through the forest the confidence slowly grew.
The students encouraged and supported one another, explained how to tackle the more challenging parts of the course and slowly got faster and braver. The difficulty of the obstacles gradually increased. We found ourselves tip-toeing across rolling logs, scaling side ways across rock walls and crawling through wobbly tunnels. After a good 2 and a half hours, we were starting to sweat. Despite the promises the black flies were still feasting on every bit of exposed skin.
Only 3 more obstacles to go, and then the treat at the end, 5 zip lines in a row! With renewed vigour we raced through those last obstacles to the free flying lines with beautiful views of the rolling countryside. As I landed on the last platform, sweaty and swollen with bites, I felt a sense of pride not only in myself, but in the nervous teens who had conquered that same course beside me.
Highlight of the Trip
On our last bus ride back from our Ottawa school trip, I asked the group again what their favourite activity of the trip – and one by one almost every one named that tree top adventure. Despite the growing welts on my arms from the ferocious flies, it was my favourite part of the trip too!
Check out our Ottawa school trips here.