Hanging Around UP in the AIR

sunset park

Closing out 2014. Sunset over the sound behind the ropes course.

Our new favorite place to play is Abby & Brad Carey’s First Flight Adventure Park in Nags Head. Into its second season it is fast becoming a must do for every Outer Banks vacationer and local.

While this is definitely Abby & Brad’s vision (Brad has helped build a lot of courses) I still maintain that without the guidance of then Nags Head planner awesome Liz Teague they would still be dialoging with town officials. She helped them cut through the paper trail in record time every step of the way.

rope and tape gone

Emily takes on one of our favorite challenges while Donald and Martin look on. For this one you had to get back on if you fell off because your lanyard was in the middle, but no fear, its gone. A first year element only. Glad we got to play on it. I did fall off my first time through but finally got back on. It was kind of tricky because you end up hanging below the loops with no good hand holds to grab. Still I wondered why I even fell the second time I took it on. It really was easy.

The course is a sixty feet tower of challenges formed in three almost circular levels. At least one section of the first level is mandatory, that is after also mandatory flight school. Then for two hours you can go on any section as many times as you like. Every level has two sections with seven individual elements each separated by a wooden platform built around the support pilings. Only one person at a time allowed on an element and only two people on a platform. The sections are labeled after hurricane categories. Tropical storm, Category 1, 2, 3, 4 & 5.

I have been on all the sections save category 5 at the top. The hammock and I have yet to meet and the guy wire tight rope. The entire time you are on a section you are tethered to a five hundred pound load bearing strap that is locked in place on a lead wire. If you fall off of an element you just pull yourself along until you get to the platform. There are a couple of elements where you cannot do this because of the way the lanyard and the challenges intersect but they’re not too difficult to get back up on and keep going. After each level you zip line to the middle where you are untethered by a guide with the key. Then on to your next set of seven challenges.

zip to the end

Guest at Family Camp OBX for a week Henry zip line rides between sections.

My personal nemesis is was an element called Pirate Crossing. It’s two loose ropes that cross in the middle of the element. The point is to hold onto the rope while you slide your feet along a wire, switch to the second rope in the middle and continue. The first time I tried it I kept the rope too slack and while I didn’t fall off I used a lot of unnecessary energy staying the course. This time I stalled about even trying the level with Pirate Crossing but brother-in-law Robert, my climbing partner, urged me on. Turned out it is really easy once you get the hang of it. Speaking of Robert I’m so excited for him. He was only going to do the first level elements because of his compromised ankle, but we ended up doing all but those on Cat 5. And he aced every one.

the park new

Brand new not even yet open park 2014. Those buoy things above my head, my downfall this year. I refused to use the guy wire and just could. not. get. my leg around the buoy and hold on. Everything was that much too far apart. But I’ll figure it out.

Bested the Pirate Crossing but fell off of Braided Argile on Category 4. That section ends with hand over hand rings which I have yet to really try. I love monkey bars but these rings are thicker in dimension and smoother. Of course I could try and see if I can make any progress. Hanging by the first two is as far as I’ve pushed myself.

Playing on the course this past week was lots of fun because we had folks on almost every level and every section. Words of encouragement from any one of us were constantly floating from above and below and even the covered viewers deck where some of our party chose to hang out. The added elements of a stiff breeze and people unexpectedly juggling the course as they took on their personal challenges only upped the stakes for success.

The view is amazing, the vegetation below in the wetlands is lush and green with beautiful water flowers adding in color. From sea to sound the panorama is yours for the looking, that is unless you’re busy tackling a challenge. Or unless you’re son Lewis who likes to go through with his eyes closed.


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