Written by Scott Miller
Last Tuesday a series of fortunate events came together. The annual Discover Lancaster member’s coupon book included a BOGO at Refreshing Mountain so my daughter Jen and I decided to go ziplining. Lauren, the Garden Spot Village Wellness Director, mentioned she was organizing an Adventure Trip to Refreshing Mountain for the Garden Spot Village residents. We had not yet shot the video for the June edition of Endeavor so there was an opportunity to feature the trip. When I suggested videoing Endeavor at Refreshing Mountain, they loved the idea as did, Gavin our videographer. Everything fell into place for the June Endeavor and a trip through the treetops. How cool is that?
I met Gavin at 1:30 at Refreshing Mountain and he had already scouted a perfect location. The entrance to the retreat features an impressive stone sign and the shading was ideal for shooting video. Our monthly Endeavor videos can be a challenge, especially if we’re featuring an exciting outdoor event because the sun makes things difficult. First, too much sun washes out the background and the video doesn’t look good. Second, it makes reading the teleprompter very difficult. Third, we often have to try to create our own shade by having members of the team hold sunscreens in precisely the right place to create the most effective shadowing. Gavin was able to position the camera under tall bushes creating the best effect for the video. After shooting the main part of the video we packed up all the gear then hiked around the grounds capturing b-roll to fill out the video.
Into the Trees
At 3:15 Jen arrived and we all checked in for the 3:30 tour. Two guides helped us into our ziplining harnesses and helmets. It’s a lot like rock climbing gear and it’s designed to fasten you to the ziplines so there is absolutely no chance of falling out of the trees. Gavin was also wearing 2 GoPros, one in a chest harness and the other on his helmet. After gearing up we trekked a short way through the woods to the start of the course. We ascended about a dozen steps to a platform. One-by-one the guides fastened us to the cabling system with straps that withstands up to 5,000 pounds of force. There is no way you can fall out of the threes onto the ground. After we were all cabled fast, there was a quick briefing on what to expect and how things work. The guides do all the work, hooking you up to the zipline trolley, sending you on your way and assisting you as you approach the other side where they unhook you and get you ready for the next run. They do a fantastic job of making sure you have a wonderful experience.
Through the Treetops
From the starting platform we walked across a skybride to the first zipline. The skybridge is a wooden rope bridge, the kind you see in jungle movies that span ravines and rivers, with the exception that it was much shorter and in perfect condition. No worries that a wooden plank will splinter under your weight and you’ll fall through. Everything is meticulously maintained. When it’s your turn, you step up onto a wooden box where the zipline is securely fastened to the tree above your head. Your guide places the trolley on the zipline, clips you fast, and unclips you from the platform as you grip the handles on the trolley. When you’re ready you step off the platform, the harness supports you and wheee . . . off you go! You fly along the zipline with the wind in your face through the woodland canopy. It is thrilling. You gotta try it. As you approach the end of the line you put your feet down and scurry up a ramp on the other side. On our course there were seven ziplines of varying lengths and three skybridges. You go from thrill-to-thrill and as your confidence builds you can try different things. Pulling your knees to your chest and leaning back will really crank up your speed! Toward the end you’re shown how to flip upside down if you like that kind of thing. I was all in! You’re in the treetops the entire time. This was my third excursion and by far not my last!
Milkshakes at Fox Meadows Creamery
About 2 miles from Refreshing Mountain on Route 322 is Fox Meadows Creamery. We’ve made it a tradition to stop for milkshakes each year after ziplining. It’s a small family-owned ice cream shop with the most incredible ice cream. They feature Wilbur Chocolate milkshakes from the Wilbur Chocolate factory five miles away in Lititz. I had a Wilbur Chocolate and raspberry shake and Jen got Wilbur Chocolate with mint chip. They will mix any flavors of ice cream for the custom delicious shake of your choice.
I’m an outdoor adventure lover. I may have cracked 60 a year ago but I’m not slowing down. I run, ride bike, golf, ride horses, scuba dive and jump into thrilling experiences like ziplining whenever I can. It’s one of the things I love about Garden Spot and the way it creates opportunities to purposefully enrich the lives of residents of all ages, as well as, family members, future residents, staff and the surrounding community. Garden Spot inspired Jen and I to learn to scuba dive and zipline. My wife and oldest daughter love horses and we ride during vacation. I golf with my youngest daughter who has volunteered at our golf tournament. The best part of the adventures is that the experiences create long-lasting memories that we all relive during the holidays and family gatherings. They draw us closer together as husband-wife, father-daughter. When grandkids arrive I plan to lean into adventures they enjoy to create memorable moments that will last a lifetime.