Passions & Pursuits

Tree Climbing on the Farm

Tree Climbing on the Farm is a unique and unusual activity that brings out the kid in all of us. We recapture a little piece of childhood as we explore a magnificent Southern Red Oak in the Garde. Climbers are fitted in harnesses and helmets and given side-by-side instruction on the methods of ascending the rope that invites them into the branches. This is a “challenge by choice” activity: some climbers may push to reach the highest point to ring the bell attached to a limb, check out the “Crow’s Nest”, or simply pluck a balloon from a lower branch. There are opportunities to swing, sit and relax on a sturdy limb, or view the Great Smoky Mountains from a very different perspective.

One of the things that has made an impression on me during our first year of recreational tree climbing at Blackberry is the variety of approaches that I have witnessed with climbers. Somehow it seems to be an activity where people's personalities really shine through. We've had some excited, happy-go-lucky, bubbly climbers who seem to bounce their way through the branches like a balloon, giggling and bravely tipping upside down for a creative descent. We have some cautious participants who seem uncertain about how to ask their bodies to do such a strange and unfamiliar set of movements. There are some 10-year-old kids who shimmy up the rope like lanky sailors up a mast. Most of us are sufficiently challenged by the physical aspect of tree climbing enough that we appreciate the workout, yet are privately boosted by the experience of doing something super unique and accomplishing something we weren't quite sure we could do.

– Joy Hopkins, Adventure Manager

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