The Summer 50 #13: TreeUmph!

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    TreeUmph! is located at 21805 SR 70 E., , Bradenton; 855-322-2130; treeumph.com. Want more? Check out our complete Summer 50 list for a host of fun things to do during the sultry summer months. (Photos and story by Madison Chapman.)

    Treetop playground

    "You'll never feel more alive than up here," according to TreeUmph! Adventure Course guide Andrew.  With 5 progressively-harder sets of treetop ropes, obstacle courses and zipline , the 14-acre park may seem daunting at first to those wary of heights or bad at balance. But with plenty of safety precautions and encouragement from guides, visitors can see why the TreeUmph!'s motto is "the ground is overrated."

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    Want more? Check out our complete Summer 50 list for a host of fun things to do during the sultry summer months. (Photo courtesy of Madison Chapman.)

    All the right equipment

    TreeUmph invited myself, along with my sister, to experience the treetop challenges. The red-shirted experts help you get into gear, learn how to use your equipment and practice on a mini demonstration course.

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    Want more? Check out our complete Summer 50 list for a host of fun things to do during the sultry summer months. (Photo courtesy of Madison Chapman.)

    Listen up

    Although the instructions aren't too complex, the guides run through them quickly to move on to the next groups, so be sure to listen carefully. Owners Aaron and Kathy Corr said they've seen a significant uptick in visitors since schools let out for the summer.

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    Want more? Check out our complete Summer 50 list for a host of fun things to do during the sultry summer months. (Photo courtesy of Madison Chapman.)

    Get your gear on

    The snug harness is equipped with two main hooks for clipping onto different areas of the course. The larger clip is specifically for zip lines.

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    Want more? Check out our complete Summer 50 list for a host of fun things to do during the sultry summer months. (Photo courtesy of Madison Chapman.)

    Not just an adult playground

    The main courses are intended for adults and older children/teenagers, but the "Ape Up" area is aimed at younger kids who want an above ground adventure as well.

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    Want more? Check out our complete Summer 50 list for a host of fun things to do during the sultry summer months. (Photo courtesy of Madison Chapman.)

    Practicing

    The demo course gave me a chance to test out the format of the courses and check the security and feel of the harness.

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    Want more? Check out our complete Summer 50 list for a host of fun things to do during the sultry summer months. (Photo courtesy of Madison Chapman.)

    Get into the swing of things

    Get comfortable with your equipment and the skills you'll need to tackle the increasingly-difficult sections.

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    Want more? Check out our complete Summer 50 list for a host of fun things to do during the sultry summer months. (Photo courtesy of Madison Chapman.)

    And so it begins

    TreeUmph! has some basic safety rules, like only one person on a ladder at a time and always staying hooked onto whatever part of the course you're using.

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    Want more? Check out our complete Summer 50 list for a host of fun things to do during the sultry summer months. (Photo courtesy of Madison Chapman.)

    Stepping out

    Don't grip the safety wire above your head too tightly because your hands will cramp and you won't enjoy the challenge of walking between platforms as much. The more relaxed you are, the more focused you will be.

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    Want more? Check out our complete Summer 50 list for a host of fun things to do during the sultry summer months. (Photo courtesy of Madison Chapman.)

    Ropes, wires, wood, net and more

    Although the materials and stability vary from bridge to bridge, the challenges are all placed under a safety wire which you clip yourself onto at the beginning of each one.

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    Want more? Check out our complete Summer 50 list for a host of fun things to do during the sultry summer months. (Photo courtesy of Madison Chapman.)

    Swinging logs

    These wobbly swinging logs were by far the most physically demanding types of obstacles to cross. Fortunately, a friendly guide, positioned to watch our course from below, gave helpful recommendations for improving our techniques.

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    Want more? Check out our complete Summer 50 list for a host of fun things to do during the sultry summer months. (Photo courtesy of Madison Chapman.)

    Don't stop moving

    The key on this one is to never put both feet on the same swinging log- it will actually throw off your balance when you try to take the next step.

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    Want more? Check out our complete Summer 50 list for a host of fun things to do during the sultry summer months. (Photo courtesy of Madison Chapman.)

    Build that confidene

    My younger sister was completely nonchalant about the height and more confident on the courses than I was. TreeUmph is definitely best suited for people who like roller coasters and adrenaline rushes, but even for non-thrill seekers it can be a good chance to experience adventure in a safe but challenging setting.

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    Want more? Check out our complete Summer 50 list for a host of fun things to do during the sultry summer months. (Photo courtesy of Madison Chapman.)

    Take your time

    Although you sometimes have to share a bridge or platform with another person, there was never a backup or waiting line while we were there.

     

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    Want more? Check out our complete Summer 50 list for a host of fun things to do during the sultry summer months. (Photo courtesy of Madison Chapman.)

    Wire walkers

    You gain a new respect for the grace and agility of tightrope walkers after crossing this bridge.

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    Want more? Check out our complete Summer 50 list for a host of fun things to do during the sultry summer months. (Photo courtesy of Madison Chapman.)

    Taking flight

    Simultaneously relaxing and exhilirating, zip lines are interspersed throughout the courses to help you fly from tree to tree. Just make sure your harness is in a comfortable position before you take off.

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    Want more? Check out our complete Summer 50 list for a host of fun things to do during the sultry summer months. (Photo courtesy of Madison Chapman.)

    On to the next

    We only did the first two full courses, which took us roughly an hour and a half, including the demo course and instruction time. For those planning to take on all five courses, you should definitely set aside a good 4-5 hours unless you're quite athletic already.

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    Want more? Check out our complete Summer 50 list for a host of fun things to do during the sultry summer months. (Photo courtesy of Madison Chapman.)

    Walk this way

    The massive courses are spread out between some wetlands.

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    Want more? Check out our complete Summer 50 list for a host of fun things to do during the sultry summer months. (Photo courtesy of Madison Chapman.)

    Take in the view

    If you can catch your balance and breath long enough to look around, try to take in the view of both the natural surroundings and the upcoming challenges.

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    Want more? Check out our complete Summer 50 list for a host of fun things to do during the sultry summer months. (Photo courtesy of Madison Chapman.)

    Do the wobble

    Be careful of going onto a shaky bridge while another person is getting across -- their movement  on the wire can make finding your balance all the more challenging.

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    Want more? Check out our complete Summer 50 list for a host of fun things to do during the sultry summer months. (Photo courtesy of Madison Chapman.)

    Don't forget crawling

    Not all the obstacles allow you to stay standing -- prepare to crawl and contort to get through some of the bridges.

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    Want more? Check out our complete Summer 50 list for a host of fun things to do during the sultry summer months. (Photo courtesy of Madison Chapman.)

    Hard and harder

    For those confident with the extra challenge, you can grab hold of the dangling ropes for balance instead of the wire above while walking this tight rope. As you can see, I was more comfortable with the stable route.

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    Want more? Check out our complete Summer 50 list for a host of fun things to do during the sultry summer months. (Photo courtesy of Madison Chapman.)

    All tangled up

    On the third course, you swing on a rope in order to grab onto a large net.

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    Want more? Check out our complete Summer 50 list for a host of fun things to do during the sultry summer months. (Photo courtesy of Madison Chapman.)

    The long ride

    The 650 foot TreeUmph! Zip Line is the largest on the property and separate from any of the courses. You have to climb a series of ladders up to a platform before attaching yourself and taking off.

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    Want more? Check out our complete Summer 50 list for a host of fun things to do during the sultry summer months. (Photo courtesy of Madison Chapman.)

    Tranquil setting

    TreeUmph! is nestled in an isolated rural area in east Manatee County north of State Road 70.

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    Want more? Check out our complete Summer 50 list for a host of fun things to do during the sultry summer months. (Photo courtesy of Madison Chapman.)

    The real challenge

    After some forceful persuasion from our enthusiastic guide Andrew, my sister and I climbed the 45 ft ladder to the very end portion of the fourth course. TreeUmph! does not normally allow guests to skip around the courses, but Andrew wanted us to try to get up to the 60 ft high summit course, which is the fifth and most difficult on the property.

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    Want more? Check out our complete Summer 50 list for a host of fun things to do during the sultry summer months. (Photo courtesy of Madison Chapman.)

    Shaky footsteps

    When crossing these vertical logs, you can either step on metal supports on either side of the log or use the ball/middle of your foot to step on the round log part of the bridge.

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    Want more? Check out our complete Summer 50 list for a host of fun things to do during the sultry summer months. (Photo courtesy of Madison Chapman.)

    Climbing higher

    The height difference from the first courses to the 45 foot high one is definitely noticeable, and more nervewracking for those not so keen on heights.

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    Want more? Check out our complete Summer 50 list for a host of fun things to do during the sultry summer months. (Photo courtesy of Madison Chapman.)

    The final leap

    You have to get across one last bridge in order to reach the platform with the ladder to the 60-feet-high summit challenges. Unfortunately, these swinging trapeze monkey bars proved too hard for me -- despite attempting to swing across multiple times. It didn't help that moments before I attempted, not one but two people lost their grip and nerve while attempting to cross this bridge.

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    Want more? Check out our complete Summer 50 list for a host of fun things to do during the sultry summer months. (Photo courtesy of Madison Chapman.)

    One more try

    My sister nearly made it to the other side before her hands gave out. Despite the double clips attached to the safety wire, it's hard to shake the feeling of falling when you're that high up.

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    Want more? Check out our complete Summer 50 list for a host of fun things to do during the sultry summer months. (Photo courtesy of Madison Chapman.)

    Guide to the rescue

    Guides are placed throughout the final two courses in order to help climbers who can't go any further. They carry equipment to lower you down from any point on the course when you feel too uncomfortable or exhausted.

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    Want more? Check out our complete Summer 50 list for a host of fun things to do during the sultry summer months. (Photo courtesy of Madison Chapman.)

    Lowering

    Andrew lets the rope out to get us safely down from the fourth course platform.

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    Want more? Check out our complete Summer 50 list for a host of fun things to do during the sultry summer months. (Photo courtesy of Madison Chapman.)

    The ground is overrated...but a welcome relief

    After several hours in the treetops, it was satisfying to get down and look back up at the courses we had conquered.