Sunday, June 27, 2010

The things I do for the readership

I am hardly the George Plimpton of

For that, you might flip over to SFA’s Dirty 30 Project , where she took actual requests from the reading audience.  Don’t get any big ideas; I know the kinds of things you’d ask.

But I do try to keep it fresh.  I haven’t been as prolific as I have sometimes been – for a lot of reasons, but  one might be that this blog just passed 4 and a half years, and frankly 4 years is about as long as I hang onto anything.



Speaking of hanging on…

That’s not me.  That’s from the brochure.  On something of a whim today I decided to check out the Tree Canopy Trail at Worcester’s Ecotarium – a rescued wildlife habitat and mini natural history/science museum that has an off-again/on-again neat-o factor, depending on the available tax and donor dollars.  Need I remind you of the recent headlines in that regard?

Plus, as we have covered in this space, before, Worcester lost a lot of its trees.  So I was not sure what to expect.  But for YOU, Gentle Reader, and an ongoing attempt to try teaching this old dog a few new tricks, I made the plunge.  poor choice of words.

In my circle of friends, it is generally known that I do not participate in activities that require signing a waiver, though exceptions had been made over the years.  There was the horseback riding in Lake Placid.  And the caving in Knoxville did not require paperwork because it was completely unauthorized.  My prayer that morning was that if we did die in the attempt to please not my companions eat me to survive.

You laugh… but it’s happened.

But I signed the waiver, which just said my estate was not authorized to sue anyone if I fell to my death from the 50 ft height.

It was a much shorter trail than I expected, and at first I was a little bent out of shape.  There are 2 bridge spans and 2 platforms, and one zip chair to the ground.  But there is a lot to learn about your carabineers, and a lot to tolerate from the teenaged boy who adjusts your harness.  The platforms can only hold a few people at a time, so it is good to have some filler.

I think I wanted it to be more like Swiss Family Robinson, or like a proper rain forest canopy walk.   I forgot for a second this is a zoo made up of one-winged predatory birds and a polar bear that was born in Massachusetts.

To paint a schene:

The  4some of teenaged parents with a stroller were genuinely OMG-impressed by the pond of fish, which swim up to the dock expecting a handout, which they gave them, between bursts of “Omigodyouguys, what the f*** are those?”  One of the guys hawked a loogy into the pond and they all squealed with delight when the fish ate it.  His partner said, “Are you sure they are not piranhas?”  On the upside, though, they did bring their kid to the zoo.

My also favorite overheard moment was the family of 3 kids who argued over who got to turn into Lost and Found the glitter deely-boppers they found at the snack bar.  Said the wise 8 year-old eldest sister, “Don’t put them on.  The girl could have had lice.”

aaaah… Worcester.  You….Dinwiddie of the n0rth…

But I don’t diss the charming young people who staff the Tree Canopy.  Ecotarium’s trees were not lost to the beetles, who do not like Oak, as it turns out, but who could chomp through Vermont like Sherman through Atlanta, so our reward for making the first crossing was a lecture about beetle spotting and a plea to not take any wood from home if we go camping.

On the long ferry to Nantucket, you will also be treated to a How-To on checking for deer ticks, just so you don’t get too comfortable.

Platform number two allows you to do some bird-watching, though the whole thing shakes like El Cambalache (must upload those pictures sometime).  On this crossing, I realized I couldn’t have handled a true Peruvian canopy walk.  Though I think a few loose monkeys running about might add to the experience.  There really wasn’t so much to look at, and the view from above was not so different from the one below.  I think I would enjoy more sitting up there and reading a magazine.  As a dad next to me on Shaky #2 said, “it really is serene.”

But his daughter wanted to zip, so they moved on.

It’s not bungie jumping.  It’s not rappelling.  It’s not even really zip lining, but it is plunging from 60 to 0 in a few short seconds, so as convalescent home-zoo thrills go, I got my $10 worth.

Perhaps this summer has room for the Corn Maze, if I can convince the Tarletons.



  1. I always thought I would like to take a hot air baloon ride but the older I get, the less likely that's going to happen. And I KNOW I will not try this activity!!M

  2. I'm having flashbacks to when I was forced to do a ropes course 60 feet up in the trees as a requirement to get my MBA. I do not like heights. Zipping down was terrifying, but one of the greatest moments of relief in my life!


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