July came and went in it's own hot sticky way--the highlight being the visit from Amanda and Robert (and Dane and Zeke), with Della and Don's wedding. But they found time to come up to Tallahassee for a day before heading back to Italy. And I found myself fulfilling a promise that I had made--to take Dane on the Tree to Tree adventure course. Everyone else opted to stay on the ground so it was just Dane and I harnessed up to climb up to the trees.
And you really are up in the trees. The course is often called "the zip line course" just because people know what that is. But the real challenge is the obstacle courses--walking across swinging logs, riding a surfboard, walking a tightrope.
I let Dane go first so I could help him if necessary. Hah!! Monkey Boy is a natural at this, and merely had to be polite enough to let Aunt Ann catch up once in awhile.
I honestly thought I could just cruise through this. I have done it before, two years ago. But that was in May. August is 20 degrees hotter. And I had sort of forgotten (blessed protective amnesia) that you constantly have to duck under the shoulder-height security lines. Or that you arrive on the platform after a zip with your legs tucked under you and you have to quickly stand up. My thighs were screaming at me. And I could have easily won any red-faced sweaty awards. I found myself pondering the fact that I was trying to keep up with an athletic 11-year old when I happened to be seven years older than his *grandmother*.
I did show good form on the surfboard.
I couldn't walk for two days afterwards, but it was totally worth it. Dane is a great kid, and we've never had a chance to do anything with just the two of us.
Afterwards I took the family for a private close-up viewing of the bears and panther. Alas--Amanda's phone had died by then so we didn't get pictures of hide-and-seek. The panther is a big and intimidating predator--but he's also a playful cat. And I do wish that I could have gotten a video of Amanda's reaction when suddenly a far-too-close 10-foot alligator got up and walked towards the water. I hadn't thought to warn her about him--and she didn't immediately register that there was a fence between them. (and yes--we laughed).
So happy to see them again--and will next spring--in Italy.