Simply put, I love adventure. I don’t know exactly when it started or why it is, but I’m always looking forward to the next “big thing”. There is no better feeling than the butterflies you get before doing something that scares you or the discovery of what is hiding off the beaten path. Life is about challenging yourself to face those moments head on and really living.
I’ve jumped out of a plane, been in a cage with sharks swimming around me, hiked up a mountain and have had countless other adventures. One of my favourites will likely always be ziplining though.
A couple of years ago Ian and I visited Eco Adventures in Cypress Hills, the first zipline tour offered in Saskatchewan. It was our first time ziplining and we loved it. The staff was great and the course was fun. That same year they were just opening up their second location in Saskatchewan, located at Elk Ridge Resort near Waskesiu Lake. We heard it was going to be bigger and even better than the Cypress Hills location.
Eco Adventures rebranded this year to Treeosix Adventure Parks. The name pays homage to Saskatchewan’s first (and for a long time only) area code, 306. Plus a tree pun, because there is always time for puns.
Ian and I were both booked for holidays during the first week in July, and for the first time in two years, we weren’t going to be going anywhere. Things have just been a bit too busy with listing our condo for sale and having it sell. Now that we are house hunting we definitely can’t take off for a week of camping.
We decided to book in for a zipline tour at Elk Ridge Resort since the distance was perfect for a day trip. We got to the base camp with plenty of time to spare, so we decided to go check out Waskesiu Lake, which is just a hop, skip and a jump away from Elk Ridge. The lake is located within Prince Albert National Park so the admission was free with our Discover Pass for Canada 150, total bonus!
We looked around the shops for a bit before heading back to base camp and checking in for our zipline tour. They recommend getting there at least 15 minutes early, but there are plenty of activities to keep you occupied if you go earlier. You could look around Waskesiu like we did, drive around Elk Ridge Resort, or stick around base camp and try out their climbing wall, giant swing or slacklines.
You start by getting on your harness and helmets. We had carabiners for our water bottles so they were easy to attach to the harness. They have a way to attach regular bottles if you don’t have a carabiner. I definitely do recommend bringing water. It was hot out and it’s about a 2-hour outing, I definitely would have had issues if I didn’t have my water!
There are seven different ziplines totalling 4000 feet. There are two ships ladders to climb and two sky bridges. You get views of the boreal forest with the highest point being at the tree line, the Elk Ridge Resort golf course, and a bog. We didn’t see any wildlife, but it’s definitely possible that you could!
Throughout the tour, you are given different challenges for each zipline. Go across in cannonball position, launch backwards, go upside down, high five a tree, no hands, things like that. Obviously, I had to accept each challenge but you are in no way obligated to if you don’t feel comfortable. Treeosix includes pictures with every tour so you don’t need to worry about carrying your own camera along and you can just enjoy the ride, but you still have photographic proof of what you accomplished!
This is a great activity for all ages. When we went to Cypress Hills we were with a family that had young children. This time we were with a family with teenagers, one of which even had a broken arm! He was a trooper though and it didn’t hold him back in any way. This family had also done a zipline tour when they were in Mexico but said that they enjoyed this one more than that. That just shows you don’t need to go somewhere exotic to have a great adventure!
Treeosix was kind enough to include a free giant swing for me to try. Giant is definitely not an exaggeration. You get into a harness and are attached to an apparatus. You are then lifted 50 feet up in the air between three poles. A ripcord is pulled and you are released. You start with a free fall before being sent into a 100-foot long pendulum swing. You then swing back and forth until you start to slow down.
The cost of this includes three swings. They refer to them as a “get the hang of it”, a “halfway up” and a “TO THE TOP”. I was told that I could start at the top for all three if I wanted, which of course I did. I was also asked if I wanted a countdown to the ripcord being pulled, or wanted to be surprised. I’m sure you won’t be shocked to hear that I wanted to be surprised.
The initial free fall is almost surreal. You know that the apparatus is going to swing you back up, but for a moment there you are just dropping. The first time my body tensed up a bit as a natural reaction to the sensation, but by the third time, I was able to stay more relaxed through the ride. I highly (pun intended) recommend that you try this out! It’s well worth it.
I can’t say whether I liked the Elk Ridge or Cypress Hills location better. They were very similar, but also very different. The staff at both were great, the tour guides were awesome and both parks are enjoyable. Basically, you need experience both. No matter where you live, this makes a great day trip or weekend adventure with your friends or family. The fees are reasonable and there is so much to do at both locations. I definitely recommend taking a tour through Cypress Hills and Waskesui while you are at it.