You will often find me on top of a mountain peak, but it isn’t often you will find me on a mountain in harness flying 35-feet in the air through the trees. This is not the ordinary way to experience the Adirondacks, but it is the one of the most extraordinary ways to experience the amazing outdoors.
Established by the town of North Elba in 1983, Scott's Cobble is the 462nd highest peak in New York state. It stands 2,549 feet in elevation, forming the western edge of the Craig Wood Golf Course. What once used to be a beloved ski area for Lake Placid families has been reinvented, bringing families back to experience this remarkable neck of the woods in a whole new way. Seeing parts of the old tow rope still intact at the top of the mountain, I couldn’t help but wonder how many fond memories locals carry with them of this area. Now Experience Outdoors at Scott's Cobble is creating new and exciting ways to access this area that will leave lasting memories for new generations to carry with them.
My brother, Josh, has worked with Experience Outdoors from the very beginning, clearing the land to build the vision. Three years later, my mom and I still hadn’t been. So we decided we were going to go on a new Adirondack adventure! I didn’t quite know what to expect going into it, and we ended up leaving amazed with an experience that will stay with us forever.
First things first, we had to get geared up. There will always be two guides to educate you, prepare you, and take you through the course. You don’t have to worry about a thing – all you need to do is what they say and enjoy the experience. Once we were in our harnesses with helmets and gloves on, we piled into a CanAm Defender, a rugged little buggy that takes you to the top of the mountain. We were dropped off and immediately swept away by the views. The first thing we saw was a part of the old ski area at Scott's Cobble, reminding me that people long before now had been standing in this very spot taking in the same views before skiing down the mountain.
What struck my attention was how the high ropes course was thoughtfully designed to coincide with the terrain of the mountain to allow for magnificent views the entire time. From the very start of the course, all the way to the end, you experience open views overlooking the Adirondack High Peaks, including the MacIntyre Range, which has some of our tallest peaks, such as Algonquin Mountain.
We stood at our first zip line and watched my brother go first. One guide always goes first and the other stays behind to go last. The one who goes first is there to either pull you in if you come up short or to stop you if you are coming in way too hot. The key to success is to brake just enough — but not too much!
The other guide stays behind to get the last person in the group hooked onto the line and ready to go. The first line was fast and fun! As soon as I stepped off the ledge I instantly felt the harness hold me in the air, and all I was left with to do was enjoy the feeling of flying through the sky. We flew from treetop to treetop with views of the mountainscape before us. The course eventually landed us back on solid ground, where I was suddenly able to feel the stark contrast in sensations from being up in the treetops. It was extraordinary. I felt grounded, secure and safe — feelings I didn’t realize I was lacking thirty-five feet in the air.
Josh didn’t give us much time on solid ground before we were standing at the ledge of a cliff holding onto a blue rope being instructed to jump. There is nothing natural about trying to convince yourself to jump off of a ledge, even when you watched your brother do it safely before you. Nervous laughter is totally a thing! This had my mom and I laughing so hard as I stood there playing some very serious mind over matter to get myself to do it. This coming from a girl who has been skydiving! How was it that I had once so easily jumped out of a plane, and yet I stood there having to convince myself to jump? I finally leaped off the ledge, and for a few seconds I was free falling with my heart in my throat. I was quickly caught by my harness and slowly lowered to the ground, and oh boy did it ever feel good to be on land once again!
Then it was my mom’s turn. All of my mother’s children were born with fearless, adventurous hearts. We grew up learning to be that way and I can’t remember the last time I spoke the words “I am bored” — three words not allowed to exist in our vocabulary. When I was young, yet old enough to know what boredom meant, I said to her one day, “I am bored.” I’ll never forget what she said to me. “Never, ever say the word bored. Look around you, look at where you live. The entire outdoors is your play-ground, let your imagination run wild.”
From that moment on, the wild and free-spirited person I am today was born! My mom raised us to experience the world around us, to love the outdoors, to be adventurous, and to truly appreciate where we live. We are all versions of my mom. We all can be shy, reserved, and yet completely outgoing, thrill-seeking adventure junkies. So, it only makes sense that my brother works at a zipline course and my mom and I were there experiencing it with him. My mom is always willing to try anything, even if it truly scares her! She stood on that ledge contemplating jumping for a long time; she was very nervous. Josh and I coaxed her along. Then just as she said “Ohhhh, I don’t know if I can do this,” she jumped, ignoring everything in her saying don’t do it. She did it! She landed safely on the ground and the three of us were keeled over laughing hysterically, the contagious kind of laughter that hurts in the best of ways.
This experience will toy with your emotions, play with your fears, and make you confront your ability to trust. It gives you joy and the thrill you love. You are left wondering how it was possible to feel such a whirlwind of emotions all at once. We left feeling as though we had experienced something you can’t quite find anywhere else. The area where families used to enjoy the outdoors long ago has stood up to Scott's Cobble’s reputation by becoming a part of the Adirondacks that is going to once again leave an imprint in the lives of anyone who goes there. Experience Outdoors in the Adirondacks is an adventure — a unique kind of fun. Seize the moment and go experience the outdoors in this stimulating new way!
Experience Outdoors has six zip lines totaling more than 2,000 feet. From Lake Placid, take Route 73 east for about 3.5 miles. Experience Outdoors is on the left.
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