By Paul Ross
Paul is an 11-year old and attends Caughlin Ranch Elementary School. He wrote this essay and took all the pictures. He received an A for his work.
Are you thinking about going to the Sierra Nevada Journeys (SNJ) Grizzly Creek Ranch this summer for the first time? Are you wondering what you might see and do at GCR? Do not worry because there are over 20 activities to do independently, and over 10 things to do with a group, your friends, or your family. There are some very fun and popular places to be at Grizzly Creek Ranch, such as the field, the Alpine Tower, the Zipline, the Ga-Ga Pit, and the pond. These places happen to be the most fun and popular. Even though the Ga-Ga pit is all new, I can already tell that it is going to be a hit.
1. The Field
The field is probably the biggest space of all at GCR. The field has the most uses out of every attraction. It can be used to bike around, play sports, relax, and most group activities can be found in or around the field. If that isn’t cool enough, even wildlife can be found in or around the field. Frogs, toads, deer, and even a type of snake can be found in the field area. DON’T WORRY! The type of snake is 100% harmless to humans. Just be careful around the deer, they are pretty to look at, but not to touch. The frogs and toads are fine to pick up, but it is very important to be gentle.
2. The Alpine Tower
Now the Alpine Tower is another story. It only has one use, and that is for climbing. It is basically a big, wooden, rock climbing tower. It’s 100% safe because you’re strapped in a harness that is safely tied to the top of the tower. The Alpine Tower itself is very safe because K Fenstermacher (SNJs’ Program Director) stated that, “We have a company called Challenge Works that comes down and secures the tower every single year and repairs the tower as well.” Even though the tower is very safe, it’s still challenging for most people, so it might not be an activity for many people. If you’re worried that you might have trouble, there are two different routes that you can take. One is for beginners, and the other one is for more advanced climbers.
3. The Zipline
The Zipline isn’t as big as the Alpine Tower, but some people think that it’s just as challenging. What you have to do to get started on the Zipline is to first, follow the directions to put on your harness; then, clip your harness on to a rope that is secured at the very top of the Zipline. You then climb up a tree using the pegs on the tree. At the top, you reach a tightrope, which you have to walk across. Don’t worry, there’s a rope about shoulder height that you can reach out and hold on to as you walk across; and remember, you have a harness attached to you at all times, so if you fall, the harness will catch you. Once you walk across the tightrope, you get to the Eagles Nest which is the top of the tower. When you’re at the top of the tower, you then unclip your harness from the first rope, clip your harness to the new rope that is connected to the main part of the Zipline, and then enjoy the ride! K states that, “The Zipline is safe, mainly because the company Challenge Works also works and repairs the Zipline as well, and Challenge Works has very well trained people working there. In addition, the members at Grizzly Creek Ranch go through an extra week of training just for the Zipline.”
4. The Ga-Ga Pit
The all new Ga-Ga Pit (Ga-Ga is Hebrew for ‘touch touch’) is one of the competitive sports in GCR and is a very fun sport. It’s basically a new game of dodgeball, only more fun. The rules of the game are: there are about 20 people in one big wooden pit with one ball in the middle. Once the game starts, it is basically a game of free-for-all dodgeball using one ball, but you can only use one hand to catch and throw the ball. To get other people out, you throw the ball at their legs. “The Gaga Pit is very safe because SNJ designed it and put it together professionally and had many tests figuring out if the pit was safe” said K.
5. The Pond
After all the action at the other places, it’s nice to go to the pond, one of the more calm places. It happens to have more than one activity to do there. You can go kayaking, you could go fishing, or you can just sit down and relax. If you want to go kayaking or fishing, you can bring your own equipment if you have any and want to bring it, but GCR has everything you need, including bait. The most popular kind of fish you would find in the pond are bluegill, which are tiny fish that are very fun to catch. If you just want to sit down and relax, the best time to do so is in the morning, because kayaking takes place during noon, and fishing is usually around late evening.
Now you know how to get started on the most popular activities at the top five places at Grizzly Creek Ranch. You can choose to hang out at the field, climb the Alpine Tower, soar down the Zipline, win at the Ga-Ga Pit, or kayak on the pond. Out of all of these places, I have to say my favorite is the Alpine Tower because although it seemed like the hardest thing there, I like to challenge myself, and it was pretty fun. If you participate in even half of these awesome activities, you will have an amazing time. Just remember that there are other people there too, so remember to share! Maybe I’ll see you there!
Fenstermacher, K. “Safety and Features of Grizzly Creek Ranch.” Personal interview. 16 Apr. 2015.