Occidental's Alliance Redwoods Ropes Course: Get Over Your Fear!
Located at 6250 Bohemian Highway, just outside of the small town of Occidental in Sonoma County, is the Alliance Redwoods Ropes Course and Conference Grounds. From Santa Rosa, it is 15-25 minutes. If you did not know about it, you might think it is a four star hotel complete with pool, wooden buildings, basketball courts, playgrounds, nestled among towering redwood trees. However, that would be a mistake.
Alliance Redwoods is private and usually used by organizations or schools. Schools come there to spend 1-3 days to experience team building and activities for one to overcome fears about trying. All great skills for those in 6th-8th grades to learn. Kids have a blast and also learn as they hike uphill exploring the densely wooded redwood trees. Usually, the school has chaperons and onsite staff to walk the kids through a host of activities every day. At night, they sit around the campfire to chat and play games. No cell phone reception is available for most carriers. No computers. The kids are usually assigned to a group with a staff member and chaperon and they stay with that group through daily activities. Meals are included and cabins are heated and have electricity-no roughing it here.
To help one overcome fear, the ropes course is simply the best. There are a host of tests kids and adults can attempt:
- Two story climbing tower to home in rock climbing skills
- A 100 yd. (football field length) zip line strung across redwoods and 15 ft above the ground. The zip line is quite fast. Lots of screaming!
- Leap of Faith is daunting. You must climb up a 65 ft. redwood tree using spikes in the tree. When you arrive at the top platform, you must leap and grab a hanging bar and then let go! The screams are worse than the zip line. The reluctance to jump is intense. If you have a fear of heights, simply climbing the tree will conquer it.
- The Vertical Playpen is a hard climb up using rope ladders and nets some 50-60 ft. Then, you have to come back down.
- The Rope Rocket is near the parking lot. It is essentially a very high up rope swing that spans 25 yds.
All of the "rides" are totally safe as participants wear secured harnesses that have a rope anchored to a staff member. Helmets are worn. Kids are never pressured in doing any of the rides, but all are encouraged to overcome their fears and when they do, they know they can do just about anything once fear has been conquered.