For a person who loves snow I have been pretty bummed with the warmer than normal temperatures we have been experiencing. That was until I realized that Fields of Fire Adventure Park in Mystic, Connecticut was still putting on their Friday Night Lights. Every Friday night, weather permitting, the adventure course is lit by strings of LED lights until 10:00PM. Amazingly, these LED lights use less electricity than a conventional hair dryer and are more than enough to light your way.
After signing in and filling out waivers we headed over to get our harnesses and helmets. Jon, the General Manager, walked us through getting all of our safety gear on before heading to the test trail. Here he continued to talk about safety and the double locking system that keeps you always attached while you are up in the trees. The harness and locking system they use is pretty bomber. It’s the safest and most secure I have felt on an aerial park/zipline.
Based on how we did on our test trail Jon decided to have us start on the Blue Trail in the back section of the park. Altogether there are five trails over 50 acres right off I95. The back section has Yellow, Blue, and Black trails while the front has Yellow and Green trails. Caitlin, Jaimie, and I set off up the platform and on to the Blue trail armed with two GoPros to record our adventures. The Blue trail is more of an intermediate trail and we recognized this quickly. Down below us Jayne was taking pictures and talking to Jon about how they built the park.
We traversed from platform to platform using a variety of ropes, steel cables, and wood features. I attempted a, “Look Ma, no hands!” at one point, but didn’t last too long. I ended up leaning my head on the steel cable since my legs were a bit wobbly.
Caitlin followed closely behind me as we each used a GoPro HERO4 Silver to capture the action. Shouts of encouragement came from Jon and Jayne below as we tried to figure out the best technique to use for each section. It was also very interesting to hear how the platforms were built to help preserve the trees with all of the wood and cabling and not bolting directly into the trees.
The Blue trail ended with a zip line to get down. All of the zip lines in the park are set up so that you are attached by both of your locking anchors on their own individual steel cables. It’s a totally different feeling you get having to jump off a platform with nothing below you compared to all of the previous sections that had configurations above and below you. I recommend not really thinking about it and just jumping.
Jon decided that since we had so much fun on the zip line at the end of the Blue trail that he would bring us up front to the Green trail that has the longest, fastest zip line in the park. Getting there, of course, brought new challenges and obstacles. The Green and Yellow trails are easier on the technical side, but still, include some surprises thrown in to keep you on your toes. Any of these routes can be made harder by choosing to challenge your friends to try to do it with their eyes closed or without using their hands.
My trio kept it mostly conventional by keeping our eyes wide open and using hands for the most part. I did accept Jon’s challenge to go upside down on the spiderweb though. Climbing to the top of the web I secured my legs in and then lowered myself down. This felt so nice on my back! Using gravity to stretch out is amazing. What I failed to think about while I was doing this was that I was going to have to do a pretty epic sit up to get myself back upright. Let’s just say my abs were sore for a few days. After making our way up to the high platform it was time to jump into the darkness for the big zip line. You pick up some pretty good speed heading down, but the park uses a magnetic breaking system to slow you down at the end and not cause a jolt like other zip lines I have been on. More bonus points for Fields of Fire. Upon finishing the trail we all headed over to the large fire pit to warm up, talk to other participants, and enjoy some beverages. Caitlin and I headed out one more time to try the Yellow Trail while Jayne and Jaimie sat by the fire watching us.
Hopefully, I can convince my niece to come with me next time since the course is ages 8 and up (as long as you meet height and weight requirements.) The Aerial Adventure Park at Fields of Fire is great for families, friends, and corporate outings. I highly recommend going for Friday Night Lights. They have picnic tables so you can bring your own food and beverages and the fire pit was pretty awesome. Also, consider bringing the fixings to make smores. I forgot and was kicking myself because of it.