Member for 3 years 6 months
Passionate and curious
Outdoor and human
AN adrEnalin RUSH IN THE HEART OF THE ArdenneS
A day at the Terraltitude park to bring out the adventurer in you!
5 mins µOF ADRENALIN
Nestling by the River Meuse in the heart of the Ardennes Regional Nature Park and, more specifically, in the middle of a former slate mine, Terraltitude Park brought out the Lara Croft in me as soon as I arrived! Hardly surprising when you've barely parked the car, just a few metres from Fumay centre, and find yourself high above the River Meuse entering the park via an enormous footbridge, like something out of a film set, which leads to the main reception area. This bridge appears to be a link between civilisation and the untouched wilderness on the opposite bank, inviting us to go and explore. Without hesitation, my feet equipped with trainers take me into this extraordinary setting that has me jumping for joy. Firstly, with the backdrop from another era, the remains of a quarry. Then, after a short walk through some woods, I've completely switched off from everyday life and am ready to launch myself wholeheartedly into the day ahead. Finally, the large wooden gate marks the beginning of our adventure. I step through, impatient to find out what's on the other side and what surprises are hidden among these trees that look very promising.
An infinite choice of activities, each as crazy as the next
There are so many possibilities when you arrive that you don't know where to start! Adrenalin seekers might make a beeline for Fantasticable, a zipwire that's over a kilometre long and 110 metres above the River Meuse, or Catapulte, or Climb Jump or even the 20 metre bungee jump, while other visitors will start with one of the many treetop adventure trails. There's something for every level here, so there's no excuse for not testing your balance between two trees! The all-timber trails are visually appealing, leading around tree trunks and under branches, and blending harmoniously into the natural surroundings. All these installations are invisible from a distance and it's only when you're standing at the foot of the trees that you can see the timber structures, like natural extensions of the hardwoods. The park guides are at hand to offer help and advice and accompany us for the different activities.
A leap into the void with a view over the Meuse
Naturally, I'm on cloud nine when the guide takes me via the forest tracks to the highest part of the park in a 4-wheel drive Defender (Tomb Raider model if you please!), to the departure platform of my first activity of the morning, Fantasticable. Armed with a good helmet and harness, I feel ready for my first rush of adrenalin. Fantasticable is normally ridden in a headfirst position lying on your front. But my photographic ambitions lead me to choose the sitting position, to get better shots of the scenery whizzing past below me. The guide ensures I'm ready and launches me into the void. I hurtle down at high speed, legs dangling in nothingness and the wind in my face, above the River Meuse and over the treetops! The ride takes my breath away and it's barely over when I'm on my way back to do it again.
Time for the big leap
The adrenalin continues pumping for a bungee jump from the park's giant tower standing high above the trees. It seems to touch the sky and looks like an enormous diving board. But there's no water underneath, just a huge landing net which sets the tone for what's to come. Determined not to lose heart, I climb the ladder all the way up the structure. Actually, 20 metres is really high from up here... At the top, my legs are a little shaky, but I can't leave without trying this! Besides, isn't it great to be doing my first bungee jump in the Ardennes? The guide gets me ready and explains the procedure, what I must do and not do, like jumping head first. Right, who's scared? Not me! I'm ready! Admittedly, my techniquie probably isn't perfect, but I jump and it's an absolutely fantastic feeling! That mixture of fear and joy that goes hand in hand with adrenalin activities.
Barely back on the ground, I remove my harness and replace it with another, for the treetop adventure trail. Well, I didn't come here to stop half way, and there are plenty of other great things to try here! And this is not one of those adventure parks with limited options that leave you disappointed; here, there's a whole succession of trails that are all different from one another. There's something for everyone, adults and children alike. All of these amusing trails feature highly original obstacles that are great fun to tackle. And the levels of difficulty range from easy green to a challenging black! There really are more than 108 different things to do in this park spread across 5 hectares.
For those wanting to push out the boundaries and take to the heights, the "sensation" itinerary is dizzyingly high with 15 or so obstacles that require a certain sense of balance. Younger or less intrepid visitors can try other itineraries with sections that are closer to the ground but just as much fun. Whichever level you choose, you'll find yourself surrounded by nature, accompanied by the song of birds and the rustle of the wind in the trees. You feel good here, having fun in the heart of the Ardennes countryside. So it's difficult to say goodbye at the end of the day. I leave Terraltitude with a desire to return the very next day to do all these exhilarating activities over and over again, and enjoy another day, or more, of pure enjoyment in the middle of this unspoilt wilderness.