Treetop trekking & country driving with the Ford Ranger

by W. Andrew Powell
Treetop Trekking in Stouffville

Aerial game trekking might be the most challenging thing I’ve tried in a long time, and it’s like nothing else. Imagine an obstacle course in the treetops, and you’ve got the general idea. It’s a lot of fun, and on the perfect fall weekend, it’s the perfect reason to get out into Ontario’s back yard.

This past weekend, Ford set me up with the 2019 Ranger Lariat FX4 to have an adventure out on the back roads, and they also set me up for that trekking session at Treetop Trekking in Stouffville.

While my daughter got into the discovery kids course, and the treewalk village, I worked my way through the aerial courses, finishing off with an advanced course that took about 30 minutes.

For aerial trekking, you wear a harness and helmet, and then climb up to the course connected to a safety line. I managed to keep myself from falling, but some of the games (which is what they call one portion of the course) are pretty tough. On one game, I had to stay balanced while crossing between a series of swinging logs, and it’s pretty easy to mis-step.

At the end of the courses, you connect to a zipline, and then slide down to the end, with bigger and bigger ziplines as you progress.

The final advanced course that I finished was not the last one at Treetop Trekking, but I burned through the course perhaps faster than I should have, so I didn’t have the energy to keep going, but the final zipline sounds amazing if you get the chance to go. You should definitely be prepared though for some challenging sections, but the views are amazing, and with a group of friends, it’s a blast.

Plus the weather was absolutely perfect–sunny, fairly warm, and just a little breeze–and the drive was wonderful. Heading to Stouffville, we took our time, and enjoyed the scenery.

Over the years I’ve driven a few of the Ford trucks, but this was my first time in the Ranger Lariat FX4, and there was a lot that I loved.

The 2.3L EcoBoost engine is a beast, boasting 270 horses, and major towing capabilities for whatever you want to haul, from trailers to boats, or RVs.

Like all of the Ford vehicles today, there are a lot of smart features built in as well, including Blind Spot Information System, Pre-Collision Assist with Automatic Emergency Braking, rear-view camera, as well as the B&O sound system, and Sync 3 system that works with Waze.

Earlier this year I had a demo of the emergency braking system, on a closed course, and it was completely amazing to see how quickly the vehicle can react. One moment the vehicle was going 30 km/h and the next it stopped a couple of feet from the obstacle on the course. It’s literally a feature that can save your life.

In terms of other features, you can also connect to your Ranger with FordPass from your phone, to start or lock your truck, or find it if you can’t recall where you parked.

And especially for highway driving, I love the Ford Co-Pilot 360 system, and the diver-assist features, since it includes lane-keeping and adaptive cruise control. So much of highway driving is just reacting to drivers in front of you, and the adaptive cruise control takes a lot of the work out of the trip.

The Ford Ranger is a great drive in the city too. The SuperCrew cab seats six comfortably, and looks almost like an SUV inside, so you have room for your family and whatever you need to haul or tow.

The whole weekend was really interesting, getting used to the Ranger, and we really enjoyed the trip. As a road trip lover too, I bet the Ranger would be the perfect vehicle to tow an RV across the province, or on tour across part of the country.

That said, it was excellent just in Toronto, getting from place to place, and getting out of town a bit.

Thanks to Ford of Canada for the time behind the wheel of the Ford Ranger, and the chance to try aerial game trekking! It was a real adventure, and while I’m still sore today, I won’t complain at all.

Scroll down for more photos from the weekend, plus a video from the aerial game trekking.

2019 Ranger Lariat FX4
2019 Ranger Lariat FX4

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