By John Lauritsen

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Minnesotans are always looking for different ways to challenge themselves; whether it’s taking on a new hobby, or pushing yourself in something you already do well.

At Eagle Bluff Environmental Learning Center in Lanesboro, there’s an exercise that builds self-confidence — but you have to watch your step.

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“I love the bluffs, all the bluffs and the trees,” said marketing coordinator Bridget Tonne.

The bluffs and trees are the first things you see when you arrive at Eagle Bluff, and they’re hard to miss.

There are a variety of birds, and even bobcats, among the nine miles of scenic trails.

“We had a bobcat sighting which was exciting, and the video blew up on Facebook, which was kind of cool,” Tonne said.

This is where visitors come to be at one with nature. And no better way to do that than to get up high, while doing your best to not look down.

“One of our oldest participants to date has been 88 years old,” Tonne said.

(credit: CBS)

She is talking about Eagle Bluff’s high ropes courses. They are designed for team building and building confidence — while you are 30 feet above the ground.

“It’s definitely enough to make you nervous because you can jump off and hang there,” Tonne said. “It can create some fear when you are on a single wire and you feel like there is nothing supporting you.”

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On this course there are seven events, from the wooden log to the single wire.

There are bridges like the Indiana Jones Bridge, and there is the Postman’s Walk.

But the challenges are more than worth it, when you get to the million-dollar view from up top of the Root River Valley.

For a group of Edgerton FFA students, this exercise is about taking a step in the right direction.

“I would describe it as they are young, bulletproof and they don’t know what they are getting themselves into yet,” said teacher Nathan Thompson.

Like tight rope walkers in training, step by step, the students fought gravity before gravity became their friend. A zip line takes them through the woods and safely to ground level.

“It was fun. It was a little nerve-racking at the start of it, but once you got to the end it was really, really fun,” said senior Landon Buckridge.

That’s the idea: to live a little and learn a lot.

“It’s kind of a little getaway into nature,” Tonne said.

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Click here for more information on Eagle Bluff Environmental Learning Center.

John Lauritsen