(GULF SHORES, Ala.) - Afraid of heights?
What I am about to do will either cure you of that fear, or multiply it!
From the moment I saw it in front of Lulu's in Gulf Shores, I knew I would have to climb it - or humiliate myself trying.
What is it?
It is The Mountain of Youth!
"This is going to defiantly make you feel younger. This is going to give you that little zip of life we all seek," says Lulu's Cindy Pouyadou, who, by the way, has never been up on the human jungle gym that graces the front of this popular restaurant.
"It is on my bucket list," Cindy tells me, "and very soon you will see me up there."
I make my way to the foot of the stairs, stairs that will lead me eventually to a tiny wire rope three stories up.
It's just one of the many high challenges of the Mountain of Youth.
I will also have the opportunity to "walk the plank."
But first, a kind gentleman named Gerald shows me the harness and hooking device that will prevent me from falling on the would-be diners below.
"You get a lanyard put on you that's put in a track that you can maneuver around the course," he says.
That news is... comforting.
This manly experience would be even more so if all of the children would just get out of the way.
They seem to be everywhere, and not minding the height a bit.
"It's a good confidence builder," Gerald tells me.
Lulu's Steven Rogers will be my teacher along this tightrope to enlightenment, which starts out with something simple, a one story high beam, and advances to tricky.
Tricky would be three story high rope ladders, wires and that darn plank.
"The slower you go, the harder it is," Steven tells me, "because you'll feel the shaking in the ropes."
The second level features more rope lines and ladder bridges, which, by the way, aren't stable just because someone calls them bridges, let's make that clear right now.
It's up on the third level where things get a little dicey.
Not only do you have to deal with the height, you have to deal with the wind, which, let me tell you, is stronger when you get way up here.
I cross yet another wooden rope ladder to reach one of the most harrowing tests of them all... the plank.
That's right- three stories up, just jutting out there in the wind.
Me and a plank and my leash.
I know I won't fall.
Well, I don't think I will.
I stand on the plank and I'm fine, until some mom yells at her child and catches my attention.
It's a reminder that I'm way up here and she's way down there.
But I did it.
Time to feel the ground under my feet.
I can't imagine what it must have been like for people working on those tall buildings in New York City back in the 30's, balancing themselves on those beams as they built the greatest metropolis in the world!
"It must have been crazy up there with no harness, no lanyard," says Steven.
I could say, I can't even imagine.
But now, thanks to Lulu's and The Mountain of Youth, I can!