Roadrunner Canyon:

Roadrunner Canyon:

Props: Yellow Course

A.L.: 4

D.L.: 2-5 (Depending upon how well your group works together.)

Focus: Caring / Cooperation

Credit: Kimball Camp YMCA

You have been invited to go on an expedition. Realizing that when International Geographic says “invitation” they mean “paycheck”, you hastily agree to go. You are promptly shipped off to Central America to examine the famous roadrunner up close and personal! Armed with a camera, sketch books, tape recorders and a coyote (just in case things turn nasty and you need someone to take the fall for you), you charter an ACME off-road vehicle to take you out into the middle of the bleak desert to photograph this incredibly fast bird.

Days go by without a sign of the notorious bird. Even all of the ACME gear, such as rocket-powered skates, catapults, etc.. do nothing to increase your chances of fining one! Finally, just when the expedition seems to be a total failure, your ACME Roadrunner Sense-o-Meter goes off! You’ve found one! You track it for miles through the blazing heat, only to reach a dead end. (Unless you are an animated cartoon character and don’t mind falling off very large cliffs.) There, in front of you, is a canyon that makes the Grand Canyon look like it isn’t so grand. The roadrunner is definitely over on the other side, now you just have to get to it. You know that if you return home without pictures, sketches, etc.., you will never be paid, and so you decide to cross the canyon.

Thankfully, you brought along the ACME Canyon-Crosser 4000. Aiming at the cliffs across from you, you fire. A thin wire shoots forth, arcing toward the other side. Unfortunately, the process isn’t perfect.

Instead of a perfect, two-lane paved road, you are only left with a zig-zag wire with a few of the supports remaining and a rope to guide you. You must cross it, and so you begin…


1. Everyone must cross the canyon, though not everyone has to cross it at the same time. (In other words, one can go across, finish the course, and then come back and spot.)

2. There must be two spotters for every person attempting to cross. They should be placed, one in front, one in back, and should always be ready to catch! They should keep their arms around the person, loosely, so that they will make contact with the participants only if someone slips off the wire.

3. Participants may move to a tree, anchor themselves safely, and then tell you they are stepping down. When they step down, they are to go back and spot other members of the group. When they are ready to continue, they resume from where they came off the wire. If they do not tell you they are coming off the wire, it counts as a slip, and the whole group must start over! (Communication.)

4. The rope can be used for support, but it must be retrieved first. In other words, if it’s dropped, coil it back up and toss it back into the middle tree.

5. If someone touches the ground, the whole group must start over! (Prepare to birdwatch, however.)

6. No other means of support can be used to keep people on the wire (e.g. branches, sticks, rocks.), though trees are legal. If someone slips and a spotter ends up catching them, that counts as touching the ground. :(

7. The rope may be tossed between participants, however, if it falls in the middle, the group must find some way to get out to it and retrieve it by hand.


Caring. It seems odd, considering how much cooperation is involved, but caring is paramount. There are those in your group who need help to cross the wires, but if the group doesn’t plan for them, they will be left behind. Then these people end up touching the ground, causing the whole group to start over. What you will find, however, is that you will have one or two “speed demons” who will whip through the entire obstacle, leave their spotters and team behind, and then will not be able to help. Watch for it…


Who got through it the easiest? Who had some troubles? Why is there a difference? Shouldn’t it be the same for all? Who helped out the most? Could the group have made it without them? Who stepped down? How could the group have prevented this?

Spotting Concerns:

If someone slips on the rope, they have a tendency to swing prior to falling. Make sure the spotters are in position and have their arms ready to catch! Watch the fast people, they tend to fall the hardest. Beware of people complaining about others! It is the group’s fault if someone is having problems! (I know, not necessarily a spotting concern, but it is critical!)