African Safari

What is the first thing that comes to mind when you hear African adventure? Safari? Me too.  It’s something I’ve always wanted to do.  Between the animals, the bumpy land rover ride, and the scenery, I think it would be a fun daytime expedition.  Depending on which region you visit in Africa, the landscapes and attractions are quite different. East Africa pushes Mount Kilimanjaro, however, Botswana and Zimbabwe are home to 80% of Southern Africa’s 300,000 elephants where it is not uncommon to see herds along the northern borders.  I would want to go during the green season, March to November, as this is the time when many baby animals are born due to the availability of vegetation and nutrients.

Zebras - Camdeboo National Park

I recently learned that baby zebra (foals) are brown and white when they are born and then turn black and white as they age.  It would be amazing to see a brown and white baby zebra and perhaps a tour guide would know what causes the color transition.  While zebras are beautiful, the animal I would want to see most is a giraffe due to its stature and grace as it eats off of high trees.  And usually where there is one, there are more.  As long as it didn’t get too hot in the safari, the lure of roaming wide open territory is why this is a top adventure on my bucket list.

http://www.jenmansafaris.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/Zebras-Camdeboo-National-Park

https://pixabay.com/static/uploads/photo/2015/10/30/08/26/lion-1013527_960_720.jp

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/james-weis/safari-101-what-you-need-to-know-before-africa-travel_b_1634535.html

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Rock Climb in Utah

Fisher Towers at sunset.JPG

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fisher_Towers

Sandstone and limestone rock, native to much of Utah, is easily eroded away by water and wind leading to some miraculous scenery and rock climbing adventures.  The red hint to the rock with little vegetation around is something that we don’t see here in New Hampshire.  Steeply sloped, smooth mountains make it difficult to place hands and feet into nearly nonexistent crevices but all the more of a challenge it becomes.  While it may be a struggle on the way up due to the lack of clip in stations, the views look to be more than worth it.

There are adventures for all different experience levels, therefore I am certain I would be able to summit.  From canyons to deserts, Utah has something for everyone’s taste.  National parks are located all around the area making for easy access to an hour, day, or week long climbing adventure.  Between the backdrop of the blue sky against the reddish brown rocks and the amazing natural sculptures that have formed in and around them, I would love to go and try an easier climb (while bringing a camera of course).  It would also be fun to go and watch professional climbers as they meticulously perfect their every move.  Hopefully a visit to Utah is in my near future since I have friends who are moving out there next year!

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slab_climbing

http://cliffsandcanyons.com/rock-climbing-trips/

 

Volcano Surf

Volcano Boarding: Extreme and Dusty

        As a volcano erupts, spills over, and cools, some people are trying to avoid the natural disaster while others are planning their surfing adventure.  Surfing doesn’t only happen on water, but on the leftover coals that have eroded into a sand-like texture.  Surf down the slopping volcano walls as you meander around each bump and groove.  This activity is for the adventurous who aren’t afraid to do a little traveling to find a volcano or who want to try something completely new. Test your balance and coordination as you try to keep your feet underneath you and on the surf board.  For those who want to try it, protective gear includes pads for elbows and knees, a helmet, goggles, and jumpsuit as the bare minimum.

With concerns aside, many places located around Latin America such as Nicaragua and Guatemala have sign ups available.  Riders hike up the volcano before proceeding down on a thin plywood or metal board.  Hot ash, coals, and poisonous gases make this an extreme sport to say the least.  While it looks like sand dunes at first, the closer you get, you’ll see the hard rock like features that make it anything but a soft landing (or so I’m told).

Some of the volcanoes are active every day while others haven’t erupted since the late 90’s.  Either way, there is great risk associated with the extreme sport where on the hike up the only thought going through your mind is “I hope I will only be boarding on ash today and not lava!”  But with the stunning views from the summit, these thoughts don’t seem to keep the adventurists from going 50 mph down a volcano on a wood board!  Now, if only I had the courage…

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Volcano_surfing

Dive with the Big Boys

Deep below the ocean’s surface, with nothing but an oxygen tank, a wetsuit, and some bait, avid divers strap themselves into a cage and tantalize sharks to eat out of their hand.  Quite literally and figuratively, that would “rattle my cage” but despite wide eyes and a rushed heartrate, I think I would give it a shot.  Special gloves and protective gear to avoid bites or other injuries would be a necessity as I am sure my hands would be shaking the minute a shark got close enough to me.  But how many people can say they have ever done it?  Perhaps the only lure to the adventure is the sense of excitement, thrill, and good stories, but reason enough for me to try it, especially if protected by the metal cage.

Shark Diving Image

Imagine swimming among animals three, four, ten times your size in their own natural habitat.  Dark..eerie..unnatural..yes, but all the better to be pushed out of your comfort zone.  A go-pro camera would be amazing to watch back footage of sharks feeding out of your hand, assuming there would be enough light to capture a good video.  There are places all around the world that do this and group sizes vary from 3 or 4 people all the way up to 10+.  If I ever get the opportunity with friends who are adventurous enough I think it would be a great way to explore new heights..or depths.  Perhaps this is one of those “don’t tell mom” things though!

Kayak down the Rapids

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whitewater

Another adventure on my bucket list is to go white water kayaking.  After renting or purchasing a boat, paddle, and helmet, all that’s left is to find a river suitable to how adventurous you are and how high the rapids get.  It would be smart to start on smaller rapids to “get my feet wet” so to speak and slowly work my way up.  It looks like a rush of adrenaline as you strategically plan your moves to maneuver around rocks, sticks and other objects.  With spring on its way, this is prime time for higher rapids due to snow runoff making it all that more fun and safe.  Spring time paddling would be cold though, so I would definitely look into renting or buying a wet suit/dry suit.

There are different types of boats with different lengths and weight ratios for stabilization and technical purposes.  The shortest of all of them is called a rodeo boat, shortened to slice through the water and maneuver around any obstacles and narrower streams.  To me, this boat seems to be a good style for a novice like me however, I read that the shorter the boat, the harder it is to work on technique because of less boat beneath you.

With this activity, it seems beneficial to take a tour or go with a guide to ensure safety and perfect technique before just jumping in and going.  I would like to go on some river that I have never seen before, perhaps with a place to stop and eat lunch or watch a waterfall etc.

In North Creek, NY , near where I live, there is a white water derby in May for 2.5 miles down the Hudson River.  This is always a blast to watch hundreds of kayakers race down the river, almost as  if they were bumper cars the whole way down.  They have no mercy on each other, making this sport not for the light-hearted.  I missed it last year but will try to make it a point to go and watch this May if it is after school gets out.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Playboating

Cliff Jumping

I have jumped off of small cliffs on lakes in New York , however I want to scale the height and change up the scenery a bit.  Acapulco has always been on my list, not only for the scenery and pretty blue water but for the cliff diving in particular.

http://jonkuta.com/photo/2008/oregon/

As a child I was always a diver (in the pool that is) and always wanted to push my limits from back dives to flips etc.  I guess it is fitting that I am attracted to cliff jumping/diving.  I am always hesitant to do it at first but after I have done it once and am all wet, I can never get enough and always want to go higher and farther.  The only tricky part is climbing up the steep rocks when your’re done.

Cliff jumping is such a thrilling experience and is usually found at the most scenic, relaxed places surrounding a beach.  What’s not to love?  Sometimes there are swimming holes and natural pools carved out around the rock formations, pleasant for even the non-adventurous.

I have found that it is not as easy as it looks.  That being, simply step off and let yourself fall.  In fact, the higher cliffs the more complicated it becomes.  You need to be sure that you propel out far enough that no accidents on your descent occur.  Timing and precision on how you enter the water is also needed.  Shoes are sometimes important if the cliff is high enough to minimize some of the impact.  And then there is always the depth of the water and wave height once landing.

If these are enough reasons to opt out, there are great opportunities to watch the professionals perfect their technique in places like Acapulco and Negril.  There are even competitions that bring many viewers and if nothing else a good time hanging out with friends on a beach.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fly High

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jet_pack

             Perhaps at the top of my bucket list is to try out a water jet-pack.  With a love for the ocean and a soft surface in the case of a wipe-out, this seems like a blast.  The long hose that is connected to the jet pack is hooked up to an external watercraft, often a jetski, in order to fuel the propulsion.  A simple pull of the handheld throttles initiates enough thrust-to-weight ratio to lift off and maneuver in a way that no other aircraft or design has in the past.  The stainless steel sleek design is void of corrosion and the connecting hose acts as a tether to keep flying to certain altitude.  The hose additionally keeps you and the jet-pack from flying over land.

Surprisingly, from what I have read, there is great stability and control with the device as the throttles are well away from the hand held controls and additional force is not needed to maneuver the machine.  As of now, jet-packs are located in popular vacation locations such as San Diego, Las Vegas, and Myrtle Beach, but people have been known to buy the jet pack separately and rig up their pre-owned jet-ski to supply the power.  I think I’ll stick to paying the going rate of $100 for a 15 minute flight, as steep as that may sound.

From pictures, it seems that becoming Buzz Lightyear with one hand extended while flying just may become a reality (at least for a few minutes). Twists, turns, even flips have all been done (mostly by professional demonstrators) but I think it would b fun just to mimic the feeling of flying on what is a rather safe and growing sport.  Perhaps one day there will be competitions for the trend-setters of jet-setters.

http://www.jetpackadventures.com/

 

 

 

 

 

Powder up in the Alps

alps

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rote_Nase

On a bluebird sky day with not a cloud around, it is common to see thousands of “S’s” from skiers and snowboarders carving into the mountain side of the Swiss Alps.  It is great to breathe in the fresh air and surround yourself with high-energy people who love the outdoors because the sights before your eyes will be like none you have seen before.

Goggles are a must with the bright sunshine, however, goggle tan lines are always welcome and lend themselves well to good stories.  I have always wanted to go with a big group of friends to the Alps and experience skiing on mountains that are a “tad” higher than the White’s in New Hampshire.  From what I hear, they are quite the spectacle.

alps2

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alps

Not only would it be fun to see Switzerland, but living in a snow covered lodge for some time where you could ski village to village would be like nothing I have experienced before.  In New Hampshire, we have hillside condos, but not villages that allow skiing between them.  I’m sure there would be many good laughs by the fireplace and many snowy boots on the door mat.

I would go even just to ride the rotating ski lift that is enclosed like a tram.  Being surrounded by mountains on all sides as you climb the mountain seems like a fun day trip with a panorama that would be worthy of many pictures.

The snow, the scenery, the mountain top restaurants (with fondue made of Swiss chocolate of course) seems like reason enough for me to start packing my bags.  I think I would have to stay for two weeks at least though, just to acclimate to the difference in pressure;)

Running of the Bulls

bull

 

From the 6th to the 14th of July, the running of the bulls takes place in Irunea/Pamplona, Spain.  It is a well celebrated occasion and something that started from needing to get the bulls from outside the city into the bullring.

The atmosphere surrounding the running of the bulls ceremony opens with chanting and waiving rolled newspapers high in the air.  Upon the sound of a rocket being fired, the corral is opened and the bulls are released.  With laser eyes and an enthused energy toward whatever is in their path, the bulls are set free.

What makes anyone want to do this, I don’t know.  Although the run only lasts a few minutes, I am sure that would seem like an eternity when you are running for your life.  Since 1910, 15 people have been killed in Pamplona, enough to make me stick to watching the event.  I think the energy and atmosphere is why thousands of people event.

While I knew that there were barricades or fences that line the streets, I did not know that there are breaks in them large enough so that a person can slip through to enter or leave but small enough to not allow the bull to break through.  I always thought that once you were in you were in for good. I suppose that with are so many runners, actually making it to the edge would be nearly impossible when everyone is vying for that coveted position.

As for now, I think it would be a worthwhile experience to visit Spain and better understand its culture and tradition through an event such as the running of the bulls but I can’t say I will be jumping in on the action any time soon.

bull2

 

http://cdn2-b.examiner.com/sites/default/files/styles/image_content_width/hash/ba/19/ba1997e6e44b1cdd001945810d8d0476.jpg?itok=FUFFFR72

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Running_of_the_Bulls

The Lazy Way Down

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/7/7e/Hang_gliding_in_Novosyolovsky_District.jpg/640px-Hang_gliding_in_Novosyolovsky_District.jpg”

Have you ever climbed a mountain where you could see the car parking lot at the base and thought, it would be so nice to hang glide or paraglide down? After all, you put in all the work going up so you deserve it, right?!

I have always wanted to paraglide or hang glide off of a mountain top.  Although I haven’t thought far enough ahead as to how I would get the parachute and equipment up the mountain, on a clear day it seems as if the wind in your face would be both a thrill of excitement and a sense of calmness as you are all strapped in.

I was curious as to the difference between hang gliding and paragliding and after some research found that:

1. Hang gliders typically weigh more than 50 pounds and are most easily carried on a roof rack, while paragliders typically weigh less than 50 pounds and are carried via a backpack.

2. Hang gliders are completely disassembled for transport and typically require about 30 minutes to set-up and prepare to launch; paragliders are packed completely assembled and can take as little as 5 minutes to set-up and take flight.

3. Hang gliders are more streamlined and capable of much faster speeds compared to paragliders; however, due to their slower speed paragliders can typically land in much smaller fields.

source: https://www.ushpa.org/page/what-is-hang-gliding-and-paragliding

While both have there pros and cons, I would be hesitant to do either due to the fact that both are dangerous.  Rising thermals of warm air can quickly make a parachute collapse and I would be scared about where I was going to land.  Perhaps with some advice from a pro and some convincing that it is safe, I would run myself off the ledge, quite literally.

paragliding-918721_960_720.jpg (960×642)

https://pixabay.com/static/uploads/photo/2015/09/02/12/52/paragliding-918721_960_720.jpg”