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Showing posts with label HyperActiveX. Show all posts
Showing posts with label HyperActiveX. Show all posts

Diving With Sharks At Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium in Tacoma, Wa

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It's been a while since I went diving. It's been even longer since I went diving with sharks at the Florida Aquarium in Tampa Bay, FL.

Diving with sharks is probably a must-do experience on every diver's Bucket List !

It affords a uniquely intimate interaction with one of the sea’s most beautiful, elusive and charismatic forms of wildlife. But it is also an experience fraught with potential danger.

Each year, increasing numbers of recreational divers seek out opportunities to swim in the company of sharks. For some divers, the encounter represents an exciting photo opportunity, for others, a rare chance to meet a totemic creature face-to-face. It is difficult to know what a shark makes of such encounters, but it’s probably safe to say that the animal imagines no deeply spiritual connection between itself and its human admirers. The famous Jacques Cousteau once said, "The only predictable thing about sharks is that they are unpredictable".

While there are ways to see these beautiful creatures in their natural habitat, nowadays many aquariums around the country offer an amazing opportunity to take a dive with some of our planet's most amazing apex predators and gain a new appreciation for their important role in oceans around the world.

"Eye-To-Eye With Sharks" program at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium in Tacoma, Wa  provides a unique opportunity for certified and non-certified divers to come face-to-face with live sharks!

How To Get Your Kid Into Rock Climbing

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Sometimes it's tough to get kids into outdoor activities. Some of them are not age appropriate, while others require skills, patience, and a long learning curve.

That's why rock climbing might be a great fit for kids, especially young ones 5-8 year old. Kids like to climb in general, and indoor rock climbing is a structured and disciplined way to teach them how to move and control their entire body: it's a very brainy versus brawny sport,

Kids tend to be natural climbers. They have a high strength-to-weight ratio — which means they have less body weight to haul up the wall than adults do — and their bodies are more flexible. They’re also not fearful ( but if they are, that’s normal, too ), and they have fewer personal limits than adults do. Adults tend to think they know what their body can and can’t do. Kids are less likely to limit themselves this way.

Kids acquire all kinds of positive skills. Problem solving is a  key component of climbing. Because climbing requires a combination of creative thinking and physical output, less athletic kids often shine, surprising even themselves. Kids also learn problem solving. Climbing is a puzzle to unlock, sometimes requiring the ability to back off, look at the route anew, and start again.

Revolutionary Fitness System That Improves Physical And Mental Health

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Millions of Americans are affected by mental health conditions every year.One in five Americans experienced some sort of mental illness, according to a new report from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. About 5 percent of Americans have suffered from such severe mental illness that it interfered with day-to-day school, work or family.

Mental illness is not an isolated public health problem. Cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and obesity often co-exist with mental illness and treatment of the mental illness can reduce the effects of these disorders.

Because of the difficulty in diagnosing these mood disorders, it's important to get treated for any mood disorder, because it can affect your own quality of life -- as well as the people around you.

The Innovative sk8pole Sends Land Paddling Into A New Generation !

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Why pay more to slip when you can pay less for grip !

The road grip multi-directional rubber pusher tip of the sk8pole kills the competition !

Let's face it. When it comes to land paddling it all comes down to the point of contact. Road grip and surface area convert into velocity forward. The patented sk8pole rubber pusher tip is in a class by itself. The pusher tip maintains 100% ground contact throughout the entire push motion creating maximum speed. Other tips wear out, slip, or just don't work ( can you say Kahuna Big Stick ?)

As for the shaft ? Why not go with 6061 Aluminum? Light, strong and affordable.

You can literally skate for miles without ever touching the ground with your foot. Also, the combination of kicking, pumping and sk8poling will give you a workout, and cover distances you never imagined.

Windsurfing Your SUP/Paddleboard

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It's been a while since I went windsurfing. After my windsurfing lessons two years ago, I took my board out maybe two or three more times before realizing that it wasn't for me.

Windsurfing in Washington is a very weather dependent sport . The only place where it blows consistently is the Columbia River Gorge. But even that place has its disadvantages ( 3 hour drive from Seattle, not exactly "beginner friendly"... ).

But about a year ago, I bought an awesome SUP that can be used for stand up paddleboarding, surfing, and even windsurfing !

Land Paddling : Which Land Paddle To Choose ?

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Kahuna Creations was the original master mind/creator of a land paddle. Nowadays, there are dozens of companies that sell land paddles which makes it kind of hard to chose from.

Too Young To Paraglide ?

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Kids these days...Start snowboarding while still wearing diapers, by 9 they rock terrain parks with amazing freesking moves, at 12 they fly kites and rip the waves in stormy North Sea.

But how old a kid should be to fly a paraglider ? They say "start them young". But how young ? 15, 16 ? How about 7-10 ? Too young ?

I think this boy is about that age...:


Kite Landboarding And Wind-Powered Vehicle Use In Washington State

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Washington state offers dedicated kiters year round riding around Seattle and beyond. And while kiteboarding/kitesurfing has been gaining popularity the last few years, landboarding, on the other hand, remains a relatively unknown outdoor activity to general public, and not very popular even among dedicated kiteboarders.

It's mainly due to the fact that the last few years, wind-powered vehicle use on Washington Ocean Beaches was prohibited.

But following a public process that included public meetings in Ilwaco and Ocean Shores, on March 26, 2015 the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission approved the use of wind-powered vehicles on portions of Parks-managed ocean beaches. Wind-powered vehicles include kite buggies, blo-karts, kite boards and other wind/sand sailing recreational vehicles. Prior to reaching this decision, State Parks held demonstration events with wind-powered vehicle users to understand the potential for safety issues, user conflict and impacts to wildlife.

Biking And Land Paddling Around Lake Union In Seattle

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Seattle is an outdoor lovers paradise ! Just the fact that the ( unofficial ) "symbol" of the Pacific Northwest great outdoors - REI - is located in Seattle downtown, tells how much Seattleites love playing in the great outdoors !

Seattle is one of few cities around US that offers an abundance of outdoor activities in and around its downtown, with bicycling being, perhaps, Seattleites' most favorite one.

Urban trails include shared use paths, bike lanes, signed bike routes, arterials with wide shoulders, and pedestrian pathways. And a great thing about bike lanes/trails, is that they can be used by land paddlers as well.

One of these popular bike trails is a 6 mile loop around Lake Union.

Scuba Diving With Underwater Scooter

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A diver propulsion vehicle (DPV, also known as an underwater propulsion vehicle or underwater scooter) is a great tool ( toy ) and tons of fun to use !

DPV (Diver Propulsion Vehicle) is designed to provide divers with greater mobility and less air consumption, giving them more bottom time (within tables) and far greater range. They scoot you through the water without kicking which saves you a lot of energy and can lower your air consumption up to 50%.

There are primarily two types of underwater transportation systems for recreational and technical divers - DPV (Diver Propulsion Vehicle) and underwater scooter.

The difference between DPV and underwater scooter is simple: a DPV is a vehicle with an integral saddle that a diver physically rides. A scooter is a unit that tows the diver along by the arms. As a general rule, Scooters tend to have smaller battery capacity than DPVs .

7 Amazing Grand Canyon Facts

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... visiting the Grand Canyon last year was an amazing experience ! ...it's definitely one of the (few) places I'm going back to...

Check out these "7 Amazing Grand Canyon Facts", and may be this will motivate you to visit one of the great World Wonders !

Fact #1 -  At its narrowest, at Marble Canyon, the Grand Canyon is only 600 yards (548 meters) across. At its widest, the gorge spans 18 miles (29 kilometers).


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Wave Skimboarding

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As I wrote in my previous post, there are two types of skimboarding : flatland , and wave riding.

I got to try flatland skimboarding last summer, and it was a lot of fun ! At first, it did feel a bit awkward, and even a bit embarrassing. I was the only adult at the beach skimboarding, and "the real surfers" and beach goers were giving me a stink eye. But I didn't care. It was something new to try, tons of fun, and a great cardio workout !

But recently, I got my first wave riding skimboard. Unlike flatland skimboarding, wave riding looks more difficult to master :  running full blast at the ocean, jumping onto the board, and riding out into the ocean to catch the approaching wave just before it breaks and ride it back into the shore. It's kinda like trying to skateboard on a quarterpipe that's coming right at you...A quarterpipe that, if you don't get there in time, is gonna explode right in your face.

Kiteboarding And Windsurfing At Magnuson Park In Seattle

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Kiteboarding and windsurfing at Magnuson Park in Seattle

Magnuson Park in Seattle is one of my favorite ! For ExtraHyperActive folks like myself, the park offers an abundance of adventures : climbing, kayaking, sailing, paddleboarding, and for the past few years, has become a popular launch spot for kiteboarding and windsurfing.

Mountain boarding BPA trail in Federal Way

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We expected La Nina to be pretty intense, with temperatures in the single digits and lot's of snow in the mountains. But I don't think anybody ( including Seattle officials ) expected snow in November, and arctic weather in December. Washington State and Federal Way in particular got snow off and on. The weather was so frigid that the snow didn't melt away for a few weeks.

I, personally, had no problem with that. The next day after the snow fall, I headed out to BPA trail in Federal Way, one of the best places in our state for hiking, biking, and now, my favorite place for mountain and longboarding.

Have You Visited Yellowstone National Park ?

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I had a great opportunity to visit Yellowstone NP during my road trip around US a couple years ago. Unfortunately, due to lack of time I didn't have a chance to explore this amazing park the way I wanted.

 I call Yellowstone NP " - "all American experience". And it's not only because it's one of the places in our country every American must see, it's also because it's very "convenient" to visit it. You can see/visit all major interest points/landmarks almost without leaving your car. Just drive to the next viewing point, get out of your car, walk a few steps, snap a few pictures, and you're done !

 Only for me, it's not the way to explore a new place. I want to immerse myself into the environment, and the best way to do it is through activities like hiking, backpacking, or camping.

 Next time, I plan to visit Yellowstone in winter ( everything looks better when covered with snow ), and to explore the park on skis or snowshoes.

 Meanwhile, check out this great video that will hopefully inspire you to make the trip to the park:

 

Two weeks, two mountains: Climbing Mt Stuart and Mt Shuksan

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It's been almost a year since I stepped on a mountain. Since my failed attempt to climb Mt Rainier, I added another goal to my Bucket List:

- take a mountaineering class (and climb major Washington peaks )

This year has been pretty great so far. I've had lots of adventures, but, unfortunately, not enough time. That's why when I got a chance I jumped on a great opportunity to climb two major Washington peaks just a few days apart : Mt Stuart and Mt Shuksan.

Last year I did a fun little hike to Ingalls Lake passing Mt Stuart on the way. While admiring the mountain I didn't think that a year later I'd get to stand on top of it...

Mount Stuart is the second-highest non-volcanic summit in the Cascade Range, and the highest peak in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness. Mount Stuart's upper North Ridge is listed as one of the Fifty Classic Climbs in North America and offers intermediate rock climbers a moderate route to the summit.

For me, Mt Stuart was "a strenuous hike", and a great test of my physical fitness. While most of the route is a class 5.5-5.6 scramble, the final 45% vertical snow wall was a bit intimidating...



If Mt Stuart was a training ground to brush up on my ice axe and crampon skills, Mt Shuksan made me pray for my life...




The final 600 feet to the summit involve what it's called " multi-pitch traditional climbing " ( meaning climbing more than one rope length, placing all gear required ), something that I had to learn "on the spot".

Gym or even crag climbing is fun, "easy and safe" ( relatively ), climbing with a 20 lbs backpack wearing your hiking boots is hell !

Know how to repel ( and being confident that you can do it with your backpack on while looking 9000 ft down ) is essential...as it's the only way down.

Though the mountain is imposing, beginner and intermediate climbers often climb this mountain.

Several mountaineering companies lead guided climbs on both Shuksan and Stuart charging $600-1000 for 2-3 days of climbing. So, not only did I climb two out of 18 Major Northwest Peaks, I saved about $ 1500 !

If you are a DIY type mountaineer, check out Climbing Washington's Mountains the book that provides the information needed to climb 100 of the state's outstanding summits, including all of state's 9,000-footers and high volcanoes.

Hiking Lake Ingalls In Alpine Lakes Wilderness

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There are a few great hikes that go to Lake Ingalls. The 31 mile out and back, Ingalls Creek trail is one of the most strenuous, longest ( and loneliest ) in the whole Alpine Lake Wilderness. Few hikers complete the entire trail.
Lake Ann- Ingalls Peak loop is shorter ( 19 miles).

But even more hikers ( including me ) plan a short ( 10.8 miles round trip) and easy day hike straight to Lake Ingalls.

I hear that Lake Ingalls is a popular destination and draws crowds of people in summer time. Though, parking lot was full, we didn't meet too many people along the way or even by the lake.

A couple cool features of the trail :

Ingalls Pass is dotted with many great camping spots ( official with toilets and ...."less official" ).

Mountain goats roam around the lake as if they owe the place ( one particular goat struck a pose and practically told me : " It's time for you to go").

Ingalls Lake is beautiful, inviting and...freezingly cold. Yet, a few "brave" hikers reward themselves with a cool dip ( or a cold plunge ) in the lake.

If you happen to have "hiking fishing gear" among your "10 essentials" ( fish hooks, line and some artificial lures ), try your luck fishing for trout. Want to have more "fish fun" ? Try "trout tickling" :)

One piece of gear I would recommend - insect repellent.

For a guide book, check out Backpacking Washington's Alpine Lakes Wilderness


SUPing/Paddleboarding With Seattle REI

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Many people tell me that they would like to try activities like sea kayaking, climbing, mountaineering, or even skiing/snowboarding. The only thing that stops them is finances.

Remember, that you don't have to invest tons of money into gear just to try out an outdoor activity. The cheapest way to get a taste and see if something like kayaking, mountaineering or skiing is for you is to take a class. Usually, the outfitter provides all the necessary gear, basic training and makes sure that you'll be safe.

Even cheaper ( or to be exact - free ) is to attend a free demo presentation.

The past couple years , a few outfitters have been offering free SUP demos in the summer.

Last Saturday, I attended a free SUP on-the-water demo day at Magnuson Park organized by Seattle REI.

I've been on the fence about this sport. Should I spend $ 800-1000 on a board and a paddle, just so I could go paddling a few times during the summer ? Which board should I go with ? Is it really that much fun ( I did it last year a few times, but needed to reassure myself ) ?

After that demo...I think...I am going to buy one of those boards !

First, I realized that buying a cheap inflatable board ( like Soltice Stand-Up Inflatable Paddleboard ) is not worth saving the money.

Second, The Ocean Kayak Nalu paddle board is not really an ocean kayak...or a paddle board.

Third, boards with thick traction pads ( stomp pads) that cover the majority of your board makes SUPing a much more enjoyable mission.

And finally, YES, it was a lot of fun ( OK, I admit, the hot weather was a huge part of that decision ) !


Climbing At Magnuson Park in Seattle.

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This post is not just about me climbing at Magnuson Park. It's another example of how easy it is to get into climbing. If you read my " The best way to learn climbing", you know the first steps:

-visit REI and get a "feeling", see if you like it
-take a belay class (don't sign up yet) at a local gym
-get your belay card
-invest in basic climbing gear (harness,shoes,a couple carabiners and a belay device)
-find (reliable and knowledgeable ) partners.
-keep learning

After I've done all of the above, I took another class- "Lead climbing", to learn:

• how to clip quickly, safely and properly
• advanced belay skills
• to fall safely
• understand the consequences of lead fall forces
• gain the skills necessary to pass your lead test ( hate tests).

I don't like dealing with all this "gym policy-safety first-do what we say", so I took my skills to Magnuson Park.

Did I mention it's FREE ?!



Best time to go there is on weekdays ( weekends tend to be swamped with "hard core climbers". Bring your own rope, quickdraws and , of course, a partner (or two). Basic knowledge I learned from the class, was enough for me to lead.



YES, HE IS ACTUALLY BELAYING ME RIGHT NOW!



My next stop- investing ( or may be somebody will be generous enough to donate it ) in some basic gear -my own rope and quickdraws.

The Best Way To Learn Climbing In Washington

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The best way to learn climbing ?  One thing for sure, you won't learn it by watching videos or reading books ( believe me, I've tried). So, like they say:" Practice makes perfect".

If you are a beginner and not sure if rock climbing is for you, don't be in a rush to join a local climbing gym. If you just want to get a feeling of "rock climbing", try REI's flagship store in Seattle first. For just $25 you'll get a pair of shoes, a harness, a bunch of pictures of you climbing ( now you can tell your friends, that you are a climber and can show the proof) and a belayer ( somebody who holds the rope while you are climbing). If that felt like a thrilling experience, next step is learning the basics and getting your own "belay card".

What's a belay card? Belaying is the safety technique used to control the rope and keep the climber safe while they climb. A belay card allows you and your friends to belay each other on any climbing wall. But it's not a card you are after, since different climbing gyms have their own belay cards, it's the knowledge and skills. Every time you go to a new gym, they will ask you to take a "belay test". Good thing is, once you've passed the test (belay test ) at one climbing gym, you will be able to pass it anywhere else.

The best way to get "belay " checked ? Take a lesson! I took mine at the Edgeworks climbing gym in Tacoma. You don't have to be a member ( or have any experience) there to take a class.
For just $ 29, you'll learn everything you need to pass a test ( anywhere):

the basics of indoor climbing equipment
how to tie into a top-rope
how to belay effectively and safely
take ( and pass!) their belay test and get the card for their gym

You can rent the necessary equipment ( shoes $5 and a harness$3 ) right there at the gym at an extra charge.

After you've passed you test and got your card, and you still have doubts, you can opt for a day pass ($15).

The hardest part of climbing is not just the risk associated with this sport. The hardest part is to find a reliable partner, preferably, somebody who has more experience ( and patient enough ) to teach you, and eventually take you outside to climb "real rock".