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Showing posts with label What Inspires You ?. Show all posts
Showing posts with label What Inspires You ?. Show all posts

Tandem BASE Jumping In Moab

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What are your thoughts when you're standing on the edge of a cliff looking down ? Have you ever felt the urge, this weird impulse, inside sensation to just jump ?
I have literally dreamed of this moment many times, and now it was about to happen...


It's true what they say : " Be careful what you wish for".

I month before my visit to Moab , I'd written a short post about Moab BASE Adventures that offered an unbelievable opportunity to try tandem BASE jumping off a cliff. I was so excited about it that I even added it to my Bucket List on Pintrest.

But when the opportunity presented itself.... I almost backed out !

It wasn't the fear of the drop itself, rather the fear of unknown...

BASE jumping is a relatively new sport, and tandem BASE jumping is even less known ( at least to an Average Joe like me ). Hence, there are a lot of questions go through one's mind : Is it safe ? Is it dangerous ? How high is the cliff ? How long is the free fall ? Do you need any specific training ? What happens if the parachute doesn't open ?

Though, no skydiving or climbing experience is necessary ( you just need to weigh fewer than 185 pounds and be fit enough to hike and scramble to the top), that's not the most important requirement.

When it comes to tandem BASE jumping, it's all about mental commitment...

That's probably why the company's first customers were climbers, skydivers, mountain bikers, people who are familiar with the feeling of "adrenaline rush", and are aware of the risks involved.

Tandem BASE jumping is not for everybody, it is not a roller coaster ride at your favorite theme park.

Now that I've done tandem skydiving, paragliding, and BASE jumping, I can say that there is something that sets BASE jumping apart from any other "extreme sport".

Most of the action in BASE jumping, at least at the novice level, occurs before the actual jump. In BASE jumping, the edge you're standing on is attractive in so many ways; it’s a boundary between the known and the unknown, the tame and the wild, the sane and the mad.

The range of feelings you're experiencing is enormous. Before a jump, you're filled with anticipation, fear, excitement, worry, anxiety, some more fear, and right before you're about to take a leap - tranquility…




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Biking The Bonneville Salt Flats

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I love reading travel blogs, and watching my fellow travelers' videos ! They give me so much inspiration, not to mention the information about new places to visit and new things to try.

I learned about the Bonneville Salt Flats from one of the travel blogs I've been following.
"Saltboarding" video looked so much fun !

So, while in Utah, I made the Bonneville Salt Flats one of "must-see places" to visit.


The famous Bonneville Speedway is located in the western portion of the flats, near Wendover. It is perfectly flat and has a thick crust of salty soil. It looks like a frozen lake bed covered with snow. No vegetation grows in that area.

There is NOTHING to see...just miles and miles of endless salt...

The Bonneville Salt Flats is one of the most unique natural features in Utah. If you travel in this state, make sure you make the Bonneville Salt Flats your travel destination.

Go for a bike ride, or take your car for a spin ! Unbelievable feeling !






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Kayaking At Kelly's Whitewater Park In Idaho

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I haven't done much kayaking for the past two years, so recently, I finally decided to sell my whitewater kayaking gear.

One of the reasons was because kayaking is a very co-dependent sport. You need at least two people for the shuttle ( to shuttle gear between put in and take out spots ).

Another, and may be the most important reason, is that kayaking, unlike skiing or mountain biking, is not the most "beginner friendly" activity. Without enough practice and river time, you'll forever be paddling class II-II+ rapids ( which is fun... for a while ).

So, when I heard about Kelly's Whitewater Park in Cascade, ID, I knew a whitewater park would be a great place for people like me to improve the skills, and get more interested in the sport.

When I got there, I was very impressed !

Located on the North Fork of the Payette River, it's accessible right off HWY 55 ( no need to drive around looking for a put in spot ).

When I thought about "the park", I had an image of a "wave pool", rather than an actual river.

The stretch of the North Fork of the Payette River is quite short, but has a few nice rapids suitable for both beginner and advanced paddlers alike.

A few shallow eddies ( eddies are the parts of a river where the downstream current is interrupted, and thus, they are a safe place to be ), are warm, and a fun place for kids to play around.

A nearby shop ( right by the park's entrance ) rents all the gear you'll need.

If you an absolute beginner, my advice is to rent an inflatable kayak, or even a tube !

During my visit the park was the site for USA Nationals.
It was a lot of fun to watch professionals demonstrate their freestyle skills...




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Hitting The Road

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Well, here it is, Thursday 7/6/12 , time to take off !

Did the last minute shopping, geared up ( SUP, mountain bike, camping, hiking gear ), stacked up on junk food... Looks like everything is ready...except...

...not sure exactly where I'm going...

The original plan was to drive to East Coast ( New York City ), then down south to Georgia ( to dive with whale sharks at Georgia Aquarium ), then Houston to visit a friend, and to do some tanker surfing, continue southwest ( hike/camp in Grand Canyon ), then jump up on HWY 1 to drive through Big Sur, and then back home ( with short stops at Crater Lake; to try sandboarding at Sand Master Park in Florence , and may be a few ski runs at Mt Hood )...

...but now the furthest ahead I've planned is Idaho :(

Have to admit, I'm a bit scared...also excited ... but mostly scared...


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HyperActive Great American Road Trip

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After reading about epic adventures of other people, and writing about some of my own semi-epic ones, I've finally decided to do something unimaginable before - to go on an epic adventure around this beautiful country !

The thought that I could do it, came to me after my trip to Mexico. I did a lot of driving around the Yucat√°n Peninsula, and now, I realize that if I could do it in Mexico, I sure can do it in USA !

They say that travel is mostly about dreams, and I know that as long as you have a dream, you can make it happen.

As a teenage boy, growing up in Russia, I had a dream of traveling to America. I didn't know how, I didn't know when, but I knew I would make it happen. My dream, from back then—from the time, when I first heard the name Kerouac—was of driving across the United States.

13 year after my arrival in this country, the dream of driving across America... is still a dream.

I did a lot of traveling around my state ( WA ), lived in Oregon and California, visited New Orleans on Mardi Gras, and traveled to Florida several times.

But mostly, over the past couple years, I've got to know this country by reading and writing about some of the most epic and unforgettable adventures : stand up paddle surfing in Hawaii; airboarding and sandboarding in Oregon; bungee surfing in Idaho, speed flying in Colorado; cavern diving in Florida; zorbing and zip lining in Pennsylvania; dog sledding in Michigan...

And now, I think it's time to fulfill my childhood dream, and see for myself all the beauty and diversity this country has to offer.

As Robert Louis Stevenson ( Scottish novelist, poet, essayist, and travel writer ) once said : “For my part, I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel’s sake. The great affair is to move.”

For my part, through this journey I want to inspire my readers to travel adventurously. There is nothing wrong with traveling for travel's sake, or any other personal reason.

But I think that adventure isn't a single event but rather a different way of thinking that becomes a different way of approaching and living life.
Adventure thrills us, enlightens us, strengthens and stretches us, inspires us and answers our curiosity. It’s the most awake and aware life that we can lead.


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Best Climbing Video Ever ! 22 ...months old climber !

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There is a talent in every kid. If you encourage them to think creatively, and let them have at it, you will help them unleash their hidden talents.

Many parents do not feel they have the abilities or tools to raise happy, healthy, and successful children. In their minds, children are either born with or without special talents. They give up on their children before they even begin.

Recognizing the traits of a superstar will help parents to lead their children on a path to success and leadership. Children are not born superstars; they are molded and trained to become special.

Below is an example of ( in my opinion ) great parenting. One of the most important things you can do is to make sure your child's world is conducive to exploration. When parents constantly say "Don't do that" or "Stay away from this," children learn to be timid and fearful of the unknown. Kids love to explore; it's an essential part of how they learn. Children who get lots of positive feedback from their parents as they explore new things will go on to grab life by the horns.

I'm sure this kid will !

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Mom goes rock climbing...with 2 year old on her back

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A mother with a love of adrenaline sports has defended her decision to go rock climbing – with her toddler daughter strapped to her back without a helmet.

 Menna Pritchard, 26 – who states brazenly that ‘life is about taking risks’ – scales sheer rock faces while carrying two-year-old Ffion. The full-time student – studying for a degree in outdoor education – said yesterday: ‘Some people would say I’m taking more risks than are necessary, but I am very conscious of safety and I would never do anything with Ffion that I thought would put her in danger.’ Read more here...

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Celebrate Your 101 Birthday By Going Paragliding !

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That's exactly what Mary Hardison from Ogden, Utah did.

It was something Hardison had never done before; in fact, it is something most people don't have the guts to do. But Hardison has learned a thing or two in her 101 years, and that's to have the right attitude about trying new things in life.

Though she did the tandem flight in September 2011, this week she was officially recognized by Guinness World Record as the "Oldest Female to Paraglide Tandem."

She said she was inspired to try paragliding after her son did his first tandem flight...at the age of 75 !

"I don't want my son to do anything I can't do, so I decided to go have fun like he did," Hardison said.

I've dedicated a number of posts to old folks who are living inspiration to our younger generation. Those people, no matter how old they are, try to look for newness in life, learn new skills, visit different places, and are constantly expanding their horizons.

I'm sure that the story of Mary Hardison is not going to be the last one I hear about people doing amazing things ( bofore they die ). And that's why I'm starting a new sub-category that I call "Never Too Old".

I just hope that these great stories will inspire people to try out new things before they turn a century old.

The trick is growing up without growing old...

Paralyzed Wheelchair BASE Jump!

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I wrote about Bridge Day a few times already, but this is the first time I heard about Lonnie Bissonnette, a Canadian BASE jumper, who was injured in 2004 while making his 1,100th BASE jump.

It took him a year to get back into the sport. As of today, he's the only paralyzed athlete who has jumped from all four objects in BASE-(Building, Antenna, Span, Earth).

Below is a video of Lonnie Bissonnette rolling his chair off the bridge at Bridge Day in WV in 2010.



I came across an interview with him on basejumper.com where he talks about his life before and after the incident, his life philosophy and his passion for BASE jumping:
" I have always believed that I was going to die BASE jumping; from when I stood on the edge for the very first time in doing my first BASE jump."

Stoked Daily

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If You Believe In It , Anything Is Possible

Aweseom motivational video from my favorite Red Bull:


Happy...

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Today, January 5th, we were closer to the Sun than we will be any other day this year!
When 2012 began on January 1, our planet Earth was very close to its perihelion – its closest point to the sun for the year. In 2012, Earth will be closest to the sun on Thursday, January 5 at 1 hour Universal Time (UT). Translating UT to Central Time in the United Sates, perihelion happens today, on Wednesday, January 4, at 7:00 p.m.

Don't know about you, but I was pretty stoked ! After a few days of miserable rain, seeing the sun again was exciting...though, to be fair, in Seattle, seeing the sun any day of the year is pretty exciting :)

Made me happy:)...decided to take advantage of this sunny weather to go land paddling on Interurban:










Never Too Old For Kayaking

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Here is another inspiring story from the series " Never Too Old For Adventures"

Whether it's mountain biking, longboarding or even something as extreme as kite boarding, you can get started at any age.

Jacksonville, Florida resident Hortense Morris celebrated her 99th birthday by trying out kayaking for the first time. "It sounds exciting," she said, "and I'll try anything once."

It's a great motto to live by. Before you say "I'm too old/out of shape for this", at least give it a try.

If this story doesn't inspire you to get out and try something new, nothing will.

Never too old for adventures

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In my post " Too old for adventure ? " I wrote about Doris Matyasovich, a competitive MTB ( mountain biking ) racer, who started racing at age 45, and continued way into her late 60 ( she was 67 at the time of the article)...

This post on Biking Bis shows amazing stats !:
According to The Register's Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa online survey ( summer 2010), 7% of the RAGBRAI cyclists were 65 or older. The average age of the Adventure Cycling Association's members is the mid-40s, with a spread of ages from the 20s to the 70s and occasionally the 80s. Although the Outdoor Industry Foundation reports that 27% of the bike riders in the US are 45 or older...
OK, we get it, old folks love biking. But what about something more extreme ?

Meet Poul Rasmussen from Denmark. His passion - kiteboarding. And his only ...85 ! He learned to kiteboard early in his 80's and absolutely loved it. He is so passionate about this sport that he can be found kiteboarding in below-freezing weather, and actively encourages other seniors to try it. He states in his interview that "50 - 60 years of age is nothing! Go live your life and I bet that you'll live longer and have more fun."




There aren’t too many 80+ surfer dudes in the world. But since 1940, John Zabotocky has been riding Hawaiian waves in Waikiki, and at 89, he was still a regular beachboy surfer.

It's not unusual to see people skiing or snowboarding in their late 50's , but skateboarding ?
Donna Vano, 56, holds three Guinness World Records as the Oldest Inline Vert Skater in the World, the Most Gold Medals in the USASA in all 5 disciplines, and the Oldest Female Amateur Snowboarder Competing in Pro Tours in the Superpipe. When Donna is not competing, you can find her at home, skating on the 11-foot ramp in her backyard.

Is climbing Everest on your Bucket List ? Don't be discouraged by the danger of climbing this mountain ( and the price you'll have to pay to climb it). The oldest person to have climbed Mount Everest is a Nepalese Sherpa called Min Bahadur Sherchan. He was 76 years and 340 days old when he reached the summit.

Still trying to find courage to take that leap of faith and try skydiving ? Frank Moody was 101 when he did it !



Young adults dominate the thrill seekers, but older people are jumping in as well. Skydiving, hang gliding, rock climbing, mountaineering, bungee jumping, white-water rafting, scuba diving and other extreme sports have all shown huge increases in participation.

Just because your body is starting to make funny noises and your kids have their own kids, it does not mean you are getting old. You still have plenty to do before the nursing home comes to claim you. Just don’t let that term life insurance agent know !

Are there any "extreme adventures" you think you are too old for ? Other than age ( and fear) is there anything else that stops you from trying something adventurous ?

Tough ( or suicidal ) ? Try one of these races !

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Marathon ? Triathlon ? This is so not cool nowadays ( especially, when you see a 90 year - old grandma, running next to you ). Looks like "complete marathon/triathlon" is on everybody's to-do list... And I am not an exception... Except that, I want something more than just to say " I've done a marathon" ( who hasn't ?! ).


These days, one of the most popular endurance events is adventure racing. Adventure Racing is a multi-sport team activity that usually involves running, mountain biking, paddling and orienteering ( sometimes climbing and other "Mystery Events" that are unveiled mid-race). Comparing with triathlon competitions, Adventure Racing is more of a team sport. When you do a team sport you can only go as fast as the slowest (team) member, but in a triathlon it's all on you. Adventure Racing is meant to test participants both physically and mentally in multiple activities over varied lengths of time – from a few hours to many days.

But you don't have to go for days to test yourself.






" The Tough Guy Race" is " only " eight miles long and takes 2-3 hours to finish , but it claims to be the "World’s Most Brutal Race". Why ?
The organizers claim that running the course involves risking barbed wire, cuts, scrapes, burns, dehydration, hypothermia, acrophobia, claustrophobia, electric shocks, sprains, twists, joint dislocation and broken bones.
Although the course is adjusted each year, its features have included a 40-foot crawl through flooded underground tunnels, balancing planks across a fire pit, and a half-mile wade through chest-deep muddy water. Marshals dressed as commandos fire machine-gun blanks and let off thunder flashes and smoke bombs over the heads of competitors as they crawl under a 70-meter section of barbed wire.

If "Tough Guy" doesn't sound very intimidating, why not try " The Death Race "?





Not being tough ( or suicidal ) , and not wanting to deal with barbwire or an eclectic fence, I set my eyes on the The Men's Health Urbanathlon last year.



The Men's Health Urbanathlon is a rigorous race and obstacle course that incorporates challenging urban obstacles at iconic city landmarks ( this part really got my excited ). The event takes place annually in three different cities - Chicago, New York or San Francisco. Comparing to AR or the races described above, the Urbanathlon is not that extreme ( challenging-yes, extreme ? not so much ). But the chance to experience one of these beautiful cities in a fun, challenging and memorable way, is more rewarding for me than testing my self-confidence.

Too old for adventures ?

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I am not getting any younger. At the age of 32 , it seems like my life is almost over. Over for ... adventures, "extreme" sports, new activities, seeing new places ( backpacking through Europe ? I don't think so ), getting out of my comfort zone. It's getting harder for my body to recover after intensive work outs, long backpacking trips, hours on the ski slopes...

How often have you wanted to try something "crazy, outrageous, exciting " like whitewater rafting/ kayaking, surfing, sky/scuba diving, bungee jumping ? And what was your excuse ? :
"It's too dangerous "
"You have to be a professional to do that "
"You need to be in great physical shape"
"You need hours/ months/ years of professional training "
"I am too old"

You can't teach an old dog new tricks. Or can you ?


Meet Doris Matyasovich. She is a competitive MTB ( mountain biking ) racer, 2003 DH Masters World Champ, 17-time Masters National XC Champ. And she is only...67 ! She started racing at 45 and has stuck with it for the past 22 years. She raced BMX, XC, downhill, trails, dual slalom, adventure races ( 12 and 24 hours long ! ). Sometimes, she raced women younger than her children, or raced with men her age. She is also, the author of " Don't Tell Me I Can't " - a book about her life in the world of amateur mountain bike racing, and her answer to those who have ever told her she couldn't or shouldn't do something because she was a girl, or because she was too old.

People like Doris, really inspire me. I've read stories about people skiing way into their 80', doing their first skydiving jump at 100 (!), summiting Everest ( Min Bahadur Sherchan from Nepal reached the top of the highest mountain in the world at age 76) , sailing around the world after being retired...

After reading stories like that, you realize that age is just a number. Afterwords, as they say : " You are only as old as you feel ". So, feel/think young! Schedule that rafting trip, learn how to scuba dive, ride a mountain bike, go trekking/backpacking in Nepal ( Europe, South America...), climb a mountain ( doesn't have to be Everest), sail your boat around the world...

You can read the full interview with Doris Matyasovich here.

Depressed? See an Eco-Therapist.

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Recently, I came across an article on the "Adventure Life" web site titled "Cure For Depression? Get Outside...", where an author speaks his mind about a new kind of therapy called "eco-therapy" or "eco-psychology." I was curious, what Mother Nature had to do with depression.

What was not clear to me was, whether "eco-psychologists " focus their treatments on "regular depressed people" or "eco-disturbed patients" ?

"Eco-disturbed patients"? you ask

...those who can't handle the thought that they — or anyone — are in some way contributing to global warming, species extinction and dwindling natural resources..
They even came up with a word for this "disease"- "Eco-Anxiety"

What is not clear , whether eco-therapy is more of the latest in a line of money-making gimmicks targeted at the environmentally conscious or a practical psychological treatment.The American Psychological Association has no official position on the merits of what it calls an emerging field.

Another question is:
If the prescribed treatment for "eco-anxiety " may be as simple as taking a hike or spending more time outdoors in general, do you really need to come up with a new kind of therapy ?

If it's already known, that spending time outdoors has a tremendous effect on human body ( physiologically and physiologically), did the University of Essex in England really have to make a research "that a daily dose of walking outside could be as effective as taking antidepressant drugs for treating mild to moderate depression'?

I know one thing for sure- I don't need an English scientist or self-proclaimed "eco-therapist" to tell me to spend more time outdoors. And , No , I am not going to hug any trees , keep a journal or "reconnect with nature". Spending time outside doesn't have to be about "reconnecting us with our animal roots". It's about enjoying yourself, your favorite activity, having fun and admiring Nature's Beauty.

Positive Impact Of Outdoor Adventures On Returning War Veterans.

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I don't think there is any other holiday that makes us feel more patriotic than 4th of July. No matter how trite it might sound, but it's when the fireworks start going off, you feel extremely proud to be an American, and at the same time ,it makes you think at what price it all came to us. You realize that those who serve our country deserve our profound appreciation. It is because of our war veterans that we remain strong as a nation, and we enjoy many of the freedoms we all-too-often take for granted.It makes you think what you can do to express your gratitude for their service.

In this post I want to write about two outdoor adventure projects in our state, that offer mental and physical healing for veterans, who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, with post-traumatic stress disorder or injuries.