Monday, November 12, 2018

Three more adventures anyone can do


Hang gliding in Chattanooga, Tennessee
Soar through the clouds, feeling free as a bird while gliding through the sky over Lookout Mountain Flight Park in Chattanooga, Tennessee.  After being strapped into a protective harness, first timers ride tandem with an experienced instructor. 

The ride starts when an ultra light plane tows the glider and its two passengers up to 2,000 feet and then releases it for a gradual descent (about 12-20 minutes). Bask in the quietness of air-propelled flight without having to jump off a cliff  while hanging onto the  kite-like structure.
While the instructor maneuvers the craft by catching thermals and wind drifts, you just stretch out and relax for the duration of this magical ride. Floating through clouds gives an incredible sensation of freedom—at the mercy of the winds, yet controllable with body movements.  Too soon, the glider drifts down, and you’re on terra firma again—looking up where you just floated through the sky.

Hiking in the red rocks of Sedona, Arizona

Sedona is known for stunning vistas of red rock formations, natural arches, deep gorges, and lofty peaks. Dramatic landscapes surrounding this Arizona town just beg for exploration—and excellent hiking opportunities for all skill levels are within easy reach.
Popular hikes include Bell Rock Trail, a leisurely stair-step climb up and around the prominent bell-shaped landmark. Fay Canyon Trail goes through a gorgeous box canyon to a red rock arch. If you dare, take an exciting walk across Devil’s Bridge, a massive 54-foot-high sandstone arch just inside the Red Rock-Secret Mountain Wilderness. Best not to look down, though

Raft down the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon
A visit to the Grand Canyon’s South Rim many years ago left me fascinated with its natural beauty and magnificence.  I vowed to return and traverse the Colorado River from the depths of the canyon, to see the massive walls from the bottom up instead of top down.

For 10 days my companions and I camped on the banks of the dam-fed river, hiked on narrow ledges and scrambled over jagged rocks, splashed through 160 rapids, bathed in 45 degree water (or  held-out for frolicking in waterfalls), and brushed away blowing sand.
I learned skills I’d never needed before--pitch a tent, go potty in the river, brush my teeth in the dark--put up with daily hat-hair and wet feet, and listened to unfamiliar sounds while trying to snooze.

But I discovered, as you will too, that stretching one’s boundaries in order to view spectacularly beautiful and ever-changing vistas of the Grand Canyon's walls--while learning history and geology of the region--were worth any inconveniences.
Photos by Larry and Beverly Burmeier

 

Monday, November 5, 2018

Give your kids a love of adventure and travel


If you have a love of travel and want to pass along a sense of wonder and curiosity to your children or grandchildren, I have a book to recommend. Atlas Obscura:Explorer’s Guide for the World’s Most Adventurous Kid would be the perfect holiday gift for any child or grandchild ages 9-12.
With plenty of pictures and easy-to-understand descriptions of 100 extraordinary places to visit throughout the world, Atlas Obscura (Workman Publishing) becomes a passport to some of the world’s weirdest, exciting, most mysterious, and often obscure wonders. Destinations in 47 countries represent every continent in this incredible journey. GPS coordinates and useful travel advice are also sprinkled throughout the pages, so parents and grandparents may also find themselves dreaming about these fascinating places. 

What will young readers learn about? Caves filled with giant crystals seven times taller than a person in Mexico. The hottest town on Earth in Ethiopia and the world’s coldest town in Russia. The massive migration of blue whales through the North Atlantic in Iceland. A hot spring filled bacteria that create rainbow colors in Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming. The planet’s largest ice cave in Austria. A theme park in Malta built on a movie set created for a live-action Popeye film 40 years ago.
Other fun facts that whet one’s appetite for more: Sticky rice was added to the mortar in the Great Wall of China to help glue it together. Don’t pat somebody on the head in Cambodia as the human head is considered sacred.  Until about 8,000 years ago sea levels were lower, and you could walk (rather than swim!) from England to France.

Many kids—and parents, too— will take away a sense of wanderlust, a desire to know more about this wacky and wonderful world in which we live. Information about cultures and history is presented in a fun way and illustrated by beautiful full-color illustrations. Wouldn’t it be great for your favorite young person to start a bucket list of places they’d hope to visit in future years?
Authors Dylan Thuras and Rosemary Mossco, with illustrator Joy Ang, have created a lovely coffee-table book that the whole family can enjoy. The book is available from the website www.atlasobscura.com or at other book sellers including Amazon or Barnes and Noble