Video: 102-Year-Old Woman Makes First BASE Jump

In celebration of her impending milestone birthday, Dorothy Custer wanted to do something a little different this year. So, on the day she turned 102 she decided to make a tandem BASE jump off the Perrine Bridge in Twin Falls, Idaho. That’s a leap of 486 feet and as you can tell from the video below, Dorothy enjoyed ever second of the experience, which also gave her the record as the oldest person to ever make such a jump.

This is a far-cry of last year, when she marked her 101st birthday by ziplining over the Snake River Canyon. We should all be so adventurous and outgoing when we reach 100. Oh, who am I kidding! Most of us will just be happy to reach 100, let alone still enjoying experiences like these.

Grouse Mountain, An Adventurous Option In Vancouver, Canada

ziplining Although Vancouver is a metropolitan city, it’s also a coastal seaport and home to mountain peaks and natural attractions. While many know the city for its sustainable restaurants, trendy nightlife and cultural fare, Vancouver also has options for the adventurous traveler, especially at Grouse Mountain.

Grouse is a mountain of the North Shore Mountains of the Pacific Ranges. The first recorded hikers summited the 4,100-foot mountain in October 1894, which at the time took three or four days. That was before Grouse became a hub of organized adventure activities and Vancouver’s most visited attraction.

While I’d known about hiking the excruciatingly steep “Grouse Grind” and had heard about paragliding, skiing and snowboarding opportunities, I was unaware they had a zipline. On my last visit, I tried it for myself. The five-line, double-track circuit was an excellent way to explore the beauty of the mountain while getting my heart rate up. While the first section is easy and gets you used to the experience, the second zips you at rapid speed over Blue Grouse Lake.

%Gallery-166362%To get to the higher sections, we had to take a chairlift, giving another opportunity to see the peaks, forests and canyons of Grouse. The last two lines are the scariest, reaching 200 feet in height and 50 miles per hour. My group was so high in the clouds; it actually felt like we were flying into an abyss.

At the end, you can visit the Eye of the Wind, a 1.5-megawatt turbine and the first wind turbine in North America to be built at such an extreme height. You’ll be able to go to the top – 214 feet in the air and less than 10 feet from the spinning blades – and enjoy 360 degree views of the mountains and surroundings.

Additionally, don’t forget to checkout the Lumberjack Show. While I wasn’t sure what to expect, it was hilarious. You’ll see Willie McGee from Blue Mountain and Johnny Nelson from Green River crack jokes while battling each other to see who is the best at log rolling, scaling 60-foot trees unharnessed, sculpture carving, axe throwing, springboard chopping and speed sawing. There is also a twist at the end that I won’t spoil, but actually seemed so real I had to close my eyes. Ironically, I have no trouble propelling myself above the trees, but get frightened sitting through a family-friendly show. The free event takes place daily at 12 P.M., 2:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m.

Ziplining prices range from $70 to $109, depending on what package you choose. For a more visual idea of adventures on Grouse Mountain, check out the gallery above.

[Image above via Jessie on a Journey; Gallery images via Jessie on a Journey, Jeremiah John McBride, Marcin Chandy, www.metaphoricalplatapus.com, Sam DCruz, Shutterstock.com]

Adventure Vacation Guide 2012: Belize

Belize is the only country in Central America with English as the official language. The small country, measuring 180 miles long and 68 miles wide, is a popular vacation destination for tourists whose native language is English. But Belize is good for much more than just lounging in white sand while watching the shimmering teal waves roll in and out while drinks, ordered in English, are replenished. Behind the luxurious resorts and relaxing vacation packages, Belize is an adventure destination.

With the lowest population density in Central America and, simultaneously, the highest growth rate in the region, 2012 is the year to visit Belize–it’s still spacious and remote in most places, but it doesn’t appear as though this quality will serve Belize permanently. People everywhere are beginning to now catch onto what natives have always known–Belize is not only gorgeous, rich in history, and filled with Mayan cultural treasures, but the small country packs in a big punch with adventure and thrill-seekers. Inexpensive and lush, the untainted waters and landscapes await you.Explore Belizean caves littered with Mayan ruins. The ATM Cave, near the city of San Ignacio, boasts still-in-tact skeletons and pieces of once-blood-holding pottery from Mayan sacrifices; these were offerings to the gods during times of desperate drought. But there’s a catch to seeing something as rare as these remnants–you have to get to them first. Getting through ATM cave is no easy feat. You must first hike through thick rainforest terrain for an hour before facing the cave’s entrance, which is a waterway. The only way in, and out, is to swim through the chilly water in the pitch-black, damp cave with your headlamp serving as your only guiding light. After you’ve made it in and out of the water portions of the cave, relatively challenging climbs and tight squeezes await you as you journey through this spooky cavern.

Zip-line through the forests surrounding this cave and many others while you’re inland. Stop to observe wild jaguars if you can while in the Jaguar Paw area. While at Jaguar Paw, take the opportunity to go for a tubing trip through a cave. Hike through thick and challenging terrain and cool off via waterfall rappelling. Scuba dive down into the famous-for-a-reason Great Blue Hole, a submarine sinkhole that measures 984 feet across and 407 feet deep. Widely regarded as one of the best diving spots in the world, the aerial shots of this gaping Caribbean hole will make your heart skip a beat (just Google it). If diving is too much of a commitment for you, spend your time a bit more leisurely and follow a shining school of fish while snorkeling. Weave around the shoreline and throughout the inland rivers by kayak or go kayak sailing into the rising sun. Spend your time doing daily yoga at one of the country’s yoga retreats or yoga-friendly resorts, fully immersed in a tranquil environment, or test your boundaries with a sky diving, parasailing, base-jumping, or bungee jumping excursion.

Whether your on a shoestring budget or looking to spend your hard-earned money on all of the finest adventures Belize has to offer, you’ll find a sweat-inducing, adrenaline-spiking experience in Belize that suits your wallet and lifestyle. With a landscape like the Belize landscape, adventure waits outside your door with free admission to the mountains and beaches. And with organized companies like the ones you can find in Belize with minimal research, sky’s the limit for your guided adventure in this small, but incredibly rich, Caribbean country.

[flickr image via jayhem]

Gadling Exclusive: Downtown Vegas zipline to open Friday

They’ve made it possible for you to fly over the ocean off the Haitian coast, through the scenic Pacific Ranges of Canada and the the Wild Animal Park in San Diego. And this Friday, Greenheart LLC opens its latest zipline above a different sort of native habitat, that of the Vegas Party Animals.

By the end of this week, tourists are expected to able to shoot across steel lines above the crowds milling about at the Fremont Street Experience, the five-block-long pedestrian plaza in the downtown section that is capped by a metal canopy. The underside of that canopy is the world’s largest outdoor LED screen projects light shows at the top of each hour.

The Fremont Street Experience

At the Fremont Street Flightline, passengers will leap from a platform 60 feet high and glide 800 feet down one of four lines at speeds of up to 25 mph to a 14-foot-high landing near the performance stage. As with other ziplines, including the ones Greenheart has built in Haiti, Whistler, Canada, San Diego and 30 miles away in rural Boulder City, Nev., riders hang from the steel line in a harness and can speed up or slow down depending on their body position. Precautions are being devised to keep riders from dropping loose items on revelers below.

“The reality is, the world’s most spectacular trails are all in the air,” said Ian Green, co-owner of Greenheart, which also opens a series of four 100-foot-high bridges in the Nyungwe National Park in Rwanda. “They’re trails that give you a very different experience. The experience of flying through something is a lot different.”

Fremont Zipline plans to charge $20 per rider from 6 p.m. to midnight, $15 from 2 to 6 p.m., and $10 per re-ride, although that structure could change.

The zipline landed a 90-day permit on Monday from the city’s building department and must get Las Vegas City Council approval to build a permanent structure after that. Green, who has plunged $150,000 into the temporary towers and lines, hopes to elongate the attraction to the entire length of the Fremont Street Experience – more than doubling the length – if that comes to pass.

The world’s most spectacular trails are all in the air. The experience of flying through something is a lot different.

“If it works the way we think it’s going to work, then we would absolutely consider making it bigger and better and longer and permanent,” said Fremont Street Experience president Jeff Victor, who was approached just one month ago by Gree about the idea.

Downtown Las Vegas has been particularly depressed by the lousy economy and competition with the flashier Strip, so the addition of an exciting new offering may be a significant shot in the arm. Green said he expects to hire a dozen workers, which is good news for a city facing more than 14 percent unemployment.

“A lot of people in this town really love this area because it’s historic, so what we’re doing is providing a fantastic attraction to an entire area and try to bring money in to keep this place going,” said general manager Max Margolis.

Green rushed to get this up and running this week because he’s already got his first promotion in mind: The International Broom Racing Championships. Details are sketchy so far, but the plan is to have contests for best broom, fastest zipline time and most creative contest and to time it with October Frightfest, the FSE’s Halloween events.

The Fremont Street Flightline will be a bit more genteel than Greenheart’s others, which have longer lines and go at faster speeds with steeper drops. But Green hopes the location will increase his company’s visibility and pique interest in their four-line system in Boulder City, the town on the way to the Hoover Dam where riders can get up to 50 mph and see the Vegas skyline.

And speaking of the Vegas skyline, that’s his next target. Greenheart has been in talks for more than a year with the Excalibur casino on the Strip about a zipline that would scale the famous themed casino’s castle towers.

“The good thing with Fremont is we’re still a small company, we are still unknown,” he said. “So the opportunity to do Fremont is the opportunity to be known. The great thing about Vegas is anything’s possible.”