Video: One giant rope swing

As a kid, who hasn’t tossed a rope over a tree branch and swung through the air with wild abandon? Well, that is exactly what the folks in the video below tried to replicate, only on a much grander scale. The rope swing, in this case, was actually attached to the 140-foot tall Corona Arch, located not far from Moab, Utah, and the riders used a cliff as their launching pad. The result is one wild ride, all of which was caught on helmet cams for optimal effect.

Not for the faint of heart.


Raft for the Cure in Moab this June

The Raft for the Cure event will take place in Moab this JuneThis June, the Moab Adventure Center, located in Moab, Utah will play host to the fifth annual Raft for the Cure. This fun and unique event that will offer visitors a unique blend of outdoor adventure, live music, and great food, while also raising funds for the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation.

The Raft for the Cure event begins with a full day of rafting along the famous Colorado River, one of the top whitewater destinations in the entire American west. Participants will get the opportunity to experience some of the most well known sections of that iconic waterway, including the popular Onion Creek, Cloudburst, Ida Gulch, and White’s Rapid. This is medium level whitewater (think Class II or III) that wanders through spectacular canyons and scenic bluffs, offering plenty of adrenaline rushes to go along with the natural wonders. The on-the-river activities will run from 8AM to 4PM and are followed by dinner and live music in town that evening.

Organizers for the event have noticed a sharp increase in interest for this year’s Raft for the Cure, which is why they are spreading the word a bit earlier. In 2010, there were 330 participants that helped raise $20,000 for beast cancer research. This year, that number is expected to climb to 500 with six local rafting companies joining forces to help accommodate everyone.
The cost of the event is $100 for adults and $85 for kids 5-15. That includes lunch and dinner, a full day of rafting, commemorative T-shirt, and more. For more details check out the Raft for the Cure website and to register click here.

A hundred bucks for a full day of rafting is an excellent deal to begin with. Throw in some food and a concert and this is a real bargain for a weekend’s worth of entertainment. The fact that the proceeds are going to a great cause is just icing on the cake if you ask me.

[Photo credit: Sascha Grabow via WikiMedia Commons]

24-Hours of Moab mountain bike race begins today

Ever wonder what it would be like to ride a mountain bike across a scenic, but challenging, course for 24 hours straight? Me neither! But that’s exactly what competitors in the 24-Hours of Moab mountain bike race are preparing to do when the event gets underway today at noon local time in Moab, Utah. As you can probably deduce from the name, the ride won’t end until noon tomorrow, after a very long, and grueling, day in the saddle for the riders.

Racers are allowed to compete in three categories, riding as an individual or part of a two or four person relay team. If they are part of a team, they’ll be allowed to switch out from time to time and get some much needed rest. The individuals will have it the toughest however, riding solo while trying to accumulate as many laps as possible before the 24 hour cut off.

The course is a challenging one for sure. Consisting mostly of old jeep trails, the route winds its way through the scenic backcountry that Utah is so famous for, ensuring that the riders will at least have something beautiful to look at along the way. Not that they’ll have time to notice however, as some of the bigger drops will have them rushing down hills at over 40 mph, as they carefully pick their lines hoping to avoid danger along the way. The entire route is just 15 miles in length, and the top riders will be able to finish laps in under an hour, but the more than 1360 feet of vertical gain on each lap will have their legs crying out for mercy. Especially when it is the middle of the night and they’ve already been riding for more than 12 hours straight.

The race has been going on for 15 years now, and during that time it has earned itself a reputation as one of the top endurance mountain biking events in the world. This year, there will be more than $20,000 in cash, and another $15,000 in prizes, up for grabs, although for most of the riders it is all about the fun and camaraderie of the event.

[Photo credit: Xavi Fane]

Moab promises adventure and fun this fall

For many outdoor enthusiasts, Moab is the epicenter of adventure in the western United States. Located in eastern Utah, the city is home to 5000 residents and serves as a great home base for travelers who visit the region in search of an adventurous escape. The area boasts some of the best hiking, paddling, and mountain biking found anywhere in North America, and Moab’s proximity to the Canyonlands and Arches National Parks, makes it all the more appealing for a getaway. With a host of other great activities on the docket for the fall, now may be the perfect time to plan your visit.

Fans of mountain biking and endurance sports will find plenty to keep them busy throughout October and November for instance, the 24-Hours of Moab bike race takes place October 9th and 10th, pitting 550 individuals and teams against one another in an event that last for one full day, on a course designed to challenge their skills and break their spirits. If that event doesn’t quench your thirst for mountain biking however, you can return later in the month for the four-day Moab Ho-Down Bike Fest, which runs from October 28 – 31, and features multiple races, a crazy bike jumping contest, movies, and more.

Perhaps you prefer your bikes have a motor instead of pedals? In that case you’ll want to check out the KTM Adventure Rider Rally, which will be held on October 15-17. That event offers off road riding for the motorcycle crowd and includes technical training and riding seminars, guided rides through the surrounding wilderness, a BBQ, and much more. The rally has been held in Moab for seven years, and gives motorcycle enthusiasts an opportunity to ride some of the best trails in the west in a safe and fun fashion.

As if that wasn’t enough adventure to draw you to Moab, the city will also play host to the Checkpoint Tracker National Adventure Racing Championships. This event will pull in some of the best adventure and endurance athletes from around the country to run, ride, climb, and paddle their way through a hundred miles of the region’s amazing backcountry. The 24-hour long race takes place on October 29 and 30.

For those who simply enjoy taking in the scenery in a more relaxed manner, consider the Plein Air Festival which is going on now through the 9th of October. This more staid event features dozens of artists who descend on Moab, and the surrounding area, to compete for prize money in a variety of categories. There will also be a number of workshops with those same artists providing demonstrations and instructions on how to paint. Visitors can also enjoy an art walk, awards show, and two distinct auctions.

Finally, the beginning of November brings the Moab Folk Festival, which takes place November 5-7 and features plenty of live music and workshops as well. Tickets are available here and you can checkout the line-up of musicians and bands that will be on hand by clicking here.

Will all of these great events taking place this fall, Moab is sure to have something for everyone.

[Photo credit: Tom Johnson, Sedona Magazine, via WikiMedia]

Adventure travel Alaska style: Glacier flying

If you’ve ever wanted to see Alaska’s beauty, but had no interest in hunting or fishing or if you think a cruise just isn’t thrilling enough, maybe you should consider a little glacier flying.

Having grown up in Alaska, I’ve always told my visiting friends that the airplane was the only way to unlock the most spectacular sights in the state. Sure, you can drive less than fifty miles from Anchorage to view the Portage glacier from a distance, but a helicopter or airplane tour is something you’ll never forget.

To get an idea what glacier flying is all about, just take a quick ride with Jerry Kallam, a pilot out of Palmer who’s about to take off from the Knik glacier. Strap into his Piper Super Cub by hitting play below. He’ll give you just enough time to fasten your seatbelt before starting the engine:

If simply landing on a glacier isn’t exciting enough, Matthew Keller of Blue Ice Aviation will fly you out for some glacier biking. Matthew claims it’s like mountain biking in Moab, Utah, even though the mountain you’re crossing is actually a glacier. He’ll provide the bikes and the experience includes much of the same views that Jerry captured above.

The other option might be a bit more tame and family friendly. Take the Alaska Railroad up to Talkeetna, where you’ll have an assortment of air taxis willing to land you and a few friends on a glacier, with some even offering a dog sled trip.

My wife and I did this years ago with Era Helicopters, and they even provided a crab lunch right next to the glacier. Think of it as adventure travel without the ice picks and crampons.

For those of you committed to a cruise up the inside passage, you can still get a bit of fresh air as well. Era and Temsco Helicopters both fly glacier tours out of Juneau and Skagway that are often offered through the cruise lines.

Afterward, you can rest assured that you’ve gone above and beyond what the average Alaska tourist or resident has experienced. To really see 99% of Alaska, you’ll absolutely need to leave the roads behind.

Kent Wien writes The Cockpit Chronicles for Gadling. If flying between glaciers isn’t for you, then come along with Kent as he takes you behind the scenes of airline travel, as seen from the pointy-end.