Adventure Travel: 5 Trips to Get You Started
As is always the case, gaining the courage to take the first step into a new venture or challenge is always the hardest – a cliché that has withstood the test of time for a reason. When it comes to starting your life as an adventure traveler, choosing the wrong first adventure can leave you sheepishly heading back to your vacation routine. That’s why finding a comfort zone that challenges your physical ability and courage without going too far is key in the early going, and you might be surprised how quickly you tap into your own adventurous spirit with the perfect trip that can inspire you for a lifetime. Here’s a breakdown of five trips that would make excellent first experiences with the fruits of adventure travel.
Hiking the Appalachian Trail through the White Mountains (New Hampshire)
Not many have the time or the energy to actually peruse the entire 2,000-mile Appalachian Trail, although the 26-mile section through the heart of the White Mountains in New Hampshire can be a breathtaking close encounter with your adventurous side. Even though you could technically use the time to bolster your photo catalog – the views are, after all, spectacular – you might be too invigorated by the challenging hiking trail to remember to take a selfie. The Appalachian Mountain Club even controls a hut system that lets you store some items you don’t need the entire time, allowing you to focus on your footing in between peaks instead of the heavy pack on your shoulders. Although certainly difficult for a newbie, it’s also a terrific way to push your limits with a terrific collaboration of physical challenge and beautiful scenery – the hallmarks of adventure travel done right.
Climbing Mount Rainier (Washington)
Mount Rainier is a completely blank slate that has almost too many options for its own good. For seasoned hikers, it’s nothing short of a paradise, complete with 260 miles of trails of all different difficulty levels. Once you’ve broken in your boots on some of the basic day hikes in the region, including a fairly arduous jaunt to Camp Muir, it might be time to take aim at the summit, which towers nearly 10,000 feet above the starting point (more than 14,000 feet high in total) and can be attacked during any season. While a newly minted travel adventurer is going to want to stick to spring, summer or fall, winter warriors have a major challenge on their hands while pushing up the snowy terrain of a journey that typically takes two days. Whichever path you choose to travel on, exploring Mount Rainier is a great way to get the blood pumping and see what you’re capable of.
Hiking the Na Pali Coast
Much more than just a postcard, the Na Pali Coast and the surrounding areas on Kauai offer a rather incredible array of adventure options, particularly for those who have no intention of spending the vacation sipping Mai Tais poolside at the hotel. For starters, the Nualolo Trail in Waimea Canyon State Park is a couple miles of scenic bliss followed by another five miles of grueling hiking that can humble those who think it’s going to be just a walk through the jungle. Those even more adventurous might check out the rigorous Honopu Ridge Trail or even the Kalalau, an 11-mile mountain-hugging path that takes you from the base of Na Pali through a harrowing incline along sea cliffs to the very secluded Kalalau Beach. Anyone with an adventurous disposition and some good tread on their hiking boots can have a sensational jaunt through the heart of Na Pali, with an impressive spread of hiking options to fit every athletic level. Those looking to keep the thrills going can also head a little inland and find one of a handful of zip-lining excursions that can be as daring as they are scenic.
Canyoneering in Moab (Utah)
There are many different ways to “do Moab,” with each offering a unique challenge and perspective of the pristine natural settings in the region. Although an advanced mountain biker can cruise from Fruita, Colorado to Moab on the Kokopelli Trail, there is so much to do in Moab that you might want to just save your energy. Visitors enjoy rappelling, scrambling and hiking deep into canyons, which offer some majestic views while you work up a sweat and strengthen your ability to dominate difficult terrain. For the pure thrill-seekers, a 160-foot free-hanging rappel is likely to get your blood pumping, as will rope swings of up to 200 feet in the natural amphitheater of the Looking Glass rock. For those hoping to sprinkle in a bit of relaxation into the more harrowing portions of experiencing Moab, paddle-boarding or tubing along the Colorado River can be a tremendous breather while still requiring athleticism.
Kayaking the Apostle Islands (Wisconsin)
Enjoying the waters of Lake Superior off the northern coast of mainland Wisconsin can be an amazing weekend getaway, but it also doesn’t have to be just sitting on a boat in the middle of the lake. Instead, picking up a kayak and heading out to sea can give you an amazing view of the 22 different islands that make up the chain, and as long as the lake isn’t too choppy, sliding in and out of the many sea caves along the coast can be an amazing experience for explorers. For those looking to cap off the trip with a thrilling exclamation point, popular cliff jumping spots around the islands are high enough to get the adrenaline flowing on your way down into the cool waters of Lake Superior.
For more reasons why you can become an adventure traveler, contact us for information and details about a trip that’s perfect for you.