From caves in Quintana Roo, Mexico, to the Nevada desert, to a 14,000-foot volcano in California, 2007 proved to be a year of high adventure for the Gear Junkie. Avalanches, mountain climbs, whitewater, crocodiles and even errant gunfire were all part of the fun. Here's the first in a two-part blog, highlighting my adventures Nos. 6 through 10 for this year. . .
10. Midwest Extreme: Mount Bohemia, Mich.
Mount Bohemia is a tiny ski area on Michigan’s Upper Peninsula where chutes, cornices and cliffs exist on a 1,465-foot hill overlooking Lake Superior. The tiny, two-chairlift ski hill is an anomaly in its region, where short runs, manmade snow and icy groomed slopes are the norm. But at Bohemia, there are gladed tree runs and 71 named trails, none of which are groomed. Black diamonds dot the trail map. Deep blanketing snow -- up to 300 inches in some seasons -- covers boulders, streambeds, fallen trees and outcroppings of rock. A sign at the entrance to the resort reads “Warning: NO BEGINNERS ALLOWED.” (Link to story: http://thegearjunkie.com/new-york-times-michigans-extreme-anomaly)
9. Natural Waterslides of Vermont
On assignment for New York Times last August, I journeyed to Vermont's Green Mountains in search of natural waterslides, which are essentially whitewater chutes navigable on your rear end. They flank rivers and streams in places like Vermont, where old hills with bedrock-bottom creeks can create perfect sliding. (Link to story: http://thegearjunkie.com/new-york-times-natural-ater-slides)
8. Rogaine, Chequamegon National Forest, Wis.
Rogaining, an Australian offshoot of orienteering invented in the 1970s, puts teams of two to four people on a choose-your-own-adventure course in wilderness dotted with flags. It's one of my favorite sports, and for this year I ran a rogaine in the Chequamegon National Forest of northwest Wisconsin. My team took 2nd place! (Link to story: http://thegearjunkie.com/rogaine)
7. Extreme North Dakota Adventure Race
For the second year in a row, the humble state of North Dakota makes my list. This year's sojourn to the land of wheat and corn was for the state’s first-ever adventure race, the 12-hour Extreme North Dakota Adventure Race. The race included trail running, mountain biking, canoeing, orienteering and “mystery challenges.” Plus, my teammate and I actually got shot at, bullets whizzing by our heads, during the event. . . (Link to story: http://thegearjunkie.com/12-hour-ar-262-miles)
6. Kayaking Sian Ka'an Biosphere Reserve, Mexico
For this journey into Mexico's 1.3-million acre Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve, a park in eastern Quintana Roo, I paddled into the “million spindly legs of a mangrove swamp” in search of vine-covered ruins, dropped jewels, crocodiles, and other Indiana-Jones-esque adventures. (Link to story: http://thegearjunkie.com/kayaking-in-the-land-of-the-maya)
tomorrow: The Top 5 Adventures of the Year. . .