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Adventure traveling, the 11 Things To Try Before You Die

By Hukum Singh

Remember the time when you floored the pedal without warning while driving on the highway to feel that sudden surge of rush in your chest? Yea, those are the moments that make us feel truly alive. There are some activities undertaken around the world whose purpose may or may not be to get the adrenaline juices flowing, but they certainly send us over the moon with a rush experienced never before.

11: Pathway to Heaven? – Motorbike on the World’s Most Dangerous Road in Bolivia

The North Yungas road (also known as Death Road), is a 69km long road connecting the Bolivian towns of La Paz and Coroico. At a staggering lung sapping height of 5km above sea level, this single lane road, the width of which is as little as 3 metres at some of the hairpin curves, needs the drivers to have the guile of a surgeon to negotiate its rail-less length. Add to that the fog and landslides, and what you have is the most dangerous road on earth.

Now a much safer bypass has been built for the vehicles to go to Coroico, but Yungas road is still being used by bikers who seek a thrill that the ordinary urban roads refuse to give them. Hurling down the Death Road at breakneck speed, passing the crosses which mark the spots where other vehicles have fallen, needs an immense amount of courage bordering on sheer insanity. But the adrenaline rush it provides has no comparison. But why is it ranked eleven? Well, putting your life on the line for a thrill – not quite the smartest thing to do.

10: Glide over Waters – Waterskiing in Costa Rica

Let go of the restrictions of land and feel the freedom that water provides at Costa Rica, one of the best destinations to go waterskiing. Just think about it. A 40 horsepower motor boat roaring in front of you, moving at a scintillating speed and all you have between you and the 40 horses is a rope to hold on to. Yes, there is one more thing Costa Rica is famous for apart from the gorgeous belles that rule the Miss Universe Pageants. It’s the thrilling waterskiing experience that it provides. So, hold on to your ropes as you skim over the water’s surface and feel a rush you have never felt before.

9: Ride the Wave – Surf at Cortes Bank, USA

If you think that you’ve experienced it all while surfing the shores of Hawaii and Australia, wait till you get to Cortes Bank, USA. Around 105 miles off Californian coast, at Cortes Bank you will find the experienced surfers searching for the biggest waves around. This is not for the faint hearted as some of the waves go as high as 60 feet. Under these ten storied angry walls of water, set one foot wrong and the waves will come crashing down on you like a thousand sledgehammers.

8: The Ultimate Pilgrimage – White Water Rafting at Rishikesh, India

Some go to Rishikesh, a place of pilgrimage, to seek the Almighty’s blessings, while others seek something different altogether. The mighty Ganges at Rishikesh passes through thick forests, canyons, terraced hillsides and treacherous rocks, providing a perfect backdrop for a sport that thrives in the pulsating rush that it offers – white water rafting.

Now, a popular adventure sport among the westerners and the corporate looking for an off-beat recreational activity, white water rafting is generally undertaken in the upper reaches of the river where the water is at its turbulent best, sending the rafts pounding against the rocks and falling from sharp gradients. So, if you’re in Rishikesh, get hold of that helmet, get onto the raft and lose yourself to the forces of nature.

7: The King and I – Walk Among the Lions at Matusadona National Park

The next time you go on an African safari, head towards Matusadona National Park in northern Zimbabwe. Experience one of those usual tiring daylong safaris and as the dusk sets in, relax by taking a leisurely walk… with the lions. By now you probably know that this is not your usual safari. Get a feel of what it’s like to be a part of a pride as you ‘mingle’ with the lions and even camp with them. This is one experience where you will not have to make an effort to get that thrill. Or is it more like the chill? A friendly suggestion – just make doubly sure that the lions aren’t hungry.

6: Vertigo with a View – BASE Jump at Voss, Norway

Every year at Voss, during the Extreme Sports Week, the high risk sports enthusiast converge to get their share of the action. So, after the initial sombre rounds of white water rafting, mountain biking and kayaking, they decide to get their juices flowing by hurling themselves off the 3,825 feet high GrosedaMountain down to the shores of LakeVangsvatnet. If you are itching to try your hand at this berserk activity, I guess you should know that BASE jumping is so dangerous that some countries have banned it. If you want to try it anyway, well, just don’t forget the parachute.

5: For the Twisted – Chase Storms in Tornado Alley, USA

When we spot an approaching tornado, common logic demands that we run and get the hell out of the place. But there are some who follow a different school of thought. Run, they do. But in a direction opposite to that which a sane man would take – towards the rampaging tornado. In the stretch between the Rocky and Appalachian mountains, is a region called the Tornado Alley which receives around 1000 tornado strikes a year (little wonder how it got its name). Now, these people, equipped with the most cutting edge tornado detection systems, go around chasing these tornados to witness their ‘majestic beauty’. If chasing tornadoes is your kind of a weekend activity, contact one of the tour companies offering what is called tornado chasing holidays.

4: Truly Incredible – Fly a MiG

Bored of the airplane simulation games you play at home? Now get a feel of flying one of these fighters with the G force, brain jam et all. We are not talking about a new cutting age simulation machine here, but the real thing. Head to Russia and fly one of their MiG fighters over the city of Moscow. If this doesn’t get your pulse racing, just check again if your heart’s actually pumping. Many more countries like Australia, South Africa and the US offer similar flying experiences, but nothing beats the experience of flying the legendary MiG.

3: For that Grown Up Kid : Kingda Ka Roller Coaster, Six Flags, USA

If you thought roller coasters were for kids, think again. Kingda Ka roller coaster was built in the year 2005 to give the 12-acre Golden Kingdom Six Flags theme park the bragging rights for having the tallest as well as the fastest roller coaster in the world. It goes up 418 feet and then drops at a speed of 428 miles per hour to give you a once in a lifetime rush. Who needs those fighter planes when you get roller coasters like these. Don’t forget to carry your barf bags!

2: Free Falling – Bungee Jump off the BloukransBridge, South Africa

You might still be bragging about your fall from the tree when you were a kid, but you won’t after you read this. BloukransBridge in South Africa plays host to the highest commercially operated bungee jump in the world. Walk through a specially designed catwalk and on reaching the top of the arch, look down. Even the full body harness won’t save you from the chill creeping in as you look down 216 meters towards Bloukrans river. You never have so much fun fearing for your life.

1: A View to Dive For – Sky Diving on the Gold Coast, Australia

The best view of the Gold Coast is from the top. The turquoise ocean, the light brown strip of the sandy beaches, the harbour… but wait, you’re falling right into the view!! Sky diving on Gold Coast is the ultimate adventure activity. If you want to get your fill of the thrill, get into the helicopter that takes off from Mariner’s Cove, get harnessed to an experienced instructor and let go. You will never have experienced such a rush all your life.

So if you need to get your heart racing and know what living on the edge is like, let go off that PlayStation joystick and engage in any one of the eleven activities that’ll give you the adrenaline rush that you have been craving. If you manage to get none of these things done before you die, rest assured that the Devil’s not going to save you a place in Hell. And we all know that Hell is where the beautiful women are at.

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Extreme Vacationing in the Great Smoky Mountains

By Shelia A Ogle

For some, rest and relaxation might be the goal, but if your vacation dreams involve more than a beach chair and a good book, then a visit to the Great Smoky Mountains is in order. Satisfy your craving for adventure with an invigorating look at the mountains from high in the trees, or test your nerve on the newest roller coaster to call Dollywood home. Thrill seekers of all ages will find something to love about their Great Smoky Mountain vacation.

Not Just Another Hike in the Wilderness

A simple walk in the woods might be fine for some, but if excitement and exhilaration is more your style, don’t miss a chance to get a bird’s eye view of the Great Smoky Mountains. Ziplines crisscross this vast wilderness, and offer a glimpse at some of the most stunning scenery you’ll ever encounter.

Strap on a harness and helmet, and soon you’ll be soaring through the treetops at breathtaking speed. Pause for a minute high atop a Hemlock while you snap a photo of the picturesque valley spread out below. Then stow your gear, because it’s time to be off on the next leg of your amazing zipline tour. Whether you’re a rookie or an old pro, ziplines offer one of the most exciting ways to see the scenery.

Fly Like an Eagle

If the zipline put you in the mood for speed, you’ll want to make Dollywood your next stop. Pigeon Forge’s favorite family fun spot is adding to its collection of heart-stopping thrill rides in 2012, with the addition of Wild Eagle, the country’s first “wing” coaster.

Take a seat on the wings of this giant eagle as it takes flight over the park. You’ll plunge into a 200-foot dive before swooping into a series of corkscrew turns that will leave you breathless. Skim over the trees and wave to your friends on the ground before coming in for a landing. If you’ve ever dreamed of flying like a bird, the Wild Eagle is your chance to soar.

No Parachute Required

Have you ever thought you might like to try skydiving? In Pigeon Forge, TN, you’ll get your chance – and you won’t even have to rent a plane. Grab your helmet and step inside the vertical wind tunnel at Flyaway Indoor Skydiving for a three-minute trip to the virtual clouds. Close your eyes and imagine the earth far below as the rush of wind keeps you afloat, or try your hand at a few acrobatic maneuvers. Coaching sessions are even available if you’d like to use your new skills in a real skydive. And don’t worry, there’s no experience necessary to enjoy this adventure.

If you thought all Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, TN had to offer were nature walks and outlet malls, you’re in for a treat. There’s plenty of exciting entertainment for thrill seekers of every age. Whether you’re looking for a unique way to enjoy the great outdoors, a ride on a world-class roller coaster, or an unusual skydiving trip, one thing is certain: you’ll need to take a few days to rest up after this vacation.

Planning your visit? Contact Heartland Rentals today for a wide selection of Gatlinburg cabin rentals in all sizes and prices. Click to for info and reservations. © 2012, All Rights Reserved.



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