Feeling Adventurous? Taking Staycations To The Next Level

August 12, 2009
Kayaking Na Pali Coast (photograph by Mark Gamba)

This past weekend I participated in my first Dragon Boat Festival in Starbuck, MN. I was one of 18 rowers paddling a giant “dragon boat” against 34 other teams in a series of heats throughout the day. While I didn’t exactly know what I was getting myself into when I agreed to join Team Viking Crew, it was a great experience and very well organized for what some would consider just a small-town event. It was neat to see this quaint lake community come together for such a fun activity and I loved being able to experience something new.

The event must have inspired me because on the way home I flipped through an old National Geographic Adventure magazine (April/May issue) and was intrigued with its “50 Best American Adventures” list. With dollars being a bit stretched these days, the article encourages readers to look to their “own backyard” for adventure.

The list is pretty diverse and as you would expect given its name, includes a number of adventurous outdoor activities including some extreme hiking, biking, climbing and even firefighting excursions. Definitely several adventurous steps above my recent boat racing on Lake Minnewaska, but there were a couple activities on the list that I might try sometime in the next year or two.

While I probably won’t be up for a two-month bike ride across the Continental Divide or climbing Mount Rainer (dubbed America’s Everest), I would be interested in participating in the annual RAGBRAI across Iowa or kayaking into the world’s largest sea caves around Santa Cruz Islands in California.

Check out the list for yourself if you are up for an adventure or two. And, if you can’t find anything quite your speed, consider putting together a team for next year’s Dragon Boat Festival in Starbuck (there also are races taking place all across the country). It might be a good place to start.