It seemed inevitable that the owners would found Northeast Mountaineering, as both grew up in central Massachusetts and both have ascended an array of local and faraway mountains, including Mt. McKinley. With another experienced climber in tow, Northeast Mountaineering's trio of climbers share their passion for the outdoors with pupils during climbs up Mt. Adams, Mt. Washington, or custom trails forged by their pet mountain goats. They also orchestrate trips to Ecuador to climb the second-highest mountain in the country, the 19,347-foot Mt. Cotopaxi. As certified Wilderness First Responders, each guide is dedicated to safe climbing techniques, which they instill in students during courses that are tailored to all skill levels.
Adventurers glide past pine and deciduous trees, navigating branches at 200 feet above the ground. As they reach a treetop platform, guides wave them along onto a bridge that swings high above the forest floor. This nerve-racking scene is the norm at Alpine Adventures, where professionals have led guests soaring through the woodlands of New Hampshire's White Mountains since 2006. Today, in addition to leading guests on three distinct canopy tours, each testing adventurers' courage with swinging bridges and fast speeds, they captain off-road adventures in six-wheeled Swiss Pinzgauers. Up to 11 passengers sit protected by seat harnesses and an overhead roll cage as guides narrate and charge through fall foliage, winter flurries, or summer volleyball games. An aerial park invites thrill seekers to explore cargo nets, rope ladders, ziplines, a treehouse, a climbing tower, and many other elevated obstacles.
With thousands of flight hours under his belt, experienced pilot Keith Deschambeault of Acadian Seaplanes chauffeurs nature-bound groups over breathtaking treetops and seascapes in a single-engine plane specially designed for water landings. Maine's illustrious coastline unfolds below as the small, sturdy planes soar on specialized air tours that seek out moose, remote mountain lakes, or destination fishing for trout, bass, and Maine's native aquamoose.
Back Country Excursions founder Cliff Krolick set up his mountain-biking base camp in 1991. Since, he has designed a mountain biking adventure off the beaten trail in a quiet area of the White Mt. Foothills, where he and his staff greatly enjoy working with all levels of mountain bikers. The 30 miles of trails, accessible with one-day or annual passes, traverse terrain suitable for both novice and advanced riders, from a gently rolling single track to fun but challenging descent peppered with slaloms and tree spring noose traps set by territorial squirrels. Cliff and his experienced crew of savvy mountain bikers guide and teach multi-day mountain biking tours through the wilderness with comfort of their mountain lodge or screened-in backcountry yurt. To ensure that the environment stays pristine for future generations, Cliff donates a portion of annual profits to a variety of local environmental causes.
Customers choose their own adventures when renting a kayak from Sebago Trails Paddling Co. Father-and-daughter team Bill and Katelyn Allen and their friend and business partner Virginia Arsenault use more than 30 years of business, kayaking, and local knowledge to suggest more than 30 adventures within 12 miles of the kayak rental site. Life-jacket-adorned paddlers explore a historic hand-operated lock from the 1830s, venture through the historic ruins of Gambo Mills, or head to one of the various beaches as their colorful kayak glides through the water, slicing the gentle waves with its bright red nose.
On an airplane, there are windows, roaring engines, and strangers trying to make small talk. But imagine if all that was gone. Imagine if it was just you, the wind, and the miracle of flight. That's the experience afforded by Green Mountain Ballooning, which floats passengers high above Vermont's rolling hillsides, sparkling rivers, and sleepy towns. Some days, when conditions are right, rides soar to thousands of feet in the air. They also dip low enough for passengers to converse with people on the ground, or snag a package from their mailman. Eventually, flights drift back to earth, where a celebratory champagne toast awaits.