Taking its name from its location along the Eau Claire River and Lake Eau Claire, EC Adventures commands a fleet of kayaks and canoes for visiting explorers. The lake bisects the river into two forks, with a different adventure waiting at each end. On the South Fork, calm waters carry paddlers north from Coon Fork County Park, offering beginners and families the chance to calmly enjoy the forested surroundings. The North Fork runs from the Lake Eau Claire Dam to Lake Altoona, where the waters hit a brisk tempo, breaking into small patches of rapids. Visitors may also enjoy the lake itself, follow a map provided for lake trips to secluded islands, sunny beaches, and patches of water frequented by indigenous fish.
Great blue herons stalking the wildflowers along the Kinnickinnic River. Trout leaping out of the water to feed. Owner and lifelong outdoorsman Mike Kealy and his guides lead kayaking trips past these and more dramatic sites, which typify the undeveloped riverbanks throughout eastern Minnesota and western Wisconsin. Each outing begins at a select meet-up point, from which guides provide shuttle service to and from the launch sites. Along with unveiling the rivers? untouched scenery, River Guide?s team can also add a fishing guide to each trip, taking guests into streams teeming with brown, rainbow, and zebra-striped trout.
Vintage Paintball Park?s speckled outdoor arena unfurls ten different fields, including the Thunderdome, where players aged 10 and older engage in colorful combat under the watchful eye of trained referees ensuring safety. Amid the paintball crossfire, sharpshooters weave in and out of a variety of obstacles situated around urban landscapes, wooded courses with pillboxes and trenches, hilly terrain, and moms yelling to come inside for supper. The park hosts myriad battle scenarios that keep guests entertained throughout the day or for the duration of season passes. Private paintball lessons help players improve shooting accuracy before releasing them into the line of fire during Saturday and Sunday afternoon open play. An onsite concession stand replenishes body fuel with snacks and drinks so that players can jump back into games with the energy of a superhero bit by Ben Franklin.
As a girl, Lynette Weldon dreamed of horses and cleaned stalls in exchange for the opportunity to ride. But she was only allowed to take out horses known to be stubborn and difficult-the ones no one else wanted to ride. Over time, the experience toughened her riding abilities, allowing her to grow into a trainer with a knack for bonding with troubled ponies.
At Lost Creek Ranch, Lynette guides students and horses along trails and streams during riding lessons. Eagles often glide overhead in search of fretted field mice, and tufts of woodsmoke climb from the campsites of ranch visitors. She also guides many of her riding students to competitive shows where horses are encouraged to settle their differences through equitation rather than bare-hoof boxing or telling yo' mare jokes.
About 30 minutes from Minneapolis, the crew of Kinni Kayak runs tours on the Kinnickinnic River in River Falls, Wisconsin. The 3.5-hour excursions travel an 8-mile stretch of the river in a secluded, nonresidential area teeming with wildlife. For first-time kayakers, Kinni offers lessons with instruction as basic as how to sit in the craft and hold the paddle and as advanced as paddling techniques and fish grammar.
Anytime Fitness, which boasts 1,689 clubs in North America, makes it easier for average folks to etch out time for exercise by doing one simple thing: staying open 24 hours a day for 365 days a year. As fitness seekers challenge themselves on cardio and Hammer Strength machines and hoist Iron Grip free weights in clean, well-stocked facilities, security monitoring ensures they’re safe and producing enough sweat to meet official government standards. Members can also ramp up their exercise regimens with the help of Anytime Fitness’s staff of personal trainers, who demonstrate moves and sling motivating tips. After workouts, guests can shower in the private restrooms or hop into one of the tanning booths available 24 hours a day.