The hale and hearty team of instructors at Eco Expedition Educators boast an array of titles and certifications, including wilderness EMT, combat veteran, firefighter, master scuba diver trainer, sail boat captain, and U.S. Coast Guard medic—and there are only four of them on staff.
When participants take classes at Eco Expedition Educators, they gain an in-depth understanding of how to get themselves out of Mother Nature's toughest scrapes. Each guided expedition introduces novices to sticky situations they might encounter when outdoors, then equips them with the knowledge needed to escape unscathed or at least survive long enough to whittle a cellphone out of tree bark.
Tac Force Challenge tests the strength of racers by putting them through the rigors of an adventure 5K obstacle course designed by power lifters, martial-arts experts, and special-operations professionals. The muddy, muscle-straining course houses 31 obstacles, such as rope walls, river dashes, unbalanced beams, log trips, and tunnels that force runners to use all their strength and jet-pack fuel to reach the finish line. Participants begin their first race ranked as a Private and advance closer to General as they complete each run. This progress is saved in the Tac Force database, which catalogs completion dates so that the government knows whom to call in the event of a sweaty-bicep shortage.
Skyward Adventures, Inc. invites visitors to don a harness and grab hold of a zipline bars, then hold tight as they careen through the forest canopy. Ten lines, a spaghetti bridge, and a log bridge constitute the zipline layout, a stretch that takes approximately 2.5 hours to complete. Before setting off on their high-speed trip, however, each participant takes part in a safety discussion with the experienced guides, then hikes up to the practice area for some warm-up runs and experience with the proper technique.
Embellished with precarious overhangs and crevices, RockQuest Climbing Center’s 20,00-square-foot wall affords challenges to climbers of all skill levels. The expanse features separate areas for bouldering and roped climbing and is open to all climbers who can pass a simple belay test. A staff of experienced climbers, meanwhile, offers belay courses to acquaint newcomers with proper climbing technique and safety considerations.
A collection of adrenaline-pumping ziplines whoosh through the forest on Markin Farms Zipline Adventures? 80-acre farm. The multilevel platforms, built high in the trees, connect the course?s ziplines, which pass above bubbling creeks, over ponds, and through time. The scenic course includes challenge areas and ends with a double-zip setup, where two riders race to the finish directly above or below one another, overlooking the sparkling water. The farm also offers specialty zips that glide through the forest after twilight or just as the sun sets.
Extreme athletes banded together to design Spartan Races' intense courses orchestrated over standardized distances, each strewn with natural and man-made obstacles to test mind-body fitness, resilience, stamina, and strength, designed to leave participants exhausted and exhilarated. In waves of 200, runners collect smudges and stains as they perform box jumps, haul heavy sandbags, and juke feral linebackers. Depending on where in the world they're participating, the course may be as short as 3 miles or, for extremely practiced athletes, as long as a full marathon.