Spurred by a desire to connect with other adventurers sharing his passion for exploring wilderness territory, Reginald Mitchell began leading hiking trips throughout Georgia and the Southeast. Though he regularly helms mountain-climbing excursions on local slopes such as Kennesaw Mountain and Amicalola Falls, he's also traversed mountains in areas as disparate as Tennessee, California, Costa Rica, Guatemala, and Middle Earth. Sandwiches and trail mix fuel hikers on most tours as they enjoy hiking's numerous health benefits, such as weight loss, endurance building, and stress relief.
Piccadilly Circus's BLAST! show blows away audiences with a spectacle set under a capacious, 80-feet-tall big top. The 90-minute extravaganza features such death-defying acts as acrobats launching themselves out of catapults, showgirls balancing atop racing camels, and middle-aged men cutting back on their sodium intake. Ballerinas and bike-riding acrobats wrangle laughs from onlookers with off-balance antics while rotating wheels of death spin daredevils over the ring. Shows take place in a newly constructed big-top tent, featuring climate control and armrest-equipped, theater-style seats. Aggressively punctual guests can while away preshow time at the circus' petting zoo, riding elephants, camels, and ponies while regretting youthful decisions to run away from the circus and enroll in actuarial school.
Seven extreme athletes and one Royal Marine banded together to design Spartan Races' intense miles-long courses, each strewn with obstacles to test resilience, stamina, and strength. Clad in event T-shirts, runners collect smudges and stains as they clamber across mud pits, slide unscathed under barbed wire, and juke feral linebackers. Depending on where in the world they're participating, the course may be as short as three miles or, for extremely practiced athletes, as long as a full marathon.
Nestled in the high branches of Gwinnett Environmental & Heritage Center, a network of ropes, ladders, and bridges invites amateur adventurers to scurry across their lengths. Although Treetop Quest’s ropes courses hover as high as 55 feet above the ground, guests stay safe thanks to a belay system that’s impossible to detach at canopy level. During self-guided adventures, they encounter more than 70 obstacles, whooshing along ziplines, scaling rope nets, and carefully crossing suspension and monkey bridges. Before guests ascend through the branches, instructors issue them harnesses and gloves and give them a thorough safety briefing. The courses vary in difficulty and height to accommodate all experience levels and ages, allowing visitors as young as 4 to enjoy a challenge, even if it’s just trying to sweet-talk a squirrel into sharing his stash of Corn Nuts.
Amid the excitement, Treetop Quest educates patrons on the surrounding environment through plaques and info boards at each course level. The courses operate sustainably to respect their arboreal hosts; the structures are treatment-free and don’t puncture the trees in any way.
The challenging 10-mile Tough Mudder obstacle course was designed by British Special Forces to test all-around strength, endurance, mental determination, and camaraderie. Over the course of two and a half hours, participants will weave their way through a diverse terrain that boasts 19 demanding obstacles, including muddy trenches, underwater obstacles, high walls, slippery slopes, live wires, and a gauntlet of fire. Tough Mudder challenges the fittest of fit athletes, demanding mental toughness to match physical prowess—only 80% of entrants reach the finish line. After the event, participants receive a free beer provided by Dos Equis.
The thrilling courses at Daredevil Ziplines were originally built for the adrenaline junkies on the finale of the action series The Controller: Medal of Honor Warfighter. Happy shrieks now spiral out from members of the general public as they hit the 50 mile-per-hour speeds experienced by the stars of the show. The Dare Ya! ride whisks participants downhill for 600 feet before being stopped abruptly on the bungee braking system, which then sends them whipping out over a lake and stopping gently. They then glide down among sweet-smelling pine boughs and make a soft landing.
The Aerial Challenge combines a zipline with an aerial obstacle course, including a suspended log walk, ladders, a swinging bridge and platform, and rope walks. Riders can end the challenge with a short walk to a bridge overlooking the Tuck spring, which flows from the roots of a century old oak tree. Streams babble above and below the ground, carving the limestone into organic-looking curlicues covered with moss and ferns like somebody who won’t get off the Jurassic Park ride.