Surrounded by craggy peaks, three men in bright-red helmets stand in the midst of wilderness, surveying the mountains around them as their group of hikers break for a snack on the rocky ground. This interface with the majesty of nature is all in a day's work for this trio of adventurers—Paul Mangasarian and Jakob and Daniel Laggner. Still, their passion for open-air exploration grows with each expedition they lead. Paul, Jakob, and Daniel cofounded Treks and Tracks with the dream of orchestrating excursions into nature that combine ancient means of travel—such as sailing, horseback riding, and hitchhiking on a centaur—with modern sports ranging from surfing to rock climbing. Though they focus on introducing novice outdoorsfolk to unspoiled wilderness around the world, Treks and Tracks' cofounders also strive to leave the awe-inspiring surroundings they visit as pristine as they found them by rigorously upholding practices of environmental stewardship on each expedition.
Since opening to the public in 1926, Benbow Inn has entertained Hollywood elite, foreign dignitaries, and traveling motorists alike with a wealth of both outdoor and indoor pursuits, nestled amid the towering redwoods that share the banks of the Eel River. Early on, the Inn’s prime spot near the Avenue of the Giants made it a popular stopover for tourists traveling up the coast or searching for a more impressive Christmas tree. The sprawling complex’s tranquil gardens and majestic mountain setting provide an ideal respite from the road for weary travelers. Though the hotel’s long-held commitment to upkeep and service has earned it a place on the National Register of Historic Places and a four-diamond rating from AAA, its real treasures lie outside its Tudor walls. Visitors while away the time with such activities as swimming and boating on the river, perfecting pitches on the 9-hole Benbow Valley Golf Course, or hiking through the redwoods of the Kings Range while longing for prehensile tales from which to swing.
In addition to hotel rooms and cottages, Benbow Inn hosts campers on more than 100 pull-through and back-in sites at its RV Resort, which won the Best of The West Award in 2004. Here, travelers enjoy the peace and quiet of their spot in the woods, which balances the rusticity of the outdoors with such creature comforts as cement patios, picnic tables, and full hookups, including cable TV.
Course at a Glance: * 9-hole, par 35 course * Total length of 2,674 yards from the back tees * Course rating of 66.3 from the back tees * Course slope of 115 from the back tees * Three sets of tees per hole * Scorecard
Today, it's undeniable: Jazzercise is a worldwide empire, spanning more than 1,800 locations and 32,000 weekly classes across the globe. It's also hip; gone are the leotards and legwarmers of the 1980s, replaced with a high-intensity blend of cardio, strength training, kickboxing and power yoga performed to hits by chart-toppers from Shakira to Justin Timberlake. The class formats, which vary according to different toning goals, are just as diverse as the program's move set, with recent additions such as Fusion, Core, and Strike broadening the workouts' variety and application. Instructors cultivate a noncompetitive atmosphere where all exercisers are welcome regardless of age, build, or fitness background. This sense of community keeps Jazzercise devotees coming back, but so too do the results; benefits ranging from weight loss and boosted core strength to increased flexibility and stress relief.
Jazzercise's continued success can be traced to the innovation of its founder, Judi Sheppard Missett. While teaching jazz dance in the 1960s, she decided to step away from tradition by offering an experimental class that allowed her students to simply dance without the judgment of mirrors or the constraints of rigid technique. Little did she know that this ?just for fun? class was the prototype for what would become the Jazzercise sensation.
Shasta Glide 'n Ride's tour guides time their running commentary, broadcast through headsets, to the whir of Segway wheels propelling patrons through scenic stretches of the paved Sacramento River Trail. First, riders hone Segway skills during a brief session that includes hands-on training, an instructional video, and tips on how to garner the best mechanical performance by impersonating a mother robot. With new Segway knowledge in hand, tours embark from the parking lot at Turtle Bay Exploration Park. Roadsters obediently bend to their riders’ whims as they zoom across the nearby Sundial Bridge and through sunning flocks of wildlife to the tune of tales about the Gold Rush and Old West. Available cooling vests enable comfortable treks, even on days with 100-degree temperatures or hot-cocoa downpours, and modern technology allows Segways to slice through fog or light rain. Patrons can also design their own tours atop rental bikes and pedal through local flora and fauna for hours at a time.
Sprawling across 300 acres, Turtle Bay Exploration Park has all the space it needs to showcase Northern California's ecosystems as well as the history of its people. Located in Redding, which was named one of the top affordable summer driving destinations by CBS News, this celebration of nature, anthropology, and art starts in the McConnell Arboretum. Its gardens use 200 acres to form a living map of the five major Mediterranean climate zones: Chile, South Africa, Australia, the Mediterranean basin, and California. In addition to providing picturesque views, these gardens use water-wise methods to emphasize the importance of sustainability. * Paul Bunyan?s Forest Camp displays artifacts and photographs from early lumber camps while also teaching visitors about the local birds and reptiles that continue to thrive in the nearby forests. * The Turtle Bay Museum helps visitors explore the region's animal life or general scientific topics through rotating exhibits along with a 22,000 square foot aquarium. * The Sundial Bridge features sweeping, 217-foot pylon that supports the bridge's elegant design while minimizing its environmental impact on the river below. * Buster Simpson's The Monolith is an installation built inside the ruins of the Kutras Aggregate Plant, which provided the gravel used to create the concrete for Shasta Dam.
Bald eagles soar through the air, trout and bass dart beneath tranquil waves, and fresh mountain water pours into three different lakes: Trinity, Shasta, and Lewiston. Across these landscapes, visitors can embrace the great outdoors at Shasta Recreation Company’s campgrounds and semipermanent yurts. After making camp, visitors can hit the hiking trails that wind through the towering pine trees and along the shore—where each of the three lakes sets the stage for aquatic activities. In the hands of guests, fishing lines plunge into Shasta Lake in search of bass; boats churn up water along Trinity Lake's 145 miles of tree-lined shoreline; and canoes transport paddlers across Lewiston Lake's placid waters.