Darting out from behind a tree, the marksman sidles up behind a barrel before swiftly aiming his Tippmann 98 marker at an unsuspecting opponent crouched beside a stack of firewood. Such are the tactics that Go Big Paintball referees—themselves dedicated paintballers—witness at each bout on the outdoor field. The refs distribute players of all skill sets and experience levels between two teams before sending them off to fire 100% biodegradable paint at one another across more than 21 acres. Between rounds, the indoor facility facilitates reenergizing with air fills and concessions. Go Big also hosts birthday parties and puts together customized packages for groups that want a little more time or ammunition during their adventures.
Outer Island Expeditions' fleet of kayaks and boats safely cruises at speeds of up to 50 miles per hour through frothy crests ebbing amid the striking sights and wildlife of the San Juan islands. Venturing as far as 50 miles into Canadian waters, whale-watching excursions foster personal rapport between patrons and boat-side orcas, gray whales, or humpback whales trying to learn human etiquette for future espionage missions. Tours of Stuart Island's Turn Point lighthouse begin aboard a 22-foot Kodiak skiff, which buoys patrons through 16 miles of waters inhabited by sea lions and porpoises before they disembark and hike to the lighthouse's historical museum. Fishing charters set sail in search of ocean creatures and potable salt water from all of Outer Island Expeditions' four launch points: Smuggler's Villa Resort, Semiahmoo Resort, Lopez Island, and The Willows on Lummi Island.
With two distinct layouts that bob and weave through groves of douglas fir, cedar, and hemlock trees, both Eighteen Pastures Golf Course and Tall Timber Golf Course invite clubbers for a day of challenging golf. The more difficult of the two layouts, Eighteen Pastures flummoxes stick-flickers with more than 6,800 yards of topsy-turvy terrain, where precipitous hillsides and bending fairways lined with arbors conceal upcoming hazards, which include 10 ponds and a multitude of sand traps. The course's front and back nines converge at the unique clubhouse, a bright red barn with a tall silo on one end said to contain the souls of every golf ball lost on the course.
An easier and shorter alternative to its grassy brethren, Tall Timber sprawls across 5,921 yards of kempt fairways cleaved through second-growth West Coast forests. The rippling waters of streams and ponds run throughout the course, attracting waterfowl and thirsty golf carts as clubbers hack through the 160-acre landscape.
Inside a room heated to a balmy 105 degrees Fahrenheit, a certified Bikram yoga instructor leads students through eagle, locust, and rabbit poses. These poses, part of a 26-asana sequence designed by yogi Bikram Choudhury, are intended to increase oxygen and blood flow through every inch of the body. Though the physical benefits of a stronger, more flexible body are undeniable, the good done to the mental and spiritual selves can only be described—a greater sense of peace, increased mental clarity, and the ability to tolerate people who talk about their night dreams. Eager to share its passion for the practice, the staff at Bikram Yoga equips new students with everything they need to succeed. Friendly receptionists hand students towels and mats before pointing them in the direction of clean, sleek changing and shower areas. The studio itself is constantly filled with purifying practitioners, as a deep bench of certified instructors teach both morning and evening classes seven days a week.
Sundance Balloons' vibrant hot-air balloons float adventurous passengers over scenic landscapes. Each one-hour journey commences as sojourners greet their flight crew at a pre-determined location, receive a briefing on what to expect during the excursion, and observe their balloon as it swells to more than 10 stories in height.
The woven gondolas glide 1,000 feet above the ground but can sometimes gently skim treetops or cornfields when wandering over the countryside. Since balloons drift with prevailing winds, there is no wind chill and travellers feel only a slight sensation of movement. As is tradition for ballooning, explorers of the appropriate age end their flight with a champagne toast to tranquility, beauty, and neighbourhoods that appear as giant smiley faces only visible from the air.