BADASS Dash’s organizers live in a world of imagination. Where others see cargo nets, they see giant webs to be scaled. School buses become climbing walls and bales of hay turn into tunnels filled with grass and mud. In city after city, they place 20+ of these obstacles along a 7-kilometer course, and invite individuals and teams to compete against each other in elite matches, or beat their personal best in recreational races. Afterward, the organizers throw a celebratory bash filled with bonfires, food, live entertainment, and prizes for top finishers. A portion of the proceeds goes to benefit the charity Autism Speaks.
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.
Appalachian Wilderness Guides leads avid adventurers on Mother Nature explorations and mountainous hikes. Teaming with northern Georgia wineries, the wine-tasting trek whisks vino-lovers through Georgia vineyards, helmed by a tour guide and including a palate-pleasing tasting with accompanying snacks. For the wide-eyed wilderness warrior, the family camping trip provides one night of mind-melding with the outdoors in a provided tent with sleeping bags. Start with a brisk day hike, and then finish with a campfire to nibble on hot dogs, hamburgers, and marshmallows. Along the way, Appalachian Wilderness Guides participate as little or as much as you like, meaning its leaders can leave after setting up the tent or stay to tell campfire stories about the Supreme Court justices who are lurking in the woods. All guides of the uneven grounds are certified in wilderness first-aid, CPR, and Leave No Trace Outdoors Ethics, ensuring the safe removal of unnecessary waste.
Captain Doug loves catching striped bass. Sometimes, he even breaks out a fly-fishing rig to intensify the fight, a practice that would soon deplete the strength of lesser fishermen. But with more than a decade of learning the patterns of striped bass, Captain Doug knows how to find, hook, not get eaten by, and coach clients through landing one of these freshwater leviathans. Now part of the pro staff at Champion Boats, he takes parties out on his 24 Bay Champ boat, supplying anglers with all the equipment they need. Also an enthusiastic trout fisherman, Captain Doug can take anglers out on the Chattahoochee River, or all the way to the Rocky Mountains to catch trophy rainbow, cutthroat, and brown trout in the Snake River and the Green River. Especially memorable catches earn a place in the captain's heart, as well as in his photo album.
With their jagged ridges, multicolored faces, and thousands of holds affixed seemingly at random, the rock walls at Stone Summit look like cubist installations large enough to fill a small warehouse. Follow any series of holds up to the top of these expressionist monuments, though, and scores of individual routes emerge, offering challenges for everyone from entry-level beginners to the most seasoned scaler. Climbers can seek out the tops of routes as high as 60 feet off the facility floor, and bouldering enthusiasts have an entire room filled with near-horizontal overhangs and brain-teasing bouldering problems perfect for studying for the rock-climbing portion of the SAT. The facility complements its climbing focus with a range of non-climbing exercise opportunities, including treadmills, weight machines, and yoga classes.
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.