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.
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.
Skiing. Snowboarding. Canoeing. Rock climbing. Horseback riding. To someone with a physical disability, activities like these might seem impossible. Yet Eric Gray, founder of Catalyst Sports, has taught disabled individuals how to perform each one?plus a few others. At Catalyst, Eric and his team empower people to not only overcome physical disabilities, but also to thrive with them.
The organization provides unique recreational opportunities to individuals of all ages and ability levels, including adaptive rock climbing programs. In fact, Catalyst has grown into the largest such adaptive climbing program in the country. It has done so, in large part, by hosting frequent events and fundraisers, which are far better ways to raise money than playing the same Roman numerals in the lottery every week.
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.
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.