Thanks to the Beach Boys and others, California will always have a pre-eminent place in surfing mythology. Less often is it associated with windsurfing, even though in California the sport has been popular here since the 1960s.
Whatever kind of Californian windsurfing holiday you book, whether it’s through Los Angeles Vacation Rentals or with a hire car you drive to celebrated Leo Carillo, you’ll be stoked from start to finish.
And don’t worry about the surfers – you know they’ll come around to it sooner or later! Here’s what’s happening in Cali for both beginners and experts.
Few sports offer quite the same thrill factor as snowkiting. The long snowy runs and heart-in-mouth ridges make snow kiting in the Chicago area an adventure sport challenge that few people think of when they book up to visit this US giant.
New on the block, or just looking to tick off yet another sporting experience as you travel the globe, it’s a perfect place for this novel and beguiling winter sport.
The destinations below offer everything a dedicated snowkiter needs: consistent wind, wide open space and intriguing terrain.
Some sports take you closer to nature – and the closer you get, the greater your responsibility. Nature as scenery is passive; it’s usually the weather conditions that will pose the real danger. Until you come face to face with some of the biggest animals on the planet…
The video clip here is a controversial one. There’s no denying that it’s one of the most amazing handy cam clips ever – nature documentaries take years to get this close. But when is close too close?
The International Whaling Commission’s Scientific Committee (IWC SC) has previously noted that “whale swims have the potential to negatively impact whales through harassment and disturbance”.
Which really is not the plan. Further reading shows that divers have their own concerns. A piece in Scuba Diving.com suggests that the best place to view whales is from the boat. But watching the video below, we can see why this guy kayaking in the US (off California) took the opportunity.
It’s August and I’m thinking about skiing in the US. Strange? Maybe. But you can’t really blame me when there is snow falling in the Alps in the height of summer at 2,000 m. Extreme weather (in so much that it’s extremely weird) has prompted more than a little bit of reflection on the season just gone and how best to approach the winter to come.
When one thinks of extreme skiing there are generally two places that come to mind – Chamonix and Jackson Hole. I am incredibly fortunate to live just 45 minutes from the former but until recently have never been to the jewel in Wyoming’s Stetson, Jackson Hole.
I’ve always wanted to of course, which real skier wouldn’t? Like Chamonix, JH is synonymous with legends of the white crystals and therefore kind of symbolises a right of passage for any lover of the steep and deep stuff. As a result, when the opportunity to get over there finally came around earlier this year, well let’s just say I was literally linedancing on the spot with excitement.
It’s such a big place! Seriously, look at an online map of the US, perhaps pick just one state, and then zoom in. Vast. Past this, the superlatives rarely match the scale. And if you’ve never visited, deciding where to find the best adventures in the US is a daunting task.
Let’s see if we can help:
This area of natural beauty has such a rugged coastline that in places only a kayak will suffice. And as the largest state, bristling with mountains, glaciers and national parks, it really is top of an adventurer’s ‘to visit’ list. There’s the chance to paddle through fjords, enjoy the calm waters of glacial lakes, and even get some sea kayaking in – maybe even some whale watching.
The road trip is a classic travel experience, and the US offers up one of the widest selections of tarmac tours. Travelling coast-to-coast is almost a rite of passage, little wonder as you’ll visit the most majestic wildernesses: Yellowstone, Yosemite, the Great Lakes, and pass Mount Rushmore and Crazy Horse – even get to see the Niagara Falls. From coast-to-coast, from metropolis to mountain valley, it’s a great journey.
Ansel Adams spent years trekking around Yosemite, and it was here he took some of his most distinctive photographs. Captured in sharply contrasted tones, he once used the ridges and outlines of Half Dome Mountain to create a lunar landscape. Lugging a large format camera with him, he worked hard for his results.
Generations of climbers have been taking on the unforgiving granite of Yosemite, but only recently has anyone managed to ascend the face of Half Dome without ropes. That honour went to a 23-year-old from Sacramento, carrying with him little more than a bag of chalk…
Alex Honnold (pictured below) lives on adrenaline, yet can never afford to be at its mercy. Adrenaline quickens the pulse, sharpens the senses and fuels the attack or escape we sometimes still need – but its effects are short-lived. What Alex needs more is courage, experience and a refined mix of concentration and conviction; he’s a ‘free solo climber’, and when you are climbing with no ropes, your life depends on every handhold.
Half Dome looks like a peak chopped in half, a caped fiend: it’s as if the mountain has thrown up a hood, leaving its face in shade. Climbing all 2,130 feet of this sinister granite was the making of Honnold. And it’s on the iconic mountains of Yosemite that other climbers have also forged their reputations.
In 1994, Lynnie Hill made an ascent of El Capitan – also a favourite of Adams – and raised the bar, not just for female climbers, but also for all climbers. Within this elite world there’s Ron Kauk. At 53, Ron’s here to help troubled kids find direction through his ‘Sacred Rok’ program. At his peak, Ron forged some of the hardest routes in Yosemite, preferring to stay roped. And for good reason: there’s no room for error here, non whatsoever…
Ansel Adams also photographed Half Dome from the valley floor, set back against the snow-dusted splendour of Yosemite National Park. This region is a national treasure, and a focus for mountainbiking holidays and family getaways as much as it is a proving ground for climbers.
In this piece, Mark Jenkins returns to Yosemite’s Camp 4 to discover climbing’s new breed of adventurer: superfit, superfast, and part of a global community, testing itself against the granite gods of Yosemite.
Images that support this feature appear in the May 2011 issue of National Geographic magazine, on newsstands April 26, can be seen in more detail, here.
A major airline has placed the Moroccan resort of Marrakech at the top of its must-visit list. The destination has been named as the place to see in 2011 by British Airways, which will start flights to the city on March 28, 2011.
In second place on BA’s best travel tips was San Diego in southern California, followed by New York. The list was full with American tourist spots and Caribbean locations where sailing enthusiasts go to enjoy well earned sailing holidays.
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