Friday, June 27, 2014

Spelunking (Caving)

Caving is an outdoor activity meant for people that have a love for exploring as well as adventure. There is nothing to take lightly about cave climbing. This requires intense physical activity with proficiency in rock climbing, physical strength, and mobility. People suffering from claustrophobia (fear of enclosed or small spaces) may not want to try this activity. Without taking the proper precautions there are many things that could be dangerous when you are far below the earth's surface.

Some of the necessary and required equipment includes a harness, rope, helmet, gloves, and flashlights. These things are required mostly for safety. When rock climbing in general, it is crucial to ensure that all knots are tied correctly and tightly. Make sure that the rope is tied through both waist loops and tied using a "figure-8-follow-through" knot, then finished with a backup knot. Even under ground, descending is still dangerous and must be done in a safe way. The most important safety equipment used is the helmet. Underground there is no telling when or if dabre will fall or loose rocks which can be hazardous. One last safety tip that is often overlooked is the date of your equipment. You must be very careful as to not use equipment that is out of date. When buying new gear, most sports stores have inspections on all rock climbing gear to ensure that they pass the test of approval.    

There are few popular cave climbing locations in New England. One popular place for both cave climbing and rock climbing is North Conway NH and Franconia Notch NH. Other locations that are very popular for cave climbing include other countries such as New Zealand, Australia and Iceland.  


Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Downhill Skiing

Downhill skiing is a winter sport that attracts thousands of people to various ski resorts in New England. Learning how to ski is something that takes practice but can be mastered. Downhill skiing is usually takes place on a trail marked as advanced. All of the ski trails have levels of difficulty which most people can match with their skill level. The levels are represented by shapes and colors. An easier trail would be marked by a greed circle, an intermediate trial would be marked as a blue square, and advanced trails are black diamonds. Most forms of downhill skiing are usually found on black diamond trials. 

I began skiing at a young age. Most winters my family would take ski trips to various ski resorts in New England. Some of the common mountains we visited include Loon Mountain NH, Waterville Valley NH, Sunday River ME, and Bradford MA. 

Within the last couple years I began snowboarding. My sister and I love skiing and were looking for something similar that could be a challenge. Snowboarding was definitely a challenge. The technique came naturally for my sister but took me more time to learn. I did enjoy the experience but I find skiing to be much more enjoyable as a sport because I have done it for longer and feel more comfortable. 

Skiing at a controlled fast pace provides a rush that I love. Although downhill skiing takes time to become comfortable, I find it well worth the practice. I would recommend BOTH skiing and snowboarding to anyone that enjoys a challenge and cold weather. Traveling at fast speeds downhill provides a certain rush that cannot be found in many places.      

Monday, June 2, 2014

Sailboat Racing

Sailing is one of my favorite things to do during the summer months. It is a fun activity that can be seen as relaxing and calming. Sailboat racing however is not exactly the same. Navigating through a set course among other boats that share the same course is actually quite difficult. One of the main focuses of sailboat racing is strategy and tactics.

Although sailboats rely mostly on wind to keep them moving, predicting the wind patterns is very difficult. The wind allows sailboats move but the direction of the wind is what will determine which way the racing course will be set. Timing is also a key component of sailboat racing based on the fact that all of the boats need to be lined up at the start. There are many types of boats that race together. Boats of the same size and model are competing against one another to finish the course fastest.

The pictures above are from a sailboat race that my family took part in last summer. We used to race our C&C 34 sailboat named "Jasmine". My job was on the front of the boat where I would help attach a pole to the sail. When sailing down wind, it is difficult for the front sail to hit the wind correctly. In order for the boat to keep moving, we connect a pole to the mast of the boat and to the sail so that the sail sticks out further for the wind to hit it more directly.

Growing up on a sailboat has allowed me to learn so much about sailing and sailboat racing. I am very lucky to have had the opportunity to learn so much about sailing and I have become fascinated by boats in general. I would encourage anyone with an opportunity to learn about sailing to try because the science behind sailing is guaranteed to surprise you.

Canyon Hiking

Canyon hiking is not exactly a common form of hiking. Very few locations in New England offer the opportunity to hike, rock climb, and swim through canyons. Sculptured Rocks in Groton New Hampshire, provides a unique canyon and rock formation that allows hikers to experience one of nature's most fascinating areas. Sculptured Rocks Natural Area spans 272 acres through New Hampshire.  

I have been to this area once a few years ago. We drove to this location for the purpose of taking pictures for my cousin's photography class but found much more than just pictures. We were able to swim through the river that ran between the canyons and climb the rock formations that surrounded us. In the top picture, I am jumping off one of the high canyons into the river below. The river was unique in the way that it was very deep and wide among certain areas, which made it safe to jump from. The second picture is taken of us from the top of the canyon where we jumped from. 

This location in particular I would highly recommend to anyone interested in hiking, swimming, and rock climbing. Personally I would love to go back and explore the unique rock formations again. Jumping from the canyon was a thrill that you need to feel to believe. If jumping from high canyons is not your thing, then I would still most definitely recommend visiting the park to hike the rocks and watch the river.    

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Outdoor Adrenaline

Learn about all of the adventures that await you in the outdoors. Discover new locations and ideas while exploring various outdoor sports.

Friday, May 30, 2014

White Water Rafting

I have been white water rafting only once. However this was one of the best experiences that I can explain. Rafting on white water can be determined by "grade levels" of intensity. The levels range from Grade 1 which is a basic white water river up to Grade 6 which is highly intensive and mildly dangerous.

I went rafting my Senior year of High School on a class organized trip. We drove a total of seven hours to a remote location in northern Maine. We stayed the night in cabins and were awaken early the next morning to prep for our rafting experience. We went through an hour of training including safety precautions and what not, then we set out for the white water. The first 15 minutes were mellow as we drifted through the start of the river. As we approached the white water intensity soon took over. Our only main problem was at the beginning of the river in the front of the raft. We had two team members that were not experienced and did not row correctly. As we launched over the first jump, we spun around and capsized. The guide on our raft helped us to regain control and tip the boat right side up and pull us back in. After adjusting the positioning of teammates we were able to continue without problem. Besides our little problem with tipping over, we really learned a lot about rafting.

I would highly recommend white water rafting to anyone looking for a thrill. Although my raft had some minor problems, I would most definitely go white water rafting again. Personally I believe that if you love water sports such as myself, then you would love this sport in particular.    

About Me

Hi! My name is Nick and I am a Junior at the University of Rhode Island. I began writing about outdoor sports for multiple reasons, including my interests in athletics and passion for adventure. The purpose of this blog is for viewers to learn more about certain sites and locations, as well as tips for how to safely try new outside activities. Some of my previous adventures include hiking, rock climbing, biking, white water rafting and sailboat racing. I welcome anyone's input or comments on any of the topics whether they have experienced them or not. I wish you the best of luck with where this takes you!