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Wednesday, 4 December 2013

National Geographic Announces 2014 Adventurers of the Year


Online Voting for People’s Choice Adventurer of the Year Runs through Jan. 31, 2014

The 2014 Adventurers of the Year, naming extraordinary achievements in exploration, adventure sports, conservation or humanitarianism have distinguished them in the past year was already announced by National Geographic.

Runs through Jan. 31, 2014, the online voting for the People’s Choice Adventurer of the Year has already started.  Fans can go here to vote at any time for their favorite honoree.  In February, the adventurer with the most number of votes at the end of the voting period will be announced as the 2014 People’s Choice Adventurer of the Year.

The 13 honorees this year were a long-distance swimmer, to refresh your memory, he was the first to swim from Cuba to Florida without protection from a shark cage; another one was a skier who is re-imagining his sport in urban landscapes; and two veterans dedicated to establishing connections between veterans and the outdoors; lastly a snowboarder committed to helping brain injury survivors.

The 13 Adventurers of the Year for 2014 are:

§  Stacy Bare and Nick Watson — American adventurers and veterans who launched an organization that links veterans to the outdoors and the outdoors community;
§  Greg Long — American big-wave surfer who won the 2012/13 Big-Wave World Tour,  despite nearly losing his life in a massive wipeout a few months earlier;
§  Amy and Dave Freeman — American adventurers and educators who completed a three-year, 11,647-mile journey across North America by kayak, canoe, dogsled and foot, connecting with students and teachers along the way;
§  Diana Nyad — Sixty-four-year-old American long-distance swimmer who recently completed a swim between Cuba and the United States, on her fifth attempt;
§  Kevin Pearce — American snowboarder who, after surviving a traumatic brain injury, launched the “Love Your Brain” campaign to encourage the use of helmets for kids;
§  Kilian Jornet Burgada — Spanish “skyrunning” ultrarunner whose new brand of running involves blazing up technical terrain such as glaciers, rock ridges and steep snowfields;
§  Raphael Slawinski and Ian Welsted — Canadian alpinists who were the first to summit Pakistan’s K6 West, one of the last great unclimbed peaks in the world, despite danger and political turmoil in the region;
§  Adam Ondra — Czech rock climber who takes climbing to new frontiers of difficulty;
§  JP Auclair — Canadian skier who is best known for his special style of urban skiing;
§  Sarah Marquis — Swiss hiker who has just completed a three-year trek from Siberia to Australia.

“This is the ninth year that National Geographic has combed the globe to find people who embody the spirit of adventure in diverse ways. The 2014 Adventurers of the Year are truly inspiring and remind us of the importance to pursue our own passions every day,” said Mary Anne Potts, editor of National Geographic Adventure online.

Monday, 25 November 2013

Embracing Adventure And Danger

It was never good to insult children from anything that could possibly have any danger attached yet parents keeping their children under permanent watch has become “what people do.”

People harmed children without them knowing it out of our fear-based culture.  Children need to confront danger; they need to explore; they need adventures at some point in their life.

There was a time when parents knew how important to embrace adventure and danger at some time when let their kids go off into the woods by themselves, with rifles.  And thinking about it now, if that was really so horribly dangerous, half of us wouldn’t be here.

You bet alright, it is scary to watch your children walk into a subway station or out into the woods.  But you have to do it.  Let them go out and face the world, it is healthy for them but remember to calculate the risks, pick your times, pick your spots, watch them from a distance if you must.

Fear is just an impulse; along with it can be based on lies, distortions, or even on nothing at all.  It’s an absurd thing on which to base your children’s lives.

A new German study shows clearly that adventure shapes the individual. As one of the researchers concluded, “Living our lives makes us who we are.”  Your children need to live, and not merely exist inside of a fear-inspired bubble. The study also indicates that exploration and adventure not only affect personality development, but also brain growth.

The real dangers for your children lie in government schools, and even in private schools that function on the same model.

People are pushed, economically, to put their children into public schools.  Make sure that you tell your children how the system is set up to condition them.  Educate them that understanding is far more important than memorizing.  Back them up if the teachers give them grief.

Your children should know, very clearly, that teachers and principals are just average people doing particular jobs.  Some of them are good people, others are bad people, and a title is just a title – it means nothing more.

Educate your children to be brave, let them learn how to fall and rise again.  but remember you want to let them encounter dangers slowly, and you’d never put them in positions to get truly hurt, but you should be nothing like the ├╝ber-parents who surveil their children’s every move, in terror that poor little Johnny will encounter something that hasn’t been sanitized for his protection.

Thursday, 27 June 2013

Black Hawk Adventures – A family of travelers: Life’s always an Adventure

After 14 years, four children, 55 countries, and 250 000km, this Argentinean couple had a dream of travelling around the world by car and still on the road fulfilling their dream.

In 1999, Herman Zapp and his wife Candelaria climbed into their car and drove out of Argentina with only $4 000 in hand.  Using their 1928 Graham Paige they went to Alaska as both wanted to go, so that’s what they did.  “I saw the car two months before we left and fell in love with it so I brought it,” Herman said in Cape Town, where they now live. They arrived in South Africa last year.

In the same year Herman, an electrician, and Candelaria, a secretary, sold their house, packed what they could into the car and left. “Everyone thought we were crazy,” Herman said. “But, really, who is crazy – the one who goes for the dream or the one who doesn’t?”

Even that they are doing what they wanted at first the couple has some fears.  “That first day was the hardest,” said Herman. But the pair was determined. “If you let your fear take hold, your life will pass you by,” he explained.

The couple, Herman Zapp and Candelaria was married for 20 years. “We think we will be around forever but it’s important to rethink life,” said Herman. “My mother died when she was only 46, the only legacy I have taken from her is to ‘do it now’.”

They survive mainly on the kindness of others, having been taken in by more than 2 500 households all around the world. “You have to give a chance to people to show how good they can be.”

They have three children, three boys and a girl and every child were born in different countries. Herman said being on the road was the best education they could get.

“School is important, but it’s not the most intelligent person who survives, it is the person who learns how to adapt the fastest.”  The husband is in no doubt that his children will be better people for experiencing all the different cultures of the places they’ve been to.

“We’ve been to Australia and Canada and have stayed with kids who’ve had rooms full of toys, but we’ve also been to countries like Cambodia where children have made toys from sticks.”

This kind of education, said Herman, is priceless.

“Now they know that everything has value and meaning.” Candelaria said the children were excellent travellers and adapted easily.

The Zapps, are currently living in a flat in Constantia, Cape Town.  They supplement their income by selling their book, Spark Your Dreams and giving motivational talks.  Their next plan as soon as they have enough money, they plan to head to Egypt for their next adventure.

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Diving - Black Hawk News - Adventures Guide

Since 1943, scuba diving has become a famous activity practiced the world over after the invention of the aqualung by Jacques-Yves Cousteau. Diving could be dangerous if you are not qualified to do so but there are now many training programs to meet the requirements as a diver. There is PADI, NAUI and CMAS after, divers can rent equipment, request air fills, and dive without any higher supervision but it is always recommended to dive with a buddy.

If you are planning to go diving here are some great places you can visit:

Vinales, Cuba. Maria la Gorda and Cayo Levisa are Vinales’ great diving site and it is two of the most candid diving spots in the world. The stunning Maria la Gorda’s black corals overflowing with marine life such as barracudas and red snappers is a good choice for a diving spot. While Cayo Levisa is a dreamy mangrove-island on a 3km long coral-reef.

Dahab, Egypt. For divers of all levels Dehab is an easy shore access of a great spot for divers. It has deep water and extreme visibility. You can have the chance to see not only large numbers of reef species but also the occasional pelagic and even the odd shark.

Bali, Indonesia. Warm tropical waters, marine landscaped coral reefs, wreck diving and abundant tropical fish and mammals, these are just few of what Bali can offer divers. Not to mention there are plenty of dive sites all around the compact island and each with crystal waters and the opportunity to dive with dolphins. The three of the top spots are Menjangan Island, Tulamben and the island of Nusa Penida.

Boracay, Philippines is a Pilipino national marine preserve. It is one of the most famous diving sites in Southeast Asia. This is one of the great beaches in the world which makes it a great choice for a holiday vacation plus it offers a wide range of dive activities. You will also enjoy the numerous good quality resorts, restaurants, bars and nightlife.

Koh Tao, Thailand. If you want a pure relaxation and a getaway from the outside world, then this is definitely the perfect place for you. This place is small Tropical Island covered in jungle, surrounded by many quiet, palm tree covered beaches. You can enjoy snorkeling and scuba diving. You will definitely enjoy the corals and the turtles.

Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia. By the bay of Kota Kinabalu Tunku Abdul Rahman National Park is a marine park made up of a number of islands. The waters here offer divers a first glimpse of Borneo’s profuse array of corals and underwater creatures. Its calm water is ideal for macro and close up photography, with a World War II Japanese freighter wreck nearby for the adventurous.

Sunday, 16 June 2013

Black Hawk Mines Adventure - Adding outdoor adventure to the family mix

NOW summer’s finally here, it’s time to take your whole brood outdoors and create some lasting memories.
Lisa Salmon is inspired by two adventure experts who have written The Family Guide to the Great Outdoors
THE electronic age, combined with an increasing tendency to wrap children in cotton wool, means kids are staying inside more than ever.
But while hours spent playing on a computer or watching TV may keep kids entertained, there’s one thing for sure: electronic entertainment is not what childhood memories are made of.
Memories come from doing things like climbing trees, making dens, sitting round a campfire and generally having fun outdoors; say Charlie and Caroline Gladstone, who have written The Family Guide to the Great Outdoors to encourage more families to get out and about together.
The married couple has picked up a wealth of knowledge about the great outdoors since they abandoned the London rat race when their first child was born more than 20 years ago, and moved to a farm in Kincardineshire.
They now have six children, five dogs and six horses, and their children have been brought up to love the outdoor life.
They’ve learned all manner of outdoor skills that Charlie and Caroline share in the book, from building rafts and treehouses, to starting a campfire and cooking on it, and even skinning a rabbit.
“Danger and fun have evaporated from normal life, but we brought our children up in the middle of nowhere in a very free way,” says Charlie.
“They were allowed to go off and play in rivers and climb trees, which is how I was brought up.
“We think that’s had a profound effect on their confidence and their sense of who they are.”
As well as information about outdoor living, the book includes advice on making weapons. Charlie’s great-great grandfather was the famous Victorian Prime Minister William Gladstone, who had a collection of hundreds of axes, which Charlie still treasures.
He gives swinging and chopping advice in the book, after reminding readers never to forget how dangerous the tools are.
He also explains how to make weapons including a potato cannon, bow and arrow, dart launcher and catapult, and says: “One of the theories we have is that if boys particularly were allowed to chop with axes, throw things, make weapons and light fires a bit more often, there’d be very little fighting in the street.
“Boys are naturally aggressive, and the wrong outlet for that is computer games or TV. If kids get out and run round, climb something and get really dirty, they’ll come in and be sweetness and light.”
But Charlie, 49, stresses that just because his children – who are aged between 13 and 23 – have been brought up spending a lot of time outdoors, it doesn’t mean they don’t have TVs, iPads and computers.
“Of course they do. We haven’t brought them up in a way that says outdoor fun is all they’re allowed.
“But in a world full of ‘stuff’ and purchases, it’s nice to strip all that back and go for a sense of purity.” He says their outdoor fun is easily achievable partly because of where they live. But we’re not suggesting that children need to grow up in such a remote place – anybody can climb a tree, go for a long walk, swim in a river or cook on a campfire.”
Many parents may appreciate the fun side of the outdoor life, but worry about the safety aspects. However, Charlie stresses that as a child he did “unbelievably reckless” things, such as jumping into a river in flood, with a rope tied to his waist at one end and to a tree at the other.
“It was fine,” he insists, “and it removes an element of fear.
“You can survive unbelievable things in life. Allowing your children to walk to school on their own for the first time in a city is much more risky than climbing a tree.
“You just have to apply common sense, and learn your limitations.”
And while he acknowledges modern health and safety rules can have their place, he says, sometimes such rules can be “a nightmare”, which aren’t constructive or helpful.
“Stopping children from doing some of these things doesn’t improve their life,” he insists.
As well as explaining how to master outdoor skills, the guide suggests outdoor activities for families such as building rafts, dams, dens and treehouses, and making rope swings, smoke signals and even rosehip itching powder.
“You’d think kids would tire of outdoor games by the time they’re about ten,” says Charlie, “but if you add some real challenge and danger, they’ll enjoy them throughout their life.

“You need to be quite bossy with kids though and tell them, ‘We’re going to do it, tough’.”
He adds: “The best fun you can have in the world is sitting round a campfire with your kids. Given the opportunity, anyone can do these things – they’re completely free, and it terrifies me that more people don’t do them.”

• The Family Guide to the Great Outdoors by Charlie and Caroline Gladstone is published by Square Peg, priced £12.99

Thursday, 9 May 2013

After slow start ski resorts nationwide bounces back - Black Hawk Adventures

According to a report from the National Ski Industry Association, ski areas across the nation saw strong business during the 2012-13 seasons.

Although the rise in the Rocky Mountain region is just about 1.9 percent, Skier visits rose 11 percent in the United States.

In southwest Colorado the season started slowly, but picked up after the holidays.

"Despite the slow start to the season, overall Durango Mountain Resort was about on par with last season," said Kim Oyler, spokeswoman for the southwest Colorado resort.

"Thanks to help from Mother Nature and our mountain operations crew, Durango Mountain Resort was able to extend the season one additional weekend and closed on April 7," she said.

U.S. resorts experienced slow starts be subsequent to a strong snowfall in mid-December.

Comparing to December last year snowfall for December this year nearly tripled.  And compared to 2012, snowfall was weaker in January, strong in February and about even in March,.

"It started real late," said Richard Bodiford, co-owner of End Industries, an Aztec shop that rents ski equipment. "We missed a lot of Christmas break business, but the middle picked up all right."

The Four Corners was blanketed with snow soon after Purgatory at Durango Mountain Resort closed on April 7, the final insult indicates.

"We got some in early March and after the season closed it's been snowing left and right all over Colorado," Bodiford said.

The winter was the eighth-best for the Rocky Mountain region in the past 34 years, the report said. The association did not release data for individual resorts.

The national survey of resorts spotted other trends:

Snowboarding was down for the third straight winter. In 2012-13, snowboarders made up 29.6 percent of total visits.

Season pass sales dropped as more skiers bought daily tickets. Average season pass sales fell 4.3 percent.

Ticket prices rose. The average adult weekend ticket cost $86.17, up 4.3 percent.
Snow sports remain popular, but resorts face a variety of challenges, the report said.

"The popularity of skiing and snowboarding remains high, but weather conditions, economic headwinds, competition from other leisure activities, and other factors are contributing to the challenges ski areas face," the report said.

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Ski Safety Tips for Beginners - Black Hawk News - Adventures Guide

One of the most popular and maybe the most needed safety gear is helmet but one of the best skiing safety tips is really a matter of personal choice - to wear, or not to wear.  Although it isn’t really mandated, it is encouraged to use helmet.

Unquestionably skiers should be just as cautious if you think about those who usually wear protective headgear, namely football and baseball players, construction workers, horseback riders, rock climbers, bicyclers, auto racers, and motorcycle riders.  The most important safety gear for skiers is helmet and as well as the following.

You will definitely enjoy it more and will have much more fun on the slopes if you're in good shape. Exercise in advance and work your way up to skiing by exercising constantly year-round.

Use proper ski equipment and don't just borrow equipment. Rent from a ski shop or the ski resort and make sure that the shop is legit.  When purchasing equipment, be certain your ski boots are fitted properly as it should be. In any case, confirm your bindings are properly adjusted.

Get ready for the weather.  Be dressed in layers of clothes and put on a helmet liner, a hat, or a headband.  Also put on gloves or mittens.  Always carry an extra pair lest the first pair gets wet.

Acquire proper instruction. Either individual or group Sign up for ski lessons. Experienced skiers still polish up their skills with a lesson every now and then.

Ski goggles are also important.  Put on ski goggles that perfectly fit around your helmet. There are goggles for those who wear eyeglasses, buy goggles that fit comfortably over your eyeglasses or you may also consider prescription goggles but it would me a bit costly.

If you're exhausted, take a break and rest for a short time in the lodge.  As you're resting, ensure you eat and drink enough.  Although done in ice, skiing burns a lot of energy! At what time it's the end of the day, there's no need to attempt and obtain in a final run, or two, if you are tired.  It's okay and in fact better to stop as you're ahead and spare your energy for next time.

Ski with a friend or with a group; it's at all times safer to ski with a friend so he can watch out for you and you watch out for him too.  Appoint a meeting area if in some point you lost each other and walkie-talkies will come handy so you could stay in touch.

Respect your limits. Do not ski trails that are on top of your skill level.  Do not go off-trail.  At the same time, maintain to be in control of your skis and the trail you are skiing should be the center of your attention. Accidents happen more often when you lost guard.
Obey the rules.  Comply with posted trail closure and other warning signs.  Remember that there are skiers who are in front of you, and below you, on the trail have the right-of-way.