This entire year, the over-arching theme for me has been to conquer fear, take leaps of faith and do things that scare me. So what better way for a person who loves travel to look fear in the eye than to go on an extreme adventure or two?
Ranging from scary but fun, to down right terrifying, some of these I am more than willing to try at least once. Others, I’ll let my readers go alone and report the findings. LOL! Nevertheless, if you’re looking for an adrenaline rush, this is a great list to get started.
1.) Mega Cavern – Louisville, KY
If you think ziplining outdoors is wild, try doing it in a man-made cave! The only attraction of its kind in the WORLD, Mega Cavern is something everyone should experience. Built 100ft. beneath the city, this #1 attraction in Louisville allows adventure seekers to experience six ziplines along 17 miles of underground passage ways. They also offer an aerial ropes course, a one-of-a kind underground bike park and tours that provide information about the cave’s rich history dating back to the 1900’s. Pricing for a zipline experience starts at about $79 per person (depending on the day). Visit www.louisvillemegacavern.com.
2.) Estes Park – Denver Colorado
Talk about taking camping underneath the stars to a totally different level! This unique experience allows visitors to pitch their tent (well, actually it’s called a portaledge) on the side of a cliff hundreds of feet off the ground. *At least you don’t have to worry about being eaten by any wildlife that high in the air!* A guide will train you in climbing basics and you have the option to either spend the night on the side of the cliff or have lunch or dinner there. This is the only adventure of its kind in the country and will certainly make for a memorable experience, (IF you’re brave enough to take on the challenge). Don’t look down! Pricing starts at $425 per person. Visit www.kmaconline.com.
3.) Skydive Chicago – Ottowa, IL
You only live once, right? What better way to get your heart pumping than to experience a 60 second freefall at 13,000 ft.?! You’ll be harnessed to an experienced instructor that will guide you through making your first jump the most memorable. You can even make a weekend out of it and rent one of the cute little cabins by the river offered to jumping guests. Skydive Chicago has the largest fleet of aircraft in the Midwest and offers weekly classes for whatever your comfort level may be. Cabins start at $58 per night and tandem skydiving classes start at $189 per person. Visit www.skydivechicago.com.
4.) McKamey Manor – Huntsville, Alabama and Nashville, Tennessee
Contrary to popular belief, Christmas is NOT the most wonderful time of the year, Halloween is! So why not star in your own horror movie at a haunted attraction?! WARNING: This isn’t your average “boo” haunted house! McKamey Manor is the most controversial and scariest of its kind. An “Extreme Tour” (as it’s called) can last up to 10 hours or more depending on your personal fears AND they are so confident that you won’t make it to the end, that if you do, you can win $1000! Visitors in the past have reported being subjected to simulated waterboarding, force-feeding and even being bound and gagged! But I won’t spoil the experience by telling you everything. Go and see for yourself! This haunted house is free. Just a voluntary donation is recommended. By the way, before coming to McKamey Manor you’ll need a doctors letter, proof of medical insurance and you’ll have to sign a 40-page waiver! I’M NOT JOKING! Visit McKameymanor.com.
5.) Eagles Nest Dive — Weeki Wachee, Fl (Professional divers only)
This isn’t your typical “swim in the deep”. Described as both alluring and risky, this adventure is guaranteed to challenge the most experienced cave divers. Located in the Chassahowitzka Wildlife Management area in west-central Florida, this spot is so dangerous that many locals have called for a ban on giving access to divers. It descends into a system of underwater passageways with maze-like architecture reaching depths of 300ft. It is nicknamed the “Grand Canyon of cave-diving”. A sign at the mouth gives fearless visitors a very clear message: “STOP. PREVENT YOUR DEATH! THERE IS NOTHING IN THIS CAVE WORTH DYING FOR!” *This is in reference to the 10 people who have died here since 1981.* The price to dive here is next to nothing. But you could pay with your life! Visit www.floridacaves.com/eagles.htm
I want everybody to join me in facing their fears this year (if you haven’t already). Whether it’s an adventure on this list, solo travel or something much bigger, what we find on the other side of fear is something even greater. COURAGE.