10 Extreme Backcountry Experiences
Have you ever thought of doing something a little more extreme while outdoors? Hiking and mountaineering can be a thrill in itself, but sometimes there’s excitement in getting a bit more of an adrenaline-rush on your backpacking trip. Next time you plan a backcountry trek, consider trying one of these extreme activities to take it all to a whole new level:
Wingsuits are all the rage right now, and for a very good reason. How would you like to fly above those canyons instead of hiking them? With a wingsuit, you can. This uncanny item zips up on you to give you aerodynamics like an airplane, allowing you to fly (or more like glide) through the sky, until you deploy your parachute. Of course, becoming a flying squirrel takes a lot of experience, usually beginning with skydiving. When you’re ready, give this extreme sport a try at least once in your life.
If you’re not all that into flying and prefer just jumping and landing (we wouldn’t blame you), then consider BASE-jumping; an extreme sport that’s definitely looked down upon by authority figures who are supposed to be responsible for your safety. BASE actually stands for Building, Antenna, Span, and Earth, which needless to say are all the potential things you can jump off of. The sport started when a man named Carl Boenish began filming these kind of jumps in the 1970’s, the first being off of El Capitan; a great destination to try it out.
Most would consider ziplining to be a tad safer than jumping off of mountains. Ziplining is an excellent way to not only have an awesome time, but to see wherever you’re hiking from above. There’s plenty of outdoor adventure companies that will hook you up with a opportunities to get deep into the canyons, mountains or jungles where you’ll be, providing you with all the equipment necessary for a safe experience.
Rock climbing is an awesome way to really get to do your outdoor environment. Though, this extreme sport is quite different from what you may be used to at a local rock climbing gym near your home. It takes a lot of skill, practice, commitment, strength, and appropriate gear. There are some great places to rock climb in the US, and as you get better, you’ll want to climb them all.
If you don’t mind some water breaking your fall instead of a parachute, then perhaps cliff jumping is the activity for you. Don’t underestimate this. Cliff jumping presents similar risks as other extreme sports and will give you an adrenaline rush like any other. There are some magnificent places to take part in cliff jumping in the U.S, especially nearby gorgeous waterfalls. It’s truly a breathtaking experience. That is of course if you’re not too scared to try!
There’s many terrifying suspension bridges located throughout North America, and it takes a brave soul just to be able to walk across one of these. However, those looking to do something a bit more extreme can opt to bungee jump off these remarkable structures. Sure, plummeting towards the ground with nothing more than a rope and a harness attached to you can be quite scary, but it will make a trip to the outdoors that much more memorable.
Learning how to scuba dive typically costs a good amount of money in an environment that doesn’t quite give you the independence that many backpackers search for while being outdoors. That being said, you can learn to take up free-diving, which will take you just as far underwater as scuba diving, without any equipment whatsoever. After doing a hike in somewhere like Puerto Rico or the US Virgin Islands, head to the shores to watch the professionals do it and maybe try it yourself one day.
Alaska is home to the Iditarod Sled Dog Races, but before you join one of the teams, you might want to consider doing a backcountry sled dog tour first. This will not only allow you to see some of the most gorgeous, remote parts of Alaska, but also do something extreme that you really can’t do anywhere else.
After all that time you took to make sure you had the appropriate gear for frigid winter hiking, the last thing you’re probably thinking about is plunging into a frozen lake. Iceman Wim Hof who’s a pro at this extreme sport, certainly did not gain the capacity for this activity over night. While you might not be able to withstand cold like Hof, plunging into a cold lake for a few minutes can actually be quite good for you.
White Water Rafting
Canoeing in a calm lake is one thing, but hitting the white water rapids takes a pleasant day at the water to up a notch. Strap on your life-vest tightly, as this extreme outdoor experience can be dangerous if not handled properly. There’s plenty of national parks that have opportunities for white water rafting, and it’s a fun thing to do with friends and family; if they’re brave enough.
If you’re looking to add something more extreme to your typical backcountry experience, then try one of these activities.