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The Great Outdoors

Sivi Sekula and Cindy Scarr

Summer. We bike, hike, and run. But there are far more exciting ways to experience nature

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

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W

hitewater rafting


Don’t like swimming but still want to have fun in the water? Try whitewater rafting. Mankind has been boating down rivers for centuries, but it wasn’t until the mid-20th century that rafting became a sport. In the 1950s, John D. Rockefeller Jr. opened a luxury hotel in Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming, which offered its guests the opportunity to go rafting down the Snake River. By the time the 1970s rolled around, dozens of commercial whitewater rafting companies had opened next to rivers across the US. Whitewater rafting was finally deemed an official sport in 1972, when it became part of the Olympic Games in Munich. 


Why is it called whitewater rafting? Well, what makes the sport so much fun is that you get to paddle through rapids — rough waters that froth and make the water look white. Rapids are divided into six classes according to how fast the current is and how high the waves. Class 1, suitable even for five-year-old kids, is very relaxing because the current is slow and there’s no whitewater to be seen, while Class 6 is downright dangerous. 

A taster rafting session lasts about an hour, but most rafting companies offer trips that are two, three, or even seven days long. The multiday trips combine rafting and camping for the ultimate nature experience.

ATVing

What sport combines the thrill of a motorcycle with a lot of mud? ATVing, of course! Did you know that ATVs began as amphibious vehicles (vehicles that can drive on water and dry land)? First produced in the 1960s, they were originally designed to float and go into small bodies of water like ponds, swamps, and streams. By the 1970s, ATVs began to look more like the ones in use today, meant to be driven on dirt roads (hence the muddiness).

 

ATVs are super powerful and can easily ride over mud and rocks, which makes ATVing a fun way to explore mountains and forests. But ATVing is nowhere near the same as driving a bike or car. It might look easy to ride, but if you don’t know what you’re doing, the ATV can easily flip over. That’s why the American Academy of Pediatrics says it’s best for kids under the age of 16 not to drive or ride in an ATV.

If you do choose to go ATVing, make sure the guide gives you proper equipment, like a helmet, gloves, and goggles, and if the dirt path will be dusty, a bandana to wear over your nose and mouth.  (Excerpted from Mishpacha Jr., Issue 666)

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