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January/February 2000
In the magazine
Story Previews
Excerpts From the Print Edition

The Rules of Adventure
Wild Caribbean
My Own Personal Land Speed Record
NGA Guide: Winter Parks From Acadia to Zion
24 Hours in Adventure City: Bend, Oregon

 

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The Rules of Adventure
By Laurence Gonzales

To walk the tightrope between high adventure and heedless risk, you've got to know the rules, whether you're diving, flying, paddling, sailing, climbing, hiking, or skiing. Follow them and you can have it all—an exciting life and a long one.

If you climb high up the reaches of Mount Everest, you will begin coming across bodies as you surpass 21,000 feet [6,405 meters]. The mountain is littered with the remains of climbers who did not return, exposed on a windblown ridge, mummified in the thin, dry air. It's hard enough to bring yourself back; no one has the energy to bring home the dead.

Now imagine that you are embarking on a new sport, a new adventure, be it scuba diving or kayaking, flying or mountaineering, and that you are allowed to see, scattered along the route you will take from innocence to expertise, the dead who have gone before you. Imagine that you can squat down by their ravaged bodies and read the sad tale of how they met their end. What would you learn from that grim schooling?

Of course, we all have the opportunity to learn from the misadventures that have preceded us. Even close calls are wake-up calls, and the accounts of other people's accidents form a bible for those who would read it. But in our haste to reach the highest summit, surf the biggest wave, or run the wildest water, do we take with us any of the teachings of our departed predecessors? Or do we simply join the ranks charging blindly into the unknown, and never know what hit us?

Get the rules of diving, flying, paddling, sailing, climbing, skiing, and hiking in the January/February 2000 issue of NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC ADVENTURE—plus an interview with climbing's ultimate rule breaker, Dean "Look Ma, No Rope!" Potter.
(Subscribe today.)

ADVENTURE Forum
What is your number one rule of adventure?

ADVENTURE Safety Advice
Six Ways to Weather the Mountain
Search-and-rescue tales to show you how not to become the subject of a search-and-rescue tale.

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small arrowGreenTravel.com: Adventure Guide to the Caribbean
This site's entertaining advertorial includes a dive guide, a personalized travel planner, and "Ask the Experts."

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Wild Caribbean
By Tom Clynes

Forget about cruise ships, casinos, and packs of buffet-fed vacationers singing "Buffalo Soldier" at the resort reggae party. We'll show you how to experience the real Caribbean.

In my nightmare, someone—maybe the bartender, maybe the devil—is chasing me through a Caribbean resort, waving a drink in a hollowed-out pineapple. Every exit leads to an air-conditioned casino or "authentic" reggae beach party. Behind me, someone lowers a bar and I'm trapped in a Dantean limbo contest.

If I keep sweating after I wake up, it's because the nightmare is so close to reality in much of the Caribbean. But I found another, unspoiled Caribbean at five destinations—islands and coasts with jungles and hidden waterfalls, steep climbs and swift rivers, big waves and rolling single tracks, reefs and quiet coves, exotic critters and uncontrived cultures. And no limbo contests.

Experience tribal Honduras, multisport Dominican Republic, eco-loco Costa Rica, unspoiled Dominica, and romantic Tobago in the January/February 2000 issue of NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC ADVENTURE.
(Subscribe today.)

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small arrowThe Open Road: Racing the Bonneville Salt Flats
Listen in as radio's Savvy Traveler roughs up the flats.
Oddventures:
My Own Personal Land Speed Record

By Jim Thornton

Yeager. Breedlove. Jeff Gordon. And now, ADVENTURE's own "natural-born coward" joins the ranks of the ultra-speedy at the Bonneville Salt Flats.

"This '71 Mustang mortally hauls ass, Jim," says youthful septuagenarian Frank "Shade" Danielsen, who repoed the [U.S.] $850 quasi-wreck years ago and has since poured more than $15,000 worth of salt-racing technology into it. The upgrades include a parachute, forged pistons, a roll cage, a non-slosh fuel cell filled with 110-octane leaded racing gas, a 60-pound [27-kilogram] mercury-and-ball-bearing antiskid device in the trunk, aerodynamic one-inch roof rails and rear spoiler, and a 464-cubic-inch [1,179-cubic-centimeter] V-8 engine pilfered from an ancient Lincoln Continental. The huge engine has been "shaved down and shoehorned in" to fit under the Mustang's hood—just one of the many "poor boy" tricks that Shade has used to extract every last iota of speed out of his gas-powered, production-class vehicle. It may not be able to beat megabuck blown lakesters, but it's a model of mom-and-pop garage ingenuity that helps make Bonneville Speed Week the most popular amateur motor sport event in the world.

"Put both feet on the floor," counsels Shade, who stands shirtless in the blinding light and gestures with massive arms that resemble ham hocks with keratosis. "Then just let the good times roll."

I wince as he says roll, the word conjuring images of the car somersaulting, in flames, across the desert salt bed. As a safeguard against premature demise, I've been pinned like one of Nabokov's butterflies into the driver's bucket by a five-point seat-belt harness, which includes a crotch belt that could easily be named after the famous Christmas ballet by Tchaikovsky.

Fasten your seatbelts, it's going to be a bumpy ride—and it's only in the January/February 2000 issue of NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC ADVENTURE.
(Subscribe today.)

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NGA Guide
Winter Parks
From Acadia to Zion

By Stephen Jermanok

Skiing in the Grand Canyon and making snow angels in Yosemite are just two of the surprising thrills of a winter visit to one of the United States' national parks, from Acadia to Zion.

Visit the Grand Canyon or Yosemite during the spring, summer, or fall, when a good 90 percent of the year's visitors arrive, and "forever wild" can seem more like "forever snarled." Yet come winter, these same national parks and other American favorites are virtually deserted, restored to what seems like their original, pre-touristed state. Cold weather sharpens this sense of natural enchantment: Picture a layer of frost on the canyon's North Rim, icicles hanging from Yosemite's granite grandeur, or the novel sight of fresh snow alongside the briny Atlantic at Acadia. All you need are warm duds and a pair of waterproof hiking boots, snowshoes, or cross-country skis, and then you can experience the country's most scenic spots the way Muir and Teddy Roosevelt did—alone in their own natural playgrounds.

ADVENTURE reveals the seven best U.S. national parks for winter in the January/February 2000 issue.
(Subscribe today.)

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Survey Bend's biggest attraction.

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Gateway: Bend, Oregon
24 Hours in Adventure City

By John Brant

Is Bend, Oregon—with its world-class skiing, rock climbing, biking, hiking, and rafting—the United States' number one outdoor adventure town? We engineered a 24-hour multisport extravaganza to find out.

By local standards, my day was unambitious. After all, I didn't ski Mount Bachelor's double-black-diamond runs, nail one of Smith Rock's renowned climbing routes, or bike the 21-mile [34-kilometer] trail that rims Newberry Caldera. All I did was hike the high country in the morning, raft Class IV rapids in the afternoon, fly-fish for rainbow trout at dusk, and cap the day with a pint of prizewinning local pilsner.

You don't have to be hyperactive, or even especially enterprising, to log such a day in Bend, Oregon, which has quietly but confidently ascended to the pantheon of great American outdoor towns. While some adventure centers are associated with a specific sport (Telluride, Colorado, for skiing; Moab, Utah, for mountain biking), Bend's hallmark is recreational versatility, thanks to its great location. With the Deschutes River roiling into white water just south of town, high desert to the east, and central Oregon's Cascades to the west, this boomtown of 49,000 seems designed for diversity. An abundance of outdoor recreation produces in some visitors a kind of indiscriminate outdoor lust. Glorying in Bend's sunshine, tasting the sage-and-manzanita-scented air, they want to hike, ski, climb, fish, pedal, and paddle everything at once—and they can, just about.

Get the straight story—and an Adventure Guide—on Bend in the January/February 2000 issue.
(Subscribe today.)

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