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Adventures in Washington


April 2014

Katie Vincent


Depending on your adrenaline threshold, a grand adventure could be anything from opening the front door to plummeting through the air at 115 miles per hour. But let’s face it: We all need at least a taste of adventure here and there to balance out the cubicle blahs and to remind us how it feels to be alive. Here are seven wild, hair-raising and outright quirky adventures that will push you beyond all shreds of comfort. To adventure!

surf … with kites

Kites aren’t just for children. Learn to harness the free energy of the wind to propel your board through choppy water, do flips and achieve ultimate “cool” status. Group or private lessons are available for learning the groundwork, then riders graduate to individual sessions for kiting and advanced technique. All equipment is included and Urban Surf’s full Jet Skis ensure that someone can rescue your wet, sorry self at any moment.



jump out of a plane

Skydiving is a serious way to put all those mundane fears into perspective. First-timers can jump tandem, while seasoned or extra-courageous leapers can go solo (requires full day of training). Fortunately, regardless of your choice, everyone gets to wear the cool blue onesie. Add extra altitude for $25 or video footage for $90. 



conquer a mountain

Mount Rainier stands at 14,410 feet, taunting us foothill-dwellers every day. Alpine Ascents is ready to help you put the mountain in its place with their popular three-day Muir climb. One instructor to every two climbers means a safe climb up the glaciers through Camp Muir, plus an additional high camp 1,000 feet closer to the summit—resulting in a faster ascent. Plus, they’ll shuttle you all the way down from Seattle. 



stalk the aurora borealis

For a shoestring expedition, follow the science enthusiasts at Soft Serve News—a group determined to share the sun’s electromagnetic beauty with all of us laypeople in “fringe states” (below Alaska and Canada). Real-time data courtesy of NOAA, NASA and U.S. armed forces allows you to easily check the status of the northern lights in real time from Facebook or Twitter. Go forth and find the light! 



be a fighter pilot for a day

Put on your aviators and channel your inner “Maverick” for a day full of G-forces. You’ll head to Boeing Field for a half-day at fighter pilot school — taught by military professionals — before maneuvering a SIAI Marchetti SF260 through one tactical mission and five or six dogfights. No pilot license necessary; rookie pilots only need a sturdy stomach to qualify. 



kayak among killer whales

Spend two days paddling through the San Juan Islands during the summer to spot marine fauna like harbor seals, porpoises, eagles and orcas from an intimate, thrilling perspective. Overnight camping includes gourmet meals like smoked salmon pesto linguine and an epic (optional) sunset paddle featuring the water’s spectacular bioluminescent bacteria. 



flip off a building, or something

Stop by Parkour Visions’ Bellevue satellite at Crossfit Amped to learn the French art of maneuvering acrobatically around urban objects. Start with a free beginner class to learn fundamental movements, safety, and landing techniques before taking your skills to the next level at PV’s main gym in Queen Anne. Soon you will find sidewalks obsolete. Parkour! $30-



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