07.11 Backyard Outdoor Adventures

By Megan Parks

arizona11-copyIt’s the middle of summer. Life has become as predictable as an episode of “The Jersey Shore.” Unfortunately, airplane tickets to destinations more exotic than Arkansas would break the bank. And ever-rising gas prices long ago destroyed dreams of a cross-country road trip.

Don’t give up hope. This is your guide to outdoor adventures right in Worcester’s backyard (two hours or less by car) ~ escape for a day without draining your savings and checking accounts.

Rock climbing has spread like wildfire in popularity. But to rock climb, you must have the proper gear and knowledge of how to safely use that gear. Enter Northeast Mountain Guiding. This outfitter offers rock climbing clinics and trips throughout New England for an adrenaline-packed adventure. Experienced guides provide all necessary climbing gear and tips to help you master that 70-foot rock face. The six-hour rock climbing intro course ranges from $70 – $195 (depending on location). Visit www.northeastmountainguiding.com/ or call 848-468-6735 for more information.

kayak-copyHas work put you in a seemingly inescapable funk? Hurtling from 10,500 feet back toward the ground at 120 mph will put some pep back in your step. Since 1991, the Pepperell, MA-based company Pepperell Skydiving Center has been throwing paying customers from planes; last year, instructors took more than 5,000 first time jumpers into the skies for tandem jumps ($235). Visit www.skyjump.com/website for more information or call 978-433-9222. Reservations are highly recommended.

When temperatures soar, take to the water on a sea kayaking tour. The Gloucester-based company Discovery Adventures offers a range of tour packages from a two-hour sea kayaking intro course ($40) to a four-hour kayak-snorkel combo tour ($75). Visit www.discoadventures.com or call 978-283-3320 for more information. After an active day on the water, head to one of Cape Ann’s many beautiful beaches for some relaxation (read: nap).

Before summer ends, hike the world’s third most climbed mountain, according to the New Hampshire Division of Parks and Recreation. Discover the beauty of the 3,165-foot Mount Monadnock, located outside Jaffrey, NH. Its bald, boulder-strewn summit provides sweeping views of the surrounding highlands. Day use fees are $4 per adult, $2 for kids. Depending on the trail (they range from 4 to 8 miles roundtrip), allow three to six hours for the hike. Call Mondadnock State Park at 603-532-8862 for more information. Note: Pets are not allowed within the park.

So grab some friends, some sunblock, and ~ depending on which adventure you choose! ~ some nerve and get yourself out of the summer slump!