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Rock Climbing, Waterfalls Exploring, Spelunking and More!

There are many great ways to exercise, but the following is several of my favourites. Some of these you can even do as family activities, but others are dangerous and children should not be doing them at all. Use your better judgment. Some of them are also very frugal and won't cost your wallet much.

#1. Rock Climbing

Now I don't mean going to a special "rock climbing gym". I have never done that, although I presume it is still fun to do that indoors with the safety of a harness and first aid kits nearby. You can still do that if you wish, but for myself I do Freehand Rock Climbing - no ropes, no safety harness, if I fall, I fall and hurt myself.

Rock Climbing Tips

Don't climb anything freehand unless you are absolutely confident you can climb it without falling.

Practice on trees. (Or in a rock climbing gym.)

Stick to small climbs first as you build up your strength and skill.

Always be certain of your footing or handholds before you go to the next foothold or handhold.

Remember to plan your route back down. Sometimes getting up is easier than climbing back down.

If you don't think you can do it, maybe it is time to crack out the harness and ropes. Safety first.

#2. Waterfalls Exploring

This is a bit like rock climbing, but the surfaces are going to be slippery. Often you need to climb over wet rocks that are slippery, but it is a lot of fun to work your way around and get behind a waterfalls - or even go swimming below it (warning - if there is signs that say "no swimming", that means this falls is powerful enough to have undertow that can drag you under and kill you. Only swim near the base of a waterfalls that is relatively weak).

The photo on the right is of Hogg's Falls in Ontario.

Waterfalls Exploring Tips

Wear super grippy boots that you don't mind getting wet.

Wear gloves, possibly even grippy fishing gloves.

Wear clothing you don't mind getting wet. Avoid white t-shirts unless you enjoy showing off.

Don't bother trying to climb the sides of the waterfalls. It is too slippery.

#3. Spelunking

Otherwise known as cave exploring or cave diving, spelunking is an amazing activity to get into if you love exploring geological formations, crevices and caverns.

Spelunking Tips

Good quality boots.

Gloves are handy too.

Flashlight or headlamp is very handy.

Try getting guided tours of caves (ones with stairs, safety bars, etc all in place) first so you know what to expect.

Take a spelunking safety course.

#4. Rocky Mountain Biking

Bouncing over rocks while cycling down a hill might not sound like your cup of tea, but to those who love it then it is certainly a possibility.

Start slow, stick to the easy cycling trails and work your way up. Also, buy a better bicycle that has higher quality shocks and sturdier tires. You don't want your equipment to fail if you go over a rock your bicycle simply could not handle.



#5. Natural Parkour / Freerunning

If you are familiar with parkour / freerunning, then you also know this activity normally occurs in an urban environment. But there is no reason why you could not do this in a more natural terrain - using rocks and trees as your obstacle course. All you are really doing is applying the same principles of parkour to a different landscape.



#6. Tree Climbing

And by this, I am referring to climbing trees using ropes, helmet and a harness. You could climb the bottom reaches of the tree freehand, but once you start to go high enough that you might run into a weak limb that could snap underfoot it is time to get the rope and harness out. The views from the top can be pretty spectacular.



#7. Underwater Spelunking

See #3 above, but add in scuba gear. You will need snorkeling lessons, scuba lessons, and eventually underwater spelunking lessons. This activity is both expensive and dangerous. Definitely not for children either.



#8. Extreme Rock Balancing

Normally rock balancing is an activity done by one person who just lifts up a rock and then balances another rock on top of it. Extreme Rock Balancing is done by a team of people using much larger rocks, ropes, chains, pulleys, ladders, the whole shebang.

You will need a group of friends (preferably friends who are also into rock balancing), and you will probably want one person to document the whole project using a video camera.

Muscles will only get you so far with this project. You will also need patience and perseverance. And friendships will be tried and tested if you get into an argument about how to best achieve the finished product.

You will also want your finished product to last. You won't want it falling down the first time a teenager comes along and gives it a push. Thus aim to your rocks large enough - and well balanced - so that it wouldn't fall down even during a small earthquake.

Some people might want to cheat and use a crane or tractor to move the rocks, but if men of old can build Stone Henge and the pyramids of Egypt, certainly a group of adults can balance some rocks without using machinery.

Unlike normal rock balancing you probably will not be balancing multiple rocks together. But one or two should be possible.

Best of all your end results will stay up for a long time and baffle future generations.



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