Friday, July 11, 2014





Try on your daredevil hat


February 16. 2013 4:47PM


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While Camelback Resort offers some of the newest, most intriguing forms of mountain-centric adventure, there are plenty of other ways to get not only a rush but prove you still have it – or just got it – in Northeastern Pennsylvania.


Just ask Ronnie Bucari, 51, of Old Forge, who finally had a chance to get behind the wheel of a racecar at the Pocono Raceway.


"You're going 160-some miles an hour, which of course you don't ever get a chance to do legally, and it's just such a good time," he said. "The speed, how the cars handle going through the turns. Pocono is a hard track to race, and to watch it on TV you just don't realize that what these guys do is amazing. They do it for four hours. I did it for eight or nine laps, and I was sore the next day. The adrenaline gets you so pumped up."


The Pocono Raceway StockCar racing experience in Blakeslee gives race fans a chance to pilot an actual race car as well as just go along for the ride if they don't wish to get behind the wheel.


For those who don't want to be grounded, plenty of up-in-the-air options beckon. Instead of getting behind the wheel of a car, adventure-seekers can control a plane, after taking flying lessons with Valley Aviation.


"It's a totally different feeling than being behind the wheel of a car, which everyone is accustomed to," Rob Semyon, airport director of operations, said. "You're limited to what you can see in a car, but when you're in the air you can see for miles. Everything is wide open."


Valley Aviation gives lessons daily, and an intro course costs $100. This includes a half hour of ground work, when wannabe flyers learn the controls, then half an hour of actually getting and controlling the plane in the air. Semyon said the best part about taking these lessons is that they can be done at the flyer's pace, taken whenever he or she likes. Each lesson after the introductory costs about $150.


Sky diving is another high-altitude option and can be done at Above the Poconos Skydivers in Hazleton. You'll be in good hands with this organization, which has been around since 1961, making it the oldest continuously running, same-management, United States Parachute Association member skydiving center in the world. The center is run by Don Kellner, who holds the Guinness World Record for the most sport parachute jumps.


Then there are the more earthbound thrills, which, nonetheless, require some guts.


Take rock climbing. The Wilkes-Barre Climbing Gym on Main Street and Gotcha! Indoor Paintball, also on Main Street in Wilkes-Barre, are two places to test your scaling skills indoors.


Those seeking a more natural experience might want to try what's called bouldering in the great outdoors.


The Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, on the Pennsylvania-New Jersey border, offers a seemingly endless list of courses, many with interesting names. Visit www.rockclimbing.com for details.


True to its name, Gotcha! also is a hot spot for paintball, of course, which may sound akin to a day at the beach.


Until you've tried.


Let's just say those who choose not to cover up here had better like the colors black and blue.


And, finally, for those looking for perhaps the most of-the-moment outdoor adventuring, there's slacklining, a twist on tightrope-walking that's all about agility and balance.


Slacklining involves balancing on a narrow but flexible piece of webbing usually anchored between trees. It originated in the climbing world but has evolved into a backyard activity and competitive sport as well.


It may have started out as somewhat extreme and obscure, but it's become more well-known since it showed up in Madonna's Super Bowl Halftime Show.


This is an activity that need not be done in an official setting, and the curious can buy their own equipment. Visit www.slackline.com for more information.


CHECK THESE OUT

• Above the Poconos Skydivers, 200 Old Airport Road, Hazleton. 788-2476. www.paskydive.com. First tandem skydiving lesson and jump $224.


• Valley Aviation Flying Lessons, 2001 Wyoming Ave., Forty Fort. 288-3257. Introductory one-hour lesson is $100. Each lesson thereafter is in the range of $150.


• Pocono Raceway StockCar Racing Experience, Blakeslee. 877-786-2522. www.877stockcar.com. Six- and three-lap ride-alongs available starting at $139. Eight-lap drives available starting at $499.


• Wilkes-Barre Climbing Gym, 102 S. Main St., Wilkes-Barre. 824-7633. www.wbcg.net. Three climbs for $25, $13 day pass, among several other rates.


• Gotcha Indoor Paintball, 257 S. Main St., Wilkes-Barre. 208-9001. www.gotchaindoorpaintball.com. Open play rates: Friday, $15 Admission includes one pod of balls, $25 admission includes one bag of balls, and $45 admission includes two bags of balls. Saturday, free admission and $10 pods of balls. Sunday, $25 admission and bring your own paint or $15 admission plus paintballs.





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