Friday, November 30, 2012
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New Year resolutions don’t have to be a drag. With the Get Out Guide for 2013, all you need is some sturdy shoes, climbing rope, maybe a flashlight and definitely a spirit for adventure. The Tennessee Valley has an abundance of natural resources, from the Tennessee River to the countless wild trails to the caves at Raccoon Mountain. Chattanooga’s treasures are enhanced by the active mindset of so many outdoor-loving Chattanoogans who want to take you along for the ride — the possibilities to get out in 2013 are endless.
Here are our top picks, month by month, for Getting Out in the new year:
JANUARY - Make a splashy entrance
We at Get Out have decided that the best way to approach the new year is to just dive in. “We’ll take a short dive to start off the year right,” says Gary McNabb of Leisure Time Dive on Brainerd Road, who helps take a group of dedicated divers out annually to the Tennessee River for a special New Year’s Day Dive. The dive is open to any certified scuba divers; just contact the business at firstname.lastname@example.org. For those that aren’t yet certified, if you hurry you can work this month to receive certification at Leisure Time in order to join the New Year’s Day Dive. All year-round local scuba divers can explore the depths in and near Chattanooga at sites like Chickamauga Lake, quarries in Athens, Tenn., and, of course, the Tennessee River.
FEBRUARY - Bring a friend
February is a month that celebrates relationships. So whether it’s your significant other, a family member or a close friend, make it a goal to venture out with someone who is special to you. From running Stringer’s Ridge to biking around town to rock climbing at Foster Falls, experience adventure with a person that adds something good to your life.
MARCH - Take it to the trails
Steer those running shoes off the pavement and onto the trails to witness the beginnings of spring. Whether you venture into the wilderness with a small group of running mates or take it up a notch and run the Rock/Creek River Gorge Trail Race March 23, this resolution promises to give even the most experienced runner a fresh take on the sport. Check out wildtrails.org for planned runs and trail information.
APRIL - Give back to Mother Earth
As April is the month of national Earth Day, it’s the perfect time to find a local Earth Day initiative and get involved. Get out and appreciate the nature where you run, bike, climb, swim and hike. Plant a tree, pick up trash in the park or commit to supporting local land conservation projects with your time and effort.
MAY - Jump out of the box
As temperatures heat up, kick start your spirit of adventure by doing something extreme. Chattanooga Skydiving Company, located a mere 20 minutes from Chattanooga, offers jumps for experienced skydivers, training for those wanting a license and tandem skydiving for those that just wish to experience the rush. Not a fan of freefalling? Lookout Mountain Hang Gliding offers an introductory experience that allows gliders to flit over the hills and then glide 2,000 feet above Lookout Valley.
JUNE - Yoga differently
If you are a fan of finding your peace of mind through an hour-long session of yoga, consider stepping off the mat. Take a fresh look at your workout with paddleboard yoga or even aerial yoga. The new setting will add a fresh twist to each position, allowing you to stretch yourself mentally and physically. For those that have never tried the tranquil yet disciplined workout, it’s time to pick up a yoga mat and practice your best warrior pose.
JULY - Experience the wild life
Dedicate your month to acknowledging and enjoying Chattanooga’s wild animals. With the Chattanooga Zoo, Chattanooga Arboretum and Nature Center, and Audubon Acres in close proximity, tapping into your inner animal couldn’t be easier. Get a look at everything from owls to red wolves to chimpanzees. Of course, no one’s stopping you from venturing out on your own to catch sight of a rare bird or roaming woodchuck. Just do us a favor — if you insist on meeting a bobcat, stick to visiting the Arboretum and Nature Center.
AUGUST - Move with the current
With the sweltering heat of August rolling in, the only thing to do is take to the water for some much-needed cooling off. Add thrill to the chilly water by whitewater rafting down the Ocoee River. The ride is sure to send rafters around some hair-raising twists, turns and bumps while offering some of the best views of the Cherokee National Forest. Get a group of friends together, and if you’re up for the intensity, try tackling the Upper Ocoee River Olympic course.
SEPTEMBER - Learn to cave
Take advantage of the caves on Southern Adventist University’s campus by attending one of the school’s Open Cave Days, held the first Saturday of every month. If you’ve never ventured into the Earth’s depths, outdoor adventure students are there to teach you the basics. Thousands of caves are located an hour or less from downtown Chattanooga. Don’t miss out on caving experiences perfect for every age group, from exploring the caverns at Raccoon Mountain to discovering the Lost Sea in Sweetwater, Tenn.
OCTOBER - Push yourself
If you are used to running a mile, train for a 5k. If you are a 5k veteran, look into running a half marathon. Not a runner? Apply the same philosophy to your choice of adventure sport. With the annual RiverRocks festival on the horizon, endless opportunities to go over and above promise to present themselves. You may stretch yourself beyond imagination, but don’t worry — Halloween candy awaits you at the end of the month as a well-deserved reward.
NOVEMBER - Take it to new heights
Learn to climb. The Walnut Street Bridge Climbing Wall and our local climbing gyms are the perfect place to practice your new pastime. Find a more experienced rock climbing friend and explore different spots like Foster Falls or the Tennessee Wall to up the ante. Experienced climbers can challenge themselves by teaching a friend or tackling a higher peak than what they are used to.
DECEMBER - Finish strong
Once December hits, the weather is decidedly cool and the trees bare. Make the weather work for you by gliding over to Ober Ski Resort and Amusement Park in Gatlinburg. Here in Tennessee we may not get any blizzards, but that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy winter sports just as much as our friends up north.