Trying something new can make life more interesting. When I see people try a new adventure, it often becomes a very memorable moment. For some they get over a fear, for others they simply discover something new that they love and will continue doing. From rock and ice climbing, to kayaking or cave exploring, there’s an adventure for everyone.
Living in the Chicago area, I connected with Joel Taylor years ago in search of a place to go ice climbing in the Midwest. Mother Nature just wasn’t providing a good winter and I found out about Nice Ice Ice Climbing online. The next thing I know, while there were no frozen waterfalls at Starved Rock State Park or any of the southern Wisconsin climbing areas, Joel had the side of a silo frozen out in the southern suburbs of Chicago. The 35 ft. climb was vertical and gave us a great training base prior to heading up to the Superior climbs later in the season
Soon after I learned about Joel’s business, Vertical Adventure Guides. And over the years I’ve watched the business grow and add more and more opportunities to adventure seekers. During the winter you can learn ice climbing, either at a home-built ice wall in Chicago land, or when conditions are good, you can learn on a real waterfall out at Starved Rock. In the warmer months, you can learn rock climbing at Devil’s Lake Wisconsin. But not everyone may be into climbing so there are guided kayaking tours, cave tours, zip lining, and more. Want to take a ride in a small 6-seater plane? Joel is a pilot and has a cabin in the Dells area that just happens to be located along a grass air strip. Depending on your passion, Vertical Adventure Guides can line up a day or weekend adventure that appeals to just about anyone, including kids.
The latest growth in Joel’s guiding business was acquiring a campground near the Wisconsin Dells. But this is a campground like no other. Sure, you can pitch your own tent. But here your family can sleep in a Pirate Ship – parents get the Captains quarters of course. Or you may try a tiny cabin, glamping, or maybe the Hillbilly Cabin for a fun twist and change of pace. And there’s even more choices to come in the season ahead.
If you’re not a big planner, that’s fine because Vertical Adventure Guides can work out all the details. Pick your adventure, set up accommodations; the guides can even plan lunch in the middle of a climbing day or day floating down a river. You just have to show up and enjoy some new experiences.
As a fellow adventurer, I help teach climbing on rock and ice. I’ve also help kayakers with their technique, so they have a better experience. One of the greatest pleasures Joel and I both have is seeing someone do something they thought was impossible. It’s great seeing the expression on someone’s face when they get up a climb that scared them or they had doubt about. And I think their takeaway after an adventure weekend is to doubt less and give things a better effort. And that’s a good life lesson.
Dave Everson- author