You've styled your child with an enviable lineup of outdoor camps, slotted in some action-packed adventure festivals for the whole family. Now Mama (or Papa) needs a little solo play time. Fortunately it doesn't take much to recharge. All you need for DIY adventure is 36 hours and a multisport destination a couple hours' drive from home. Or let someone else do the planning and sign on with one of summer's best new guided retreats guaranteed to recapture the sweet freedom you took for granted before the kids came along. Sign up now for mid- to late-summer adventures, and you'll still have the time—and a fresh surge of energy—to pull off that family camping trip and set your little ones loose on spontaneous backyard adventures before school's back in session.
July 17-20; Aspen, Colorado
If you shy away from Strava, hate wearing a heart-rate-monitor, and just want to run well and feel great doing it, then this four-day holistic trail running retreat in the wilderness outside of Aspen is for you. Blending mindfulness practice, yoga for runners, and plant-based nutrition, the camp—led by running and health coach Elinor Fish—is a stellar primer on how to run mindfully for maximum health, for life. With daily guided trail runs ranging from four to 12 miles (no prior trail experience is necessary), cooking demos on how to fuel and recover with whole foods, yoga classes, and gait assessment, you'll come away with a new vision for how running smarter can increase your energy and reduce your stress, and feel good every time. $697; two-day mini retreat, $397.
September 15-20; Cataract Canyon, Utah
Wilderness travel is transformative, but sometimes the epiphanies you have in the backcountry lose their focus as soon you get home. This six-day raft trip through Cataract Canyon, in Canyonlands National Park, is intended to be a modern-day rite of passage to help renew your sense of purpose, empower you to action in the world, release you from stagnation and make lasting change—for both the planet and also yourself.
"Traditional wilderness rites of passage were designed to knit together generations and to prepare for transitions in life," explains Stacy Peterson, a yoga instructor and hypnotherapist, who is co-leading the trip with an eco-psychologist and a climate justice activist. "Because we don't have these opportunities to mark transitions in our lives, we no longer take the time to slow down, deeply reflect, and reset the course of where we want to go."
The expedition through one of West's most stunning, and remote—and imperiled—river corridors incorporates daily yoga and meditation practice, cleansing food, as well as that most rare and restorative perk of all: silence. Out of range from cell phones and schedules, you'll hike into the iconic sandstone spires of the Doll House, in the remote Maze district of the park, and splash down Cataract's Class IV rapids, pulling out of your own busy life and immersing yourself deep into your own true nature. $1199.
August 22-26; Rio Chama, New Mexico
Ever wish you could take better photographs while in the backcountry? This five-day raft and photo expedition on the Rio Chama in northern New Mexico offers an intensive dose of both photography instruction and wilderness immersion. Led by The Santa Fe Photographic Workshops—widely regarded as the best in the country, now in its 25th year—the trip launches with a three-day, 33-mile float down the Wild & Scenic Rio Chama, the old stomping grounds of Georgia O'Keefe, Ansel Adams, and Elliot Porter. Under the tutelage of veteran lensman Tony Bonanno (and boatmen from New Mexico River Expeditions) you'll spend your days floating the Class II-III rapids, hiking to hot springs and slot canyons, and photographing the thousand-foot sandstone walls, the meandering high desert river, and the stately ponderosa that line the banks. Back at the Workshop's lab in Santa Fe for the final two days, learn the ins and outs of digital processing and printing on Adobe. You'll be all but guaranteed to come home with stellar expedition photos and the know-how to capture your next trip with equal aplomb. $995.
August 1-3; Hammondsport, New York
Former pro skier and Zen therapist Kristen Ulmer has been running Ski to Live camps each winter in Alta, Utah, and around the West for years. What she's discovered in her experience with mindset coaching is that "whether we realize it or not, fear runs everybody's life, even if you don't feel afraid." This three-day retreat at Red-Tail Overlook B+B in the Finger Lakes region is designed to help you change your relationship with fear, to stop treating it like a hindrance and turn it into an ally to create momentum and growth in your life—whether it's in sports, parenting, business, or creativity. Instead of making you walk over hot coals or dangle from high ropes courses ("we don't do that," assures Ulmer), she'll help clients shift into the next level of consciousness while hiking the rolling, wooded trails along Keuka Lake, facilitating creative role playing, and sharing ancient wisdom stories. If it sounds a little out there, the former champion athlete is one of the most respected sports mindset coaches in the field—she's the real deal. Says Ulmer, "If you turn fear into an asset, it will set you free." From $625; two-day fear camp in Salt Lake City, July 19-20, $190.
Brad Kloha refused to quit. His body told him to. His mind did too. And more than a few loved ones face-palmed when they’d see him hobbling around after races, knees wrapped in ice.
But he kept going. Through ice, fire, electricity and barbed wire; through wear, tear, sprains and strains; Kloha kept going and going and going. And on June 14, at the Run to Remember 5K Run/Walk in his hometown of Mount Pleasant, Michigan, the 28-year-old successfully completed 100 races in 52 weeks. Some on the streets, but mostly in mud.
Kloha isn’t a professional runner. He works full time at his alma mater, Central Michigan University. But after all the helplessness he and his family felt during his grandmother’s 13-year battle with Alzheimer’s, he was inspired to do something. Something big, spectacular, symbolic. And so began “Run to Remember,” a wildly ambitious mission to raise awareness and money for the Alzheimer’s Association.
“He’s the best example of someone who races for all the right reasons,” says Spartan World Champion Amelia Boone. “He never complains; he just keeps going.”
OUTSIDE: What did your family think about your plan?
KLOHA: They were all pretty moved right from the start. My mom, my sister, and my aunt all cried. My dad smiled his approving smile. I’ve been extremely lucky that way; even this past year when things got tough, my entire family has been there all along. It’s not been just about me, it’s been a labor of love for all of us.
Did they express any concerns about how demanding your mission was?
Clearly, I had never attempted anything even close to this before, so there were a lot of unknowns about how my body was going to hold up. I wasn’t exactly 100% going into it either; previous injuries and surgeries from some of those surgeries had left me weaker in some areas and with some chronic pain that I was used to dealing with, but no one knew how it would work without the chance for any rest. I didn’t really have a good answer because I didn’t know either, all I knew is I didn’t plan to let anything stop me from reaching the finish line of 100th race.
Have they suggested you hang up your laces at some point?
The suggestion was made quite a few times, but they knew I wasn’t going to listen. And even though they suggested it, they still supported me in continuing as long as they knew I wasn’t doing any life-threatening damage.
What’s the most challenging part of this experience?
I think the hardest part of the experience was logistically making every race. Unfortunately there were some race cancellations
What was the toughest race?
There are probably a few that can fall into that category. The Vermont Spartan Beast took me completely off-guard. I had done Beasts before, but the mountains completely did me in. An injury between miles three and four made it that much more difficult. I also put the permanent course of Mud, Guts, and Glory in Oregonia, Ohio, in that category as well. I’ve run their race three times this past year, and they’ve done things with obstacles that I haven’t seen and make just awesome use of their entire terrain.
Physically, what’s been the worst part of it?
The worst part was not having time to recover from injuries. When I tore, strained, or sprained something, I didn’t have the ability to take the necessary time off to allow the injury to heal. Once the first major injury occurred, it sort of became a vicious cycle as other parts of my body tried to compensate, which sometimes compounded some issues.
What’s been the best part of it?
I think the best part has been being at races and having people come up to me and share their personal experiences with Alzheimer’s disease. While my grandma and great-grandma battled their disease, I remember that they became much more introverted and avoided public situations, and that I didn’t feel like anyone else was experiencing what my family was experiencing.
It wasn’t until I started this journey this past year that I learned just how many close friends I have that also have had similar experiences with Alzheimer’s in their family. The opportunity to get to share experiences and to hopefully create a louder voice about the prevalence and impact of the disease has been incredible.