Eagle Scout

For expedition kayaker STEVE FISHER, 32, exploring for virgin whitewater can be as difficult as running it. Luckily, he found a shortcut.

Mark Anders

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OUTSIDE: A paraglider?

FISHER: For years we’ve driven in circles looking for waterfalls we know are on the map. We’d bushwhack for hours. Now I just use a powered para­glider. It’s a massive time saver.

Have you used it on any expeditions yet?

I just had it in Iceland. Instead of hiking up a mountain to go look at a water­fall, I’d just fly up, and within ten minutes I’d be back with the word. I can have it off the vehicle and flying in 15 minutes.

What’s it called?

The Revolution Flat Top 200 [$10,000; rpm­]. It’s got a 26-horsepower motor and a carbon-fiber propeller, and it’s capable of climbing to an altitude of about 18,000 feet. On one tank, I can do a 50-mile flight at up to 25 miles per hour. You can take off and land anywhere.

What’s been your team’s reaction?

They call it the ultimate piece of rednecking—strapping a lawn mower to your back, running as fast as you can, and taking off. Sounds a little sketchy. Well, yeah—you’re flying.