Adventure Links of the Week

When we’re not outdoors, we get our adventure fix by exploring social media and the web. Here are some of the best adventure links we’ve discovered this week.

Finland’s Ice Swimming Fanatics: Avanto, as Finland’s agonizing practice of ice swimming is known, means cutting a hole in the ice on a frozen lake and hopping in. Some cut tiny plunge pools, others fashion swimming-pool-sized holes for many to use.

Finns swear by this folk tradition, insisting that it lets them survive the dark, brutal winters. Many say it helped them overcome depression, addiction, and bereavement.

As you step into the icy water, time slows, they say. Your body is in shock, and numbness quickly spreads through your limbs. It is debatable if this is a form of water torture, but you feel good afterward. And the longer you stay, the bigger the benefits.

Odd job

Antarctic Fire Captain: Of all the unusual outdoor jobs out there, fire captain in a place covered with snow and ice ranks right up there. But that is what Nicki Schauman does. He is the fire captain in Antarctica. Schauman has worked for two seasons, providing fire support for three U.S. facilities at the South Pole.

So far, there haven’t been any fires, but if one did start, it would spread quickly in that dry and windy place. It is hard to replace anything in Antarctica. They only get cargo and supplies a few times a year.

Nearly everyone on Schauman’s team is also an EMT, paramedic, or aircraft rescue firefighter. They are always needed for something.

Fire captain Nicki Schauman stands by as an aircraft lands at the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station in Antarctica.

Fire captain Nicki Schauman stands by as an aircraft lands at the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station in Antarctica. Photo: Michael Rayne/Antarctic Fire Department


Here’s Why I Don’t Love Your Trail Dog: Brian Metzler loves hitting the trail and running with his two dogs, but he loathes encountering off-leash dogs on these runs. The loose dogs have charged him often and bitten him four times. Some owners shout the cursory, “Don’t worry, my dog won’t bite,” but mostly, they say nothing.

When one aggressive terrier kept running at him and his dog one day, he politely asked its owner to control her dog. He swiftly got told to “f– off.” When he began running again, the terrier followed. Metzler sped up, and so did the terrier. As its owner shouted for the dog to come back, Brian encouraged it to stay, while heading for the muddiest puddles possible.

Durango’s train race

A Candy Bar Fueled Durango’s 52-Year-Old Bike Race: The Iron Horse bike race goes a brutal 75km over two 3,000m passes in the San Juan Mountains. The aim is to beat the train to the top.

Nowadays, around 3,000 cyclists tackle this contest every year, but that is not how it began. In 1971, Tim Mayer bet his brother Jim he could not beat the train on his bike. Jim took up the challenge. He outraced the train and won a candy bar. The brothers teamed up with a third partner a year later, and the annual race began.

The Iron Horse bike race begins in the town of Durango.

The Iron Horse bike race begins in the town of Durango. Photo: Adventure Journal


Yucatan Jungle Hike Could Help Maya Communities: Mexico’s Camino del Maya is a 110km hiking and biking trail that opened in 2020. It took three years to build and was created to help reverse centuries of colonial exploitation in the Yucatan.

In Mexico, jobs, education, and medical care are limited outside of a couple of centers. Local communities created the trail to preserve their Mayan history and culture by helping them survive without leaving their villages for cities.

All the guides are local, and 80% of the profits go back into the community.

Chinese-American Aviatrix Overcame Racism to Fly During WWII: On Oct. 24, 1932, Hazel Ying Lee became the first Chinese-American woman to earn a pilot’s license in the U.S.

Just months earlier, she took lessons at the Chinese Flying Club of Portland, which trained Chinese-American men to return to China to help defend their country from Japan. The boys treated Lee like their little sister. She idolized them and wanted to be one of them.

When she was in the sky, it did not matter that her heritage was Chinese or that she was a woman. No one could see her, and she could be completely herself. Eventually, she became one of just two Chinese-Americans who flew as pilots in WWII.

Lee stands next to the Student Prince in 1932.

Lee stands next to her plane in 1932. Photo: Wikimedia Commons


Confronting a different world

A Cranky Old Man Returns to Climbing: When Dave Pagel ended up on crutches, everyone assumed he’d been in a climbing accident. He very quietly told them he acquired the injury gardening. Slamming his foot repeatedly into a shovel had ruptured the sinew in his ankle.

He went from a sore ankle to crutches, to a limp, to a walking stick to a wheelchair. Climbing disappeared from his life. When a surgeon finally figured out what had happened and fixed his ankle, he couldn’t imagine heading back into the mountains. He was used to his new sedentary life.

Then his dad dropped dead, and that scared him. He began working out and eventually picked up a climbing magazine. The world of climbing had evolved more than he ever expected. The big question was, did he want to jump back into the new game?

Congrats, You’re Dating a Surfer!: Dating a surfer isn’t for everyone, but this writer thinks those who do are some of the luckiest out there. He’s even made a list of why these partners are so fortunate to date individuals like himself.

First, a surfer’s reliability. You can always count on them to be there, unless, of course, the waves happen to be particularly good that day. Then there’s their cleanliness. Your car and house will absolutely not be covered in surf wax, zinc, and endless trails of sand.

Last is their spontaneity. They are always up for random weekend activities, as long as they involve the ocean and their surfboard. But you go have fun at the farmers’ market. They’ll see you when you get home, at exactly the time they said they’ll be back.

Rebecca McPhee

Rebecca McPhee is a freelance writer for ExplorersWeb.

Rebecca has been writing about open water sports, adventure travel, and marine science for three years. Prior to that, Rebecca worked as an Editorial Assistant at Taylor and Francis, and a Wildlife Officer for ORCA.

Based in the UK Rebecca is a science teacher and volunteers for a number of marine charities. She enjoys open water swimming, hiking, diving, and traveling.