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Adventure Bucket List for 2014

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If you're considering doing a big trip, the time is now.  We only have so much time in our lives to visit the places that have always intrigued us.  And, as each birthday reminds us, time waits for no one.  So why not start to check off all of the places on your hit list, now!  Below we've compiled a bucket list for the avid adventurer.  Let this article inspire you to get going on those adventurous plans!

Niagara Falls at Night

Located along the border of the Canadian province of Ontario and the U.S. state of New York are three separate falls: American Falls, Bridal Veil Falls, and Horseshoe Falls. Separated from Horseshoe Falls by the uninhabited Goat Island, American Falls and Bridal Veil Falls lie on the American side of the border; Luna Island sets Bridal Veil Falls, the smallest of the Niagara waterfalls, apart from American Falls. In terms of size, Horseshoe Falls are by far the largest and where you want to see Niagara Falls at night.

Current boundary lines divide two-thirds of Horseshoe Falls into Canada and one-third into the U.S.A., and you can see almost everything you would want from the American side, though there's certainly nothing wrong with crossing the border. Lights illuminate Niagara Falls every night, but times vary depending on the time of the year. Check the Falls illumination schedule for 2014 before you head out.

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Cliff Diving

The name is about as straightforward as the activity; cliff diving requires jumping off a cliff and into water. Ideal cliff diving locations have a landing area that is free of rocks, and is deep. Nestled in the Texas Hill Country just 35 miles from Austin, Texas, Pace Bend Park in Spicewood presents the perfect opportunity for first-time cliff-divers. Loft, limestone cliffs and rocky coves in the west side provide an ideal setting for cliff diving, and the scenic sunset vistas of Lake Travis put an exclamation point on the experience.

The Hill Country's barbecue is world famous, so take full advantage of their great eats while you're in Texas.

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Rafting the Grand Canyon

Rafting the Grand Canyon can be considered extreme sightseeing as you pass through demanding rapids. Apart from the exhilaration you'll be passing through some of the most scenic areas in the country. While you don't need to traverse all 277 miles of the Grand Canyon, you'll want to cover enough of the Colorado River's 226 mile uninterrupted stretch to appreciate the raging rapids and surrounding beauty.

Though rafting the Grand Canyon seems dangerous at first brush, the enormous rapids are fairly forgiving and the majority of injuries to rafters happen ashore. While a non-commercial pass allows rafters to chart their own courses and pace themselves, Grand Canyon National Park uses a lottery system to fill the limited spots available for river use. To apply for a non-commercial rafting permit, visit the NPS site and remember that the weighted lottery favors the unrelenting.

Alternatively, companies such as O.A.R.S. provide guided Grand Canyon Rafting trips. Moenkopi Riverworks rents all kinds of necessary rafting gear. Colorado River Discover offers various types of trips, for the fearless and timid alike.

Most people put in at Lee's Ferry near Page, Arizona. Some people take out at Diamond Creek near Peach Springs, Arizona. Others take out at Pearce Ferry, near Meadview, Arizona and Lake Mead.

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Swimming with Sharks

Every year, we hear about shark attacks that temporarily give us pause about going to the ocean to take advantage of the waves and warm weather. Given the number of people who use the ocean for recreation, it will shock you to know that sharks only attack an average of 50-75 people worldwide per year. If you'd like to educate yourself further on sharks before you read on, we'll understand.

Our pick is Point Judith, Rhode Island. Here you'll get to see the ever-wandering blue shark, an interesting creature that can range anywhere from 6 to around 101/2 feet long when full-grown. You're most likely to see blue sharks off the Rhode Island coast between the months of July and September, as they prefer cooler waters. Be cautious around these creatures, as researchers consider them dangerous due to their inclination toward unprovoked attacks on boats and humans.

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If all of that sounds like walking a tad too far on the wild side for you, Adventure Aquarium in Camden, New Jersey offers an opportunity to swim with the sharks in a controlled environment. Here, you'll swim with sand tiger sharks, sandbar sharks, nurse sharks, and barracuda. Additionally, Adventure Aquarium will provide almost all of the pertinent gear.

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Hike a Volcano

Much like swimming with the sharks, hiking around a volcano allows you to stare death squarely in the face. One of the most exciting is the hike-through volcano of Kilauea. Due to its placement amidst the Hawaii hotspot, there's a good chance you'll get to see an eruption. In fact, the Puu Oo cone of the east rift has continuously been erupting since 1983, and there have been 35 eruptions since 1952, including the current flow.

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If the thought of treading through an active volcano freaks you out - you may be better served staying stateside and keeping Kilauea as part of a destination trip to Hawaii. Luckily, there's an incredible, extinct, nearly perfectly shaped cinder cone volcano in Capulin, New Mexico. Here, you can take a spiraling two-mile road that rises to the summit, where you'll park and begin your journey.

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