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Adventure awaits high above and well below

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Posted: Wednesday, May 28, 2014 12:00 am

Just a short drive from Lodi are a number of opportunities for thrill-seeking locals. Weather you want to free-fall thousands of feet in the air, ride a raft over rough white waters, hike more than a hundred feet under the Earth’s surface and more, there are plenty of nearby places to push your limits.

Consider this your guide to some adventures you never new the Lodi area had to offer.

Skydive

Bill Dause can’t describe the thrill of free falling from 13,000 feet. He says it’s something you just need to experience.

As owner of the Lodi Parachute Center in Acampo, Dause has helped people soar for 50 years. But what brings people out to try something so invigorating — and at the same time possibly terrifying?

“It’s exhilarating. It’s exciting. It’s on most everyone’s want-to-do list,” Dause said.

Not many people come to the parachute center to conquer fears, Dause said. Instead, they jump for the entertainment. And unlike many thrill-seeking sports, skydiving can be achieved at minimal cost.

For $100, a visitor will receive instruction, a tandem jump and an overall view of the sport. For those wanting to learn to jump solo, $1,000 will get visitors a two-day training course, complete with seven jumps.

The Parachute Center is open year-round from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. For more information, stop by the Lodi Parachute Center at 23597 N. Highway 99, Acampo, visit the website or call 209-369-1128.

Cave tours

At Cave and Mine Adventures, there are many ways to travel deep below the Earth’s surface.

Visitors can rappel 165 feet into a cavern. Guided walking tours at Black Chasm lead hikers along series of stairs and walkways designed to illuminate rare, sparkling helictite formations and other views of the caves. The Trail of Lights gives hikers a tour of the crystalline vines lining the walls of California Cavern.

“(Visitors) really enjoy this because they can push the envelope of adventure with us,” said Heather Ginn, director of marketing and operations with Cave and Mine Adventures.

Cave and Mine Adventures offers a variety of unique adventures at each of its three locations: Black Chasm, a National Natural Landmark in Amador County; California Cavern, a State Historic Landmark; and Moaning Cavern in Calaveras County.

For more information, visit the Cave and Mine Adventures website, or call 866-762-2837.

Mountain biking

Much of San Joaquin County might be flat, but you don’t have to go far to find rolling hills complete with miles of pristine single track.

The Arnold Rim Trail is found in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, along the Ebbetts Pass National Scenic Byway stretch of Highway 4, east of Lodi.

The trail stretches 17 miles, running through creek canyons surrounded by a series of tall trees. It continues up toward the rocky ridges of the foothills, opening to panoramic views of Mt. Diablo in the East Bay, Mt. Lyell on the eastern slopes of the Sierra Nevadas near Yosemite, and much of the Mother Lode region.

“It’s a phenomenal trail,” said Tyler Summerset, single-track rider and treasurer of the Arnold Rim Trail Association.

And if there is a time to go, it’s now.

Since being built more than 10 years ago, the Arnold Rim Trail is a treasure amongst locals, but has yet to be discovered by mountain bikers outside the area.

“It’s still under wraps,” Summerset said.

The area also has more to offer than rowdy single track. Arnold offers brew pubs, places to swim and fish, and opportunities to stay overnight.

Visiting riders can go on the Best Ride Ever tour. For more information, contact Clint Jodie at 209-795-0735. For more information, visit the Arnold Rim Trail, website.

Windsurfing

Some of the best windsurfing in the county can be found in the Delta, says Derek Rijff, manager of Delta Windsurf and Watersports in Rio Vista.

The winds and warm weather come together in the summer months to create a destination people come from far and wide to experience.

But you don’t have to be an expert to take part in the fun.

Delta Windsurf and Watersports can help get you in the water and on a board.

The shop offers both equipment to purchase and rent. Through the shop, visitors can schedule lessons. For $100, a visitor can get a one-on-one, hour-long lesson with an instructor, then have an hour to practice alone. A group of four people can schedule an hour-long lesson for $60. Paddleboards are also available to rent.

Delta Windsurf and Watersports is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. seven days a week from Memorial Day to Labor Day. For more information, visit the Delta Windsurf and Watersports website.

Rafting

Some of California’s white-water rafting gems are hidden throughout the Valley and in the foothills of the Sierra Nevadas.

All-Outdoors California Whitewater Rafting, located in Walnut Creek, offers guided rafting trips of 10 California rivers — including local rivers such as the Tuolumne River, American River, Cherry Creek and Merced River — this summer.

Visitors can sign up for one-, two- or three-day trips, during which all equipment is provided, including for overnight trips. And trips are available to people of all ages.

All-Outdoors offers trips on class two beginner rivers through class five, the most difficult rivers.

“The thing most people remember would be the awesomeness of something they never thought they’d be able to do,” said Scott Armstrong, owner of All-Outdoors. “They say, ‘I never knew this would be so much fun and so rewarding.’”

For more information, call 800-247-2387, or visit the All-Outdoors California Whitewater Rafting website.

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