New York Times — Natural Water Slides

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Natural water slides—essentially whitewater chutes navigable on your rear end—flank rivers and streams in places like Vermont, where I traveled last month to cover the pseudo-sport for New York Times.

In was late July, and I joined Dave Hajdasz, a contributor to www.swimmingholes.info, to tour some water-slide sites around the state.

Natural water slides, found in most states, range from 10-foot-long child-friendly chutes to harrowing steep descents that launch sliders from the lip of a waterfall. Shallow water and slick stone are defining traits.

Water levels dictate a slide’s speed and seriousness; heavy rain or springtime flooding can create dangerous conditions.

In New England, Vermont and New Hampshire boast dozens of slides in the White and Green Mountains, where old hills with bedrock-bottom creeks can create perfect sliding. Maine can claim at least eight slide sites.

Outside the United States, sliders zip with river currents off drops from Nigeria to Fiji. Samoa, Australia, Israel, Nigeria, New Zealand and Belize have highlighted slides on www.naturalwaterslides.com, a site that catalogs water slides around the globe.

We hit several slide sites during my visit, including Circle Current on the New Haven River; and the Danby Slide on the Mill River off Route 7.

“You feel like a kid again doing this,” said Mr. Hajdasz, a 45-year-old financial planner from Meriden, Conn. “I can do it all day long.”

Go here for the full story in today’s New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/08/31/travel/escapes/31waterslides.html?_r=1&ref=escapes&oref=slogin

By
Stephen Regenold is Founder of GearJunkie, which he launched as a nationally-syndicated newspaper column in 2002. As a journalist and writer, Regenold has covered the outdoors industry for two decades, including as a correspondent for the New York Times. A father of five, Regenold and his wife live in Minneapolis.
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