Eight Great Dates to Lend a Hand in the Outdoors

    Paddlers raft their way down the Colorado River for Moab, Utah's Raft for the Cure.

    Bicycling has come a long way in aligning itself with being outside and raising money for good causes. But pedaling isn’t the way to do good in the Great Outdoors.

    Across the country, hikers, bikers, paddlers, and even mountaineers are grabbing their gear to help boost their favorite charities and non-profits.

    Here are eight great dates in the coming months to get involved while being challenged and having fun:

    1. Raft for the Cure, Moab, Utah, June 29. Utah’s Moab Adventure Center spearheads the event for the Susan G. Komen for the Cure, Salt Lake City affiliate. Spend a day on the Colorado River outside Arches and Canyonlands National Parks paddling down mild whitewater alongside the stunning rock tower landscape. The evening features a live concert in shaded Swanny Park. Some 250 people from Utah and Colorado participated last year, raising $17,500 for cancer research.
    2. Seek the Peak, North Conway, New Hampshire, July 19-20. The highest peak in the Northeast stands at 6,288 feet and contains the non-profit Mount Washington Observatory, monitoring one of the most extreme and popular places on the planet. Hike the rock pile to support the observatory which also fosters the advancement of science and nature. There’s an after-party and dinner at the base of Mount Washington in Pinkham Notch to rest those weary legs.
    3. Leukemia Cup Regatta, Portland, Oregon, July 27. Boats and crews race along the scenic Columbia River. The regatta is part of a series of sailing events across the country that have raised millions of dollars for leukemia and lymphoma research. Even if you’r not a sailor you can be part of the crew.
    4. Hikers climb Mount Washington in Seek the Peak to benefit the Mount Washington Observatory.

      Climb to Fight Breast Cancer, Mount Adams, Washington, August 2-4. This is a big one, literally. Mountaineers choose from a number of peaks throughout the world like Denali, Kilimanjaro, and Mount Hood to climb in support of Seattle’s Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. No easy task, they join or assemble teams. The August climb up 12,276-foot Adams in the eastern Cascades requires climbers be in excellent shape and carry 50-pound packs.

    5. Trek Across Maine, June 14-16. Three days and 180 miles. Cyclists ride from the mountains and Sunday River to the ocean along Belfast, Maine. Each day is 60 miles with riders raising money for the American Lung Association.
    6. Mississippi River Challenge, Twin Cities area, Minnesota, July 27-28. Paddle 44 miles during a fully supported tour for a good conservation cause—Friends of the Mississippi River. From city skylines to soaring eagles, participants paddle both the Minnesota and Mississippi Rivers in canoes, kayaks, and even stand up paddleboards.
    7. Pan-Mass Challenge, Massachusetts, August 3-4. This one’s huge, raising money for the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Riders choose from one- and two-day routes between 25 and 190 miles through the Bay State. Nearly 5,500 riders cycle in the event. Since 1980, people from 36 states and eight countries have taken part. There are two starting lines in Sturbridge and Wellesley and five finish lines.
    8. Great Adirondack Trail Run, Keene Valley, New York, June 15. The field is already full for this popular 11-plus mile run down the back of Hopkins Mountain with some 3,200 feet in elevation gain but there’s room for the three-plus mile Baxter Mountain fun run. The event supports a couple of local river associations.

    First image courtesy Moab Adventure Center, second image courtesy Mount Washington Observatory

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