The Top Five Ways to Get a Nosebleed in the Midwest
A lot of people picture the Midwest as a vast, flat expanse of nothing in particular. Or, sometimes, people picture the Midwest as a vast, flat expanse of corn. I can’t argue with either, really. Having grown up here, I am the first to admit that the percentage of interesting terrestrial features here stacks up to the homogenous, mind-numbingly repetitive farms and fields in a decidedly diminutive way. And sure, much of my home state could be described as ‘the buckle of the Bible Belt’, and there’s no denying that folks around these parts are pretty conservative. It might sound like the last place an adventurer would visit, but I think it’s high time the word got out: the Midwest can be a dangerous place. It is with this in mind that I present to you the opportunity to discover the sordid, sweaty, hairy underbelly of Middle America. If you get your jollies by shaking hands with Death, you have come to the right place. No, there are no mountains, and no, there are no tidal waves or monsoons or waterfalls to speak of. So, what am I talking about?
The Top Five Ways to Get a Nosebleed in the Midwest
5. Riding the Magnum XL-200 at Cedar Point
Sandusky, OH 44870
Some say it’s thrilling. Some say it’s the best in the world. Some simply say, “uurk”. Roller coasters are one of the easiest ways for a family or a group of friends to get their kicks together, and the Magnum XL-200 delivers speed, special effects, and a fantastic view of Lake Eerie. It’s a traditional-style coaster, but the first hill has a 60 degree drop and it hits 74 miles per hour. Cedar Point, in general, is a pretty darn cool amusement park, but if there’s one ride you’re going to wait in line for all day, even though you know it’ll only last two minutes and you’ll want to get back in line as soon as you’re off, this is it.
Why Will I Get a Nosebleed? Well, unless you’re Fabio, you probably won’t literally be gushing blood when you get off the Magnum. #5 makes the list with a figurative nosebleed – your stomach will be left so far behind you, you’ll think your nose is still at the beginning of the ride.
4. Rock Climbing at Devil’s Lake, Wisconsin
Devil’s Lake State Park
Rock climbing is one of like any other sport in that to get better, you have to push your limits. Whether you’re just starting out or are a seasoned pro, there are plenty of ways to push all sorts of limits at Devil’s Lake State Park. First of all, it’s a beautiful park, and even if you don’t climb, you can get up on some other park-related activity (i.e. hunting, fishing, camping, etc.). Second, so many of the routes here have been catalogued and discussed by Midwest climbers that there’s not a lot of guess work left for the amateur of uncertain ability – listen to what the climbers say on the web, then pick your poison. All in all, not to be missed if you love heights and feeling very tall.
Why Will I Get a Nosebleed? Once you climb to the top of these rocks, you will be very, very high up in the air. Plus, rock is hard. Rock + nose = nosebleed. It’s science.
3. Whitewater Rafting on the Wolf River
Wolf River, WI
Believe it or not, the Midwest is home to some mighty fine rapids. While there are more than a few rivers to choose from, the Wolf River in Wisconsin seems to be one of the most versatile – any skill level can do a little rafting, and trip prices are usually reasonable. It’s a great way to spend a day, and if you’re into excitement, you can’t really skip this.
Why Will I Get a Nosebleed? If you don’t hold on tight, you could end up in the river. Plenty of things to hit your face on in the river. Oh, and watch out for the paddles. Ouch.
2. Ice Climbing
Here’s something a little different. You aren’t interested in rock climbing? What about climbing up a frozen waterfall? Some of the northern Midwest’s most beautiful landscapes are covered in ice, and some of the northern Midwest’s most intense athletes are there to tackle them. Ice climbing at Munising, Michigan is well known in the area for its many different routes and the Alpine-esque setting it transports climbers to. I’ve never been ice climbing, but I imagine it’s a bit like rock climbing, only slipperier.
Why Will I Get a Nosebleed? Anytime you’re swinging around a pickaxe, you’re asking for a nosebleed. And don’t forget, we’re talking major heights here. Really.
Just outside of Chicago, IL
This ultra-scary sport inspired one of my favorite post-adventure lines from a peer: “Oh man, it was unlike any drug, man. Wow.” It’s not hard to guess why. After a short instruction session, divers jump from a plane at 14,000 feet, free-falling for a good bit before pulling their ripcords and releasing their parachutes – unless they become incapacitated by fear, in which case the instructor strapped to their back (in a tandem jump, anyway), will do it for them. The company’s motto is “Face Your Fear!!!”, and it is that natural, human, shared-by-most fear of seeing the ground rushing to meet you at 9.8 meters per second squared that makes skydiving number one on the list of ways to get a nosebleed in the Midwest. Exhilarating, terrifying, incomparable, and fulfilling, a skydive can change the way you look at the world, or at least your own mortality.
Why Will I Get a Nosebleed? Come on. You’re jumping out of a plane and falling 14,000 feet. Just thinking about it makes my nose bleed.
Adrenaline junkies, come and get it. Sure, we’ve got a lot of corn, but we’ve also got at least five ways to have a serious blast, be it natural or man-made. Forget that homogenous, flat mentality, and give the Midwest a shot. It’ll shoot you right back.