COVID-19 has a lot of us wondering when the next time we’ll get out in the backcountry again and experience some type of adventure. For those Type A personalities like me, things are especially hard, but I’ve come to realize now is a great time to slow down and learn more about true adventure. By this I mean learning to find adventure where you are, and in areas other than the backcountry. When was the last time you really explored your local area? For me, I hadn’t ever made the time, so I came up with a few ideas that anyone can use and hopefully they do.
Simply exploring your immediate surroundings can open your eyes to so many different things you never noticed or knew were there before. Recently, I’ve been exploring my local state park by foot, where I had only ever mountain biked. I found numerous new trails and natural features I had missed when I was flying down the trail by bike. I gained new appreciation for the area and found it was a great opportunity to bring my dog Dina out for her own adventure.
Make it a Challenge
If you’re like me, and you need more of a challenge instead of wandering around aimlessly, try Red Lining your local state park. The hiking term originated in the White Mountains of New Hampshire Guide Book and is used to describe the process of hiking every single trail. It’s a huge undertaking that takes years for most, but when you take the concept of Red Lining and apply it to your local state park, it’s much more manageable and really rewarding. Try it out, print out or purchase a local trail map for the area and mark it up with a red sharpie. Each trail you end up Red Lining feels like a win and it’s pretty satisfying when your buddies ask for beta on the trail, you will know it like no one else.
Assess Your Adventure Gear
It’s not necessarily an adventure, but by inventorying and organizing your gear closet, you’re ahead of the game by being prepared for one. Remember when I mentioned I was Type A? Let’s face it, right now is the perfect time to do this. Go through that closet, find out what you have or don’t have, and what needs to be replaced, washed, repaired, recycled, or could be sold or donated. You’ll be doing yourself and others a favor.
Sending items back for repair keeps your favorite gear companies cranking during this difficult time for all retail companies and more important, can extend the life of your gear. Donating or selling under loved gear, gives someone else the chance to experience their own adventures. You’ll also have more space and be more organized for your next backcountry adventure, when the time comes.
Map Out Your “Someday” Adventure
For those of us who are always saying “I’d love to do (insert whatever) someday!” now is the perfect time to go online and start researching how to make “someday” happen. Buy the map, download that trail guide, join a forum, start planning, create a budget, and make a timetable with a hard start date – giving yourself a little flexibility considering the current state of things. One of the biggest deterrents that stops most before they even start is the task of planning the adventure. This is where one of my favorite adages comes in, “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time!” – you get the idea!
Adventure is what you make of it. You define it, not others, not magazines, not the outdoor industry. Don’t limit yourself to what others think is right for you. Make your life an adventure and explore. Make plans, go new places, see new areas and while you’re at it, find yourself. When you create your own adventure, it can be anything you want. Use your imagination and some of the ideas here to get after it over the long holiday weekend ahead.
About the author: Craig Fowler is a professional adventurer and motivator. He is the only person to have completed both the thru-hiking and bikepacking triple crowns. Fowler shares his knowledge through his stories and guides on his website, oneofsevenproject.com. Follow Craig on Instagram @oneofsevenproject