What Makes an Adventure?
Adventures are a lot like stories; the good ones tend to be a bit miserable if you’re the one stuck in the middle of it all. In my mind, the adventure doesn’t start until you’ve reached the first obstacle you need to overcome.
In my mind, the adventure is the overcoming of the challenges associated with a journey. Challenges like maintaining discipline in changing, challenges like unexpected changes in weather, path, or destinations. Equipment failures, planning failures, failures of will. Challenges like a chipmunk scaling twelve feet of rope during a storm that’s knocking over trees and chewing a hole in your food sack, then pooping in your coffee cup.
There’s a quiet joy to any and all travel, at least for me, whether it’s played to the tune of gravel under boots or the humming of an engine, but not all travel is adventure. Almost every good adventure I’ve been on has been some blend of too hot, too cold, too wet, too painful, and too exhausting. And oh, oh so worth it!
This site is shaping up to be an adventure in its own right. A month ago, I thought I had it set up and ready to go. All my ducks were in a row (rhymes with “go”). Now, not so much, more of row (rhymes with “cow”), really. My financial situation took one of those blows. Long story short, I’m now scrambling to make ends meet (it’s not dire scrambling, just frustrating, grumbly, no-money-for-fun scrambling) and I don’t have a lot of spare funds for big trips.
That’s okay. 90% of any trip is preparation, and I’ve spent the last couple years stuck in a city, getting fat and weak, and I haven’t even been able to work out for the last six months or so due to a shoulder injury. Well, the shoulder seems to be better, and I’ve moved down right near South Mountain Park, which is an amazing place with miles of mountain trails. It’s a little hot to take advantage of them just yet, but the community I’ve moved to has a lap pool, too. So the point is, while I’m getting my finances squared away for some big adventures, I’m going to be getting in shape for them, fixing equipment, working on some really cool projects, and maybe writing up the stories of some of my older adventures.
I’m going to be looking for some cool things close at hand to explore, such as the many trails, plants, animals, and petroglyphs of South Mountain. It is my intent to, in the next year or so, visit every single wilderness area in Arizona. There are 47 of them, and a few are truly remote, so it’s probably going to take more than a year even if finances weren’t an issue. But we need goals in life. The adventure is about getting where we’re going. The Arizona Trail’s also on the list.
But you can’t just jump right in and expect to succeed.
I think one of the good things about this blog is that I’m not an expert; I’m an enthusiastic and determined amateur. You’re going to not only see what goes into conditioning, training, and planning, but you’re going to get to see me getting there–you’ll know you can do it, because, well, if I can . . .
You get the idea.
What Training Actually Means
I want to get the most out of travelling. That’s going to mean transforming my legs into pistons that can push me and the weight of a pack, maybe fifty or sixty pounds, since hiking in Arizona means carrying lots of water, up and down mountains and canyons. My goal is to get back up to at least where I was around 2012, where I could comfortably hike eighteen miles over rough terrain in a day. That might be ambitious when I’m pushing 30, but it’s definitely doable.
And it needs to be doable, day after day. The Arizona Trail is 800 miles of some of the most rugged, beautiful, and dangerous terrain the North America has to offer.
The Vagabond.Guide Patreon
In the meantime, I’m also setting up a Patreon page to try and drum up some subscription-based funding. A friend suggested it, and I have to say I like the idea of not covering this site in Google ads, and also of creating something of a community around the site. I’m not expecting anything spectacular from it, but all I need to get to some of the awesome places in Arizona is a tank of gas, and that seems like a very attainable goal.
You buy my gas, I’ll figure out the rest.
Speaking of preparations, I’ve already got a couple of articles up about Arizona’s oldest continually inhabited location, Canyon de Chelly, and the only trail you can walk down into it without a guide.
Anyway, it’s time and past time to get this all started, so thanks to everyone here with me at the start, I’m looking forward to travelling with you!
PS I’ve got an Instagram going now, and I’m putting all sorts of pretty pictures from around AZ and the Southwest on it!