Here at The National Center for Outdoor & Adventure Education (NCOAE) you can find us toiling year-round to bring our students and clients the very best in guided outdoor adventures with meaning. So, as far as our staff is concerned, we’re always in the “getting ready mode” for outings in the wilderness.
But as we approach our busiest time of the year, we’d like to pose some questions for our seasonal participants:
- What are you doing to get ready?
- What does it mean to be ready?
- Can we ever really be ready?
Let’s distill outdoor preparedness into three categories, Physical, Emotional and Gear.
Physical: Lounging on the couch with a belly covered with unnaturally orange Cheetos dust while watching 180 Degrees South: Conquerors of the Useless for the 100th time might suggest it’s time to get busy getting fit before you head out on a course.
Whether that entails short hikes with heavy bags, bike rides across town, hitting the gym or some distance running, it’s entirely up to you to decide what works. Just know this. Time’s ticking and the first summer excursions are less than the turn of a monthly calendar page away.
Emotional: So you’ve been hiking, biking and swimming and you’re feeling like you’re getting your mojo back. Swell. Now it’s time to prepare mentally for what lies in store on the trail.
Take a moment. Close your eyes and picture your favorite course area. It’s easy to recall the bucolic views, pristine settings, and warm campfires at night. But they say pain has no memory. Now think about an unrelenting sun beating down on you, or a trip that featured nothing but rain, day and night. Your gear and body are getting funky, you’re exhausted. And when you look around, you notice your fellow course mates appear to have been (more…)
Spring has sprung and it’s the beginning of another fine season of outdoor adventure, which means it’s time to start unpacking, inspecting, cleaning up and then repacking your gear.
As you start pulling out the dusty Tupperware containers crammed with camping gear you’ve had since your first journey beyond the pavement, take some time to reflect. Revel in the moment as you remove each memory from the box. Think about where that tool or boot or piece of canvas has taken you, and the gifts you in turn received by being able to use that equipment with confidence.
Dig deep and you’re likely to find a piece of gear that appears — to the uninformed — to be broken and unusable. But to you, a broken cam that you’ve had for years has meaning to it. In fact, you’re pretty much convinced that, in the event of an emergency, you could set that passive piece to save your butt.
As you’re reading this, one of you might be thinking about an unusual rock you and a buddy picked up on a particularly fantastic trip. It’s never left your bag. Maybe it reminds you of (more…)