Weekend Warriors

Have you ever listened to the Dirtbag Diaries? It’s a podcast put out by Fitz Cahall on all sorts of dirtbaggery adventures. Along with This American Life, it’s right up there as my favorite podcast. It takes me back to that sense of adventure that drives my spirit to get outside and do what I love to do. It doesn’t have the same feel as a running podcast, although I enjoy most of those as well, as information passed from an expert in training, nutrition, or running to other runners in the community. Dirtbag Diaries is more about a couple of friends sitting around the campfire telling each other about their last great adventure, or that time when they were scared out of their minds and didn’t know if they would make it out alive of whatever predicament they were in.

The last episode I listened to, “Sufferthon 12/28/12”, was just what I needed to hear. See, my life has been going through some changes recently, and I know I’m going to get raked over the coals for some of my comments here, but this is a community I trust and feel like I can talk to.

Max King - Zegama Adventure

Max King after adventuring at Zegama in 2012.

December brought child number two into our family, so that meant some down time from getting out of town for a while and sticking close to home. This shouldn’t seem like that big a’ deal considering the year I had last year and where I got to go but it turns out, adventures are addictive and when you get a small (or big) taste of that sense of adventure, you’re hooked and continue to need more until it becomes too much and starts to disrupt the rest of your life connections. I’ll be the first to admit that while I’m nowhere remotely close to it breaking apart our family, I can also see the flip side of that, where it easily could if taken too far. Lets just say that I’m extremely lucky that I can call most of my adventures around the world “part of my job” and use that excuse liberally, to the best of my ability, but also appropriately as it does actually help pay the bills.

But none the less, months sticking around the house with heavy responsibilities like a new kid and realizing this new reality isn’t going anywhere in the near future has a way of weighing on you if you’re used to heading out for the weekend with few responsibilities.  Obviously this is something that you know is going to happen when you have children, but I’m not sure you can ever really be ready for it. I don’t know, maybe most people are, however, I was not.

That’s why this last episode of DBD was a refreshing take on what it takes to make an adventure. Two guys from Corvallis decided with busy jobs and little time for a real planned escape, that they would make their own one day Sufferthon by packing in as much as they could in a day. Their first trip they biked from Corvallis to Eugene, got in a canoe and paddled back to Corvallis via the Willamette, then ran back to Eugene. Now that’s an adventure, fairly tame, but adventure none-the-less. They have three rules that they gauge whether it’s a viable Sufferthon idea with: 1) it has to be a real possibility for failure, 2) there’s both a physical and an emotional or mental challenge to it, and 3) there has to be some sort of struggle during the journey. The great thing is, these three elements are at very different levels for each person.

This got me thinking about all the adventures within a day of home for me and immediately I came up with about four or five that I’ve wanted to do for years.

By putting these out there I realize that maybe someone will beat me to the punch, well and most of these have already been done anyway, but most are not about speed and time, but about having a couple of great companions along for the ride, for suffering and having something to talk about afterward, and the main focus of enjoying what’s outside, along the trail (or lack of) that is within a driving distance of Bend. On my list:

  • Three Sisters Winter Ski Traverse
  • Three Sisters Trans-Wilderness  – Eugene (or Cougar Res) to Bend via wilderness
  • Hood-Adams-St Helens circumnavigation in two or three days
  • The Cascade Trifecta – Tried last year but didn’t make it, need to take a another shot at this one
  • Dirt route from Bend to Medford – not sure this can be done but have always wanted to try it
  • Steens Mountain Traverse – Alvord desert to Frenchglen cross country route
  • Wallowa Mountains adventure – anywhere, I haven’t been there yet but I hear it’s amazing

Well, I guess that’s more than five, but I kept coming up with new ones as I wrote the list. The point is, it’s easy to come up with a great adventure right out your back door.

Over the next few years I’m realizing that broad, week-long adventures to far off locations may be limited by the necessity of spending a bit more time with the family. I’m also working on trying to figure out how to include the family into these weekend adventures. With a wild three year old, staying at home is not an option for him or me, so, I need advice on how to bring a kid along. How do you do it?

Find me on Facebook or Twitter and let me know what your secret is.