As an Outdoor Recreation major at Western Washington University, I studied both the philosophy of recreation and leisure and the practical requirements of introducing others to the outdoors. I spent ten years working as a white water rafting guide, ski instructor, wilderness guide, and retreat center coordinator. Through my education and practical experience, I have learned that what most of us need is “simple” adventure.The outdoor industry often entraps wannabe explorers through adrenaline addiction and flashy, expensive gear. It parasitizes egos and drives it’s adherents to take extreme risks for the wrong reasons. It claims to value the natural world, while encouraging far flung, gas guzzling adventures.
Nevertheless, I believe that the challenge, risk, and exposure to the natural world involved in outdoor recreation can play a crucial role in developing strong individuals who know how to live with less,as stewards of creation. So how do we make wise recreational decisions? My philosophy of “simple” adventure takes into account the cost of gear and transportation; environmental impact; risk;time commitment; and purpose. Of course, each person must weigh these factors for themselves and apply them to their own situation.
Have you ever been overwhelmed by the array of outdoor activities? Have you ever felt that you might as well give up on a sport because you will never be able to compare to the athletes in extreme sports magazines? Or perhaps you have spent your life adventuring and still haven’t found what you hoped to find. Journey with me on my blog as I explore what it means to have a simple, fulfilling, adventurous life. For those of you who live in and around the Washington Cascades, I hope you will find inspiration and guidance as you choose your next local adventure.