The Importance Of: The Mediocre Backyard Adventure
The Importance Of: is a semi-monthly bit on the importance of topics that aren’t constantly being labeled as such…and also irony.
The Mediocre Backyard Adventure
Every day there’s a new mind-blowing, best-ever, unbelievable, stop-what-you’re-doing-and-click-this-link asshole post about 10 brain-hemorrhaging adventures of a lifetime on my feed. If you spend any measurable amount of time online you too are well acquainted with elvish Icelandic waterfalls, the stupidly-jagged peaks of Patagonia, and absurdly-clear Milky Ways all swirly with the aurora borealis, as if Saint Bob Ross himself parted his lofty afro, reached down with his trademark 2” Background Brush and gently laid the soft finishing emerald touches across the stratosphere.
And all those places are super neat. Really. I see those photos and think “by the kaleidoscopic palette of Saint Bob Ross, that is just remarkable,” and want to go there. They are impressively scenic. And then pretty quickly my brain stalls out and shuts down because no one should be able see all those places and that much color and light and prettiness and silky smooth cascading water on one abbreviated list. I overdose on scenic.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for heading to fantastic destinations. I think it’s important to travel and I dig it for sure. I’m very fortunate to have a lifestyle that allows me to move about often. But I’m not discussing the many benefits of travel here (googling “10 Reasons Why Everyone Needs to Travel Right Now, or Die” should get you something good).
What I am saying is sometimes travel for travel’s sake is just a bit over-hyped. I know very well that pretty places exist. I do my best to go to them often. But, unique and stunning farflung destinations are not always synonymous with noteworthy experiences. So internet, stop giving me your poorly-researched best-of lists.
We often overlook the wealth of natural beauty at our fingertips downplaying it as un-reddit-worthy. But really, it’s just all how you box it up.
Pure, unfiltered, unhyped, kind-of-shitty-sometimes, but-still-a-blast, mediocre backyard adventures with good people are where it’s at.
And the best part about them is you don’t even have to be particularly wealthy, hardcore or athletic to have them. Simply looking up local state parks, national monuments, recreation and wilderness areas can open up a bunch of possibilities for backyard adventures. Do some homework, wait for a good weather window (or the right season) and expand the fun factor options even more. Stand Up Paddle below a waterfall? Nice! Sounds dangerous. Snowshoe crappy snow at local hill? Almost fun! Weekend backpack to a mildly-hot hot springs? Hell yeah. Kind of a good time!
There’s a smaller learning curve to most outdoor pursuits than people think. Maybe rent gear first to see if you’re into it before dropping a pile of Benjamins. Then rent it again because I lied a second ago and most things that are worth doing are hard at first. Just get out there and flail a little though and you’ll quickly be stacking up interest at the bank of rad and really getting the most out of the beautiful places around you. Or you might suck for a long time. Who cares? Really it’s often the unmindblowing-but-frequent daily (or weekly) acts of escape with friends or family that culminate into a lifetime of memorable experiences. Check the weather, grab a couple Montucky Cold Snacks and embrace your place.
Some photos from my own mediocre backyard adventures
Bob not catching fish on a lovely evening on the Clearwater. ~40 minutes from home
Renee and Bekah freezing their asses off (and laughing) while floating an alpine river in the Wallowas. ~3.5 hours from home
James just slightly regretting the commitment in light of the sketchy powder at Steptoe. ~ 40 minutes from home
Nate soaring into the golden horizon on a lovely one-flight wonder day. ~10 minutes from home
Joe squeezing small features on one of the few natural lines at a fantastic, unacclaimed, tiny, drilled-out limestone crag at Riggins. ~3.5 hours from home
James trying to stay upright in the rough, choppy spray at Palouse Falls. ~2 hours from home