The winter is starting to break. That ‘s not actually true, looking at the 10-day forecast only three of those days will squeak above 40 degrees and the term “wintry mix” is too frequently seen for my liking. This is the time at which planning must take place, for if I wait until the weather is right it’s already too late. This past couple of weeks I’ve met various friends with two necessary tools: booze and calendars.
Planning out trip details such as location, activity, etc. are not important at this stage. Right now, it’s all about blocking off dates. “I’m busy that weekend” is the uttering of a couch-sitting non-planner. By setting specific dates this early on in the year, before anything else (life) creeps in and whittles away at your precious weekends, one is taking away the opportunity to make excuses. There are only 52 weekends in each year, two of those are scratched for Thanksgiving and Christmas, one a month is (should be) set aside for doing whatever the life partner wants to do (which is typically not getting lost in a Utah slot canyon), and you can figure that another dozen or so will be eaten up by work, chores, weddings, or football. That right there is half of the years’ weekends, gone. Pre-consumed.
Yet here I am, on a Sunday morning sipping coffee on the couch looking out at the snow and whatever this shit is that’s falling the from the sky and thinking, “man I wish I were out there.”
As of this writing, my calendar has ten weekends tagged for outdoor exploits. A few have specific titles such as Sun Mountain 25k, Mt. Adams Summit, and Wallowas BP Trip. Most of the others are more vague, for example, Sat. March 4 through Mon. March 6: Freezing My Balls Off With Alex. The war I’m waging isn’t with spontaneity it is with listlessness. There’s an ideology, probably regurgitated upon me by the likes of Tim Ferris, that having a trip set and planned gives one a sense of pleasure, producing serotonin which does all sorts of good things to your brain. And in this day and age under the leadership of an orange jackass, I think that we could all use a little more serotonin in our noggins.
Knowing that I have some physically demanding trips into the wilds ahead of me, any of which could quickly become disastrous epics if I’m not prepared, also serves as a great motivator when I’m powering through a gym session while looking outside at the wintry mix.
I’ll leave you with my favorite quote from the great Ed Abbey, which has served to galvanize many a trip planning session for me in the past:
“One final paragraph of advice: do not burn yourselves out. Be as I am – a reluctant enthusiast….a part-time crusader, a half-hearted fanatic. Save the other half of yourselves and your lives for pleasure and adventure. It is not enough to fight for the land; it is even more important to enjoy it. While you can. While it’s still here. So get out there and hunt and fish and mess around with your friends, ramble out yonder and explore the forests, climb the mountains, bag the peaks, run the rivers, breathe deep of that yet sweet and lucid air, sit quietly for a while and contemplate the precious stillness, the lovely, mysterious, and awesome space. Enjoy yourselves, keep your brain in your head and your head firmly attached to the body, the body active and alive, and I promise you this much; I promise you this one sweet victory over our enemies, over those desk-bound men and women with their hearts in a safe deposit box, and their eyes hypnotized by desk calculators. I promise you this; You will outlive the bastards.”