Hello Fellow Adventurers
We all dream of the “big” adventure. You know the one where you climb a bigass mountain, hike the AT or PCT, backpack Europe, scuba dive in crystal green waters untouched by man…you know, the Big One.
I have a few of my own fantasy adventures meself. When I can’t sleep at night, I put together a mental gear list for whatever adventure I’ve been thinking about.
However growing up in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, we had to find our adventure where we could. There was a canal at the end of our street with a footbridge crossing it that lead to our elementary school. On that first day of first grade I rode my bike to school, crossing the footbridge, pausing to spit in the canal and flying down the white shelled incline.
Did I mention that I also had a backpack? Yeap I did! I was pumped.
As our first grade teacher, Mrs. Spielmann was calling attendance and she said “Greg” (which is my given name) I said “Here”. She read off a couple of more names then “Greg”? I looked around stunned. She just called my name and I answered. Then a blonde boy with crazy intense blue eyes says “Here”.
I was ecstatic! Somehow the universe allowed two of us to have the same name. Uncanny eh?
After school I rushed home, new Army style canvas backpack strapped tight and the Red Flyer bicycle moving like the wind. Sometimes we wouldn’t brake when we getting off our bikes, just let them keep going and hit whatever to stop them. I did just that. My bike hit the carport brick wall and stopped, like it was supposed to. Burst inside beaming with the news.
My mom said “Hey Tig (short for ‘Tiger’, this was Baton Rouge, and L.S.U. and all) How was your first day of school?”
“Mama! There’s a boy in my class named Greg too!”
Then my mom pulled one of the all time greatest mind tricks.
“I know. He’s coming over to play. Go meet him at the footbridge.”
How? I just found out he existed myself? How did she know already? But wait! He was coming here to play!
Saddling up Ole’ Red, peddled top speed to the footbridge. Just then, Greg, the other Greg was riding his bike down the big incline. His greeting was “This is cool! Let’s ride our bikes up and down the hill.”
We rode our bikes up and down that hill. We rode across the footbridge and back so many times I lost count. We parked our bikes and then crawled on the metal superstructure that held the bridge up. Hanging off the end and “dropping”, which is basically just letting go from a high place, we did that a lot just to do it.
That was in September of 1969. Since then, Unruh and I have had many bigger adventures together. We been shot at by rednecks, who we had to retrieve our other friend’s 1964 Ford Mustang from. Nearly drowned several times. Learned how not to repel with a high friction hemp rope, camped in snowstorms with trees breaking and crashing around us.
The big adventures are fun to think about, read about and plan for. When you finally get to go on your big adventure, it will be awesome. In the meantime, find your adventures where you can.