Both on and off the trail I live each day with little projection of my hope and fears into the future. On my last thru-hike (completing the CDT), the challenges that came each day were more than enough to deal with on a daily basis, these difficult events forced me to stay in the present. Being present is actual Being. It still works for me.
I receive e-mails from legendary backpacker Cam Honan, and today he’s going on about what he refers to about the “Three A’s” – Accept, Adapt and Appreciate – of wilderness travel, a set of principles that have represented the cornerstones of all Honan’s backcountry trips since 1996: https://www.thehikinglife.com/2018/06/the-three-as-2/. Do read this.
I gave two packpacking presentations last week: The West Bay Rotary and The Jackson Library in Tenants Harbor, ME. A key message for both talks was my need to embrace the principles of improvisation. At both events I presented this slide, a cover shot of a book that was given to me by Brad Purdy, who shares that most of his successes as a chef were largely due to his training in improvisational theater. I may not be a thespian, but I carry a Kindle of this book on my iPhone and refer to it when I am out and about.
This book is short, but so sweet. After reading Cam Honan’s blog post, Madson fills in the details of exactly how to adapt to unexpected challenges. Pushing through the pain ain’t exactly the mantra that brings me results any more, as regular readers of my own blog post will acknowledge. When I screw up now, it takes me so much longer to heal up and be off the trail. Last season, a crash on my mountain bike and my last stumble of the trail each resulted in a month’s hiatus from engaging in both those activities.
I’m still learning. For those of you that would like to learn more about how I translated obstacles to opportunities over 2,500 hard won miles in five all-encompassing months in 2013, consider buying my new book, In the Path of Young Bulls. It’s real news.