This first appeared as the Editor's Note in Maine Outdoors & Adventure, Fall/Winter 2017. I think it sums up my attitude toward the concept of "adventure" nicely. Since I've had a few people ask about it, it is reprinted here in its unedited form.
It’s easy to get into the habit of thinking that adventure is for other people. The other people—they have finances and strength and training. Something elite that’s maybe skipped us. So we watch as the other people do exciting things that light hearts afire and, without knowing how they do it, leave it to the other people.
Sometimes it’s by design. The allure of adventure for some people is as foreign as flying a jet. At some point, though, everyone feels the pull. Oftentimes, we don’t know how to respond. It’s too big, too complex. So we watch and dream.
I’ll tell you a story: in the mid- and late 1920s, Bradford Washburn made winter ascents of the Alps, Mt. Washington (New Hampshire), and Mt. Fairweather (Alaska), among others. Washburn and his crews battled ice, freezing winds, avalanches, and hypothermia. Sometimes it was smooth going, and sometimes it wasn’t. They didn’t enjoy cutting-edge gear—their packs were wooden frames to which they’d lash provisions. In each instance, they emerged victorious.
The kicker? Washburn was about 16 when he did it.*
In the Pixar film “Up,” a recurring theme is that “adventure is out there.” It’s true. You don’t have to scale Mt. Washington in the winter, or even Katahdin like the subjects of this issue’s feature. Sometimes, adventure is as close as a simple walk through the city park when it seems easier to binge on Netflix.
Adventure is out there. It’s all around you. The key is to look, and to realize, in the end, it’s not for the other people. It’s for you, too. Trust me, Netflix will be here when you get back.
*Washburn later served as director of the Boston Museum of Science for nearly 40 years. For more about his adventures, check out the excellent book “Washburn: Extraordinary Adventures of a Young Mountaineer.”