I like to think of myself as a bit adventurous. I’m willing to jump in to something new or try something I’ve never done before. I especially see this evident in my eagerness to hike and explore. Whether hunting or scouting, I’m always looking to go a bit higher, a bit further, or a bit longer and find those places most people don’t go.
However, as much as I like to push it and be adventurous, I know I also must be smart. It only takes one wrong step or one careless moment for a time of adventure to turn into a problem. So, I seek to be “Smart Adventurous.” This means I am going to go a bit further or a bit longer, but I’m going to be smart about it and understand my limits.
I haven’t always done this well. I remember back to a hike a couple years ago where I followed a trail about 2 miles up to a peak. Attempting to be adventurous and explore, I decided to take a shortcut down the backside of the mountain. Distance-wise it would be shorter back to the trail head and would be a different route back down. It looked interesting and with no trails on the backside, it seems like a great choice.
It almost killed me. I found myself forced to work down a dry creek bed between two mountains. Time after time, I faced drops and cliffs 10 to 15 feet down. Multiple times I took my backpack of and had to slide down steep sections. I couldn’t go back up and going down was getting more and more dangerous. I slipped several times and got more and more uncomfortable as I went down.
I made it out alive, but it took me twice as long. It was a huge wake-up call about being smart. I made the decision that I would never put myself in that situation again.
A couple weeks ago, I had the opportunity again to be smart adventurous. I was in Carson City, NV and had the opportunity to do some hiking outside of the city. I found a road that cut through the mountains and I decided to take it up and find a place to hike.
The drive started ok, but quickly the road got very rough. A couple miles in I started to really evaluate how far I wanted to try and take it. The adventurous side of me said to keep going but the smart side in me started to make me think. I stopped the truck and was evaluating the situation when fortunately, a guy on a dirt bike came down the road. I flagged him down and asked about the road condition up further. He confirmed my thoughts that the road continued to be rough and even get rougher.
I’m happy to say that this time the “smart” side won out. As much as I was tempted to push on, I parked the truck there a did a hike just from that point.
The hike was decent. It wasn’t anything spectacular, but I enjoyed hiking in a new area getting some exercise. Yet I must admit that several times I looked longingly up the trail and wondered what was up there. My adventurous side wanted to push on, but my smart side told me I made the right choice.
As I continue to hike, hunt, and scout, I know that I will continue to be adventurous, but I also am going to be smart about it!