From time to time I feel that I need to test my mental resolve with something that goes beyond my comfort zone. Most times it is nothing too radical, like this time. But this time there were two issues that I wanted to share with you.
A Long Overdue Walk
Last week I had a day off work and my wife had some studying to do. So me and the doggo had the day all to ourselves.
Last year I did many small day trips with him: just the two of us, without any proper plans or pre-meditated routes, backpack and a sense of purpose. I loved those little walks, but in the past six months I have not had enough time for them.
So when I noticed that for the first time in a while we had a chance to go out and do a little adventure again, I was thrilled! But then I took a look outside. It was pouring rain. Thank you once again, Finnish summer.
But then I realized it: what good it is to have all the nice good gear, if you do not ever put test it in non-perfect conditions? And even more importantly: how can I say I am outdoors person if I only go outside when it suits me?
The Need to Show Myself That I Can
So I packed my Platatac Bullock Echo with some basic items and my coffee Field brewing kit, some water and a chicken fillet treat for the dog and off we went.
The weather was quite warm, +19 degrees celsius, but the rain was constant. I chose to wear my old Barbour oil canvas jacket and TAD Covert RS pants, both of which have seen their best waterproof days. My only choice for boots were my old Salomon 3D Forces that have proper holes in them and these were the non-goretex versions to begin with. So I would be soaked through quickly. And that did not bother me one bit.
Sometimes there is something sweet in putting yourself conciously in a state of discomfort. It means you have to work a little bit harder than you would in a perfect situation. You need to give some extra thought for where to stop for a camp and how can you keep yourself adequately dry to keep on going.
In the end you are exhausted and in for a long gear maintenance session, but with that price you have bought yourself the feeling that you have conquered yourself. You challenged yourself and you won. Even if it is as small thing as this almost non-mentionable adventure to the local suburban woods, it is still something. Even such small things can help you to step up in another time and place.
Adventure State of Mind
Sometimes the makings of an enjoyable adventure are small. Actually they always are, I think. Most of the time you do not need to plan a long multi-day hike in a national park, or look through blogs and books to find new exciting places to visit. I mean of course you can and you should, but the main ingredient in the mix is your own attitude.
I went off into the woods that I have scoured with the dog several times already with the purpose to find new paths and get a bit lost in the name of adventure. And I did.
We rose off of a side of road into the steeply ascending forest hill. In the start the trees were mainly tall pines, so we actually managed to find some dry spots underneath. Then we ventured off amongst a dense young birch thicket, that finished the job the rain had started in soaking us.
We quickly found a path that lead us to a familiar crossroads. In the simultaneous still silence and multitude of sounds that a rain effects in a forest we continued on the path and found our way to the fields. The crop is ripening slowly during this part of the year and during this time you are also not supposed to walk on fields.
So we tried to find our way around, trying to reach another wooded area beyond the fields, but the crops and the rain had us surrounded. We doubled back, but we did not give up. After a short search, we found a nice big tangle of roots of a large pine that was growing on the hillside. I perched my Bullock Echo on a branch and dug up my Crusader. I gave the doggo his treat, and proceeded on to brew mine. After the grinding, boiling and pressing, I had one of the most perfect cup of joe I have ever had.
And all this actually took me only some 1,5 hours. I did not time it and I lost the track of time completely, but it could not have been much more than that. Although the time seemed to stop for a bit in the hallowed closure of the trees and the loud silence of the rain, that drowned out the sound of the traffic from a nearby road. Again: it does not seem much, but it was a real adventure to us, because we chose to make it one.