The majority of us spend endless hours in front of the computer or tending to other responsibilities, waiting for that moment when we’re able to punch out and head for the trails in pursuit of something more. Something bigger. Adventure. Here’s how you can squeeze every last drop of adventure out of your weekends, because with only 52 of them, every one counts.
Make an Adventure Calendar
If you want something to happen, you’ve got to write it down. Don’t believe me? Look no further than Outside Magazine’s recent guide to summer weekends or REI’s 6 Tips for Planning Your Summer Adventures. Call your friends and get a camping weekend on the books, or schedule an impromptu family reunion at a lakeside cabin. Don’t have any friends who like to adventure as much as you? Find people who do by signing up for a trail building day or a Gociety event (essentially a meet up built for folks who like the greatl outdoors), or join the American Alpine Club. Your gym might even sponsor weekend trail runs, or you could start your own group with people from work. Whatever you do, schedule it. Sometimes al it takes to make adventure a priority is holding yourself accountable for its success. Set a goal for a number of adventures this summer and lock in the dates, now!
Get Out Early, Stay Out Late
This is an obvious one, and especially helpful for weekend adventures spent close to home. There is no better way to maximize your time than by hitting the trails before everyone else gets the same idea. By forgoing a long breakfast in the morning and making it to the local trailhead when most people’s alarms are just starting to buzz, you’ll not only have empty trails, but the breakfast will taste even better after a couple of miles of work. If you’re like my wife and the thought of waking up early makes you want to skip an adventure altogether, swap for dusk patrol. Just watch out for those after dark violations that rangers are often fond of handing out, and make sure you bring a headlamp, just in case!
Avoid Holiday Crowds
There’s nothing worse than having your weekend plans delayed by bumper-to-bumper traffic on Friday afternoon. And if your city is anything like those on the Front Range of Colorado (where most nine-to-fivers get out of the office early on Friday), it can be almost impossible to beat the bumper-to-bumper rush to the mountains. To avoid some of the madness this summer, ask your boss if you can float a holiday. Celebrate July 4th on July 1st, or move your Labor Day plans to the Monday before. You’ll arrive at your destination refreshed and ready for adventure instead of frustrated, with plenty of daylight left to enjoy. Oh, and you’ll actually be able to get a campsite, which always helps.
Adventure Mecca Pilgrimage
If your goal is to return home on Sunday night after dark, covered in sweat and dust with nothing left in the proverbial tank, you’ll need to find an adventure destination that can help you achieve your goals. Aspen, Colorado is one of my favorites. Wake up and take a refreshing cliff-jump into Lincoln Creek, then climb a few quick routes on one of the several crags on Independence Pass. Swoop through town for a bite to eat at Peaches, everyone’s favorite cafe, before mountain biking a lap on the Rim Trail in Snowmass. Finish it all off with an IPA in one hand, fly-rod in the other on the Frying Pan River in Basalt, an award winning river bursting with brown trout. When the getting is so good, it’s hard not to maximize the weekend.
Don’t Let Life Get in the Way
When it comes down to it, those of you with full time jobs, families, and adult responsibilities will not be able to adventure every weekend. That’s where micro-adventures come in. These one-nighters or half-day trips are perfect for those with exceptionally busy schedules. What can you do in an afternoon that you’ve always wanted to try, but never made the time for? Maybe it’s stand-up paddleboarding down the local creek, a climbing lesson in the nearby foothills, or going on an overnight backpacking trip that’ll have you back in town before noon. If you’re still having a hard time fitting adventure in, go back to step one and repeat.
Never forget that finding your adventurer within is the best way to achieve the most success at work, be the best partner or parent you can be and live a passionate, balanced life. While you might be having the time of your life you shouldn’t feel guilty because the best version of you is doing adventures for the ones who are most important to you as well (especially if you take them along).
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