Friday, February 18, 2011

A Case for...Outdoor Adventures By Gary Fultz

                                    46" pike... Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness
    I'm a thrill seeker in the outdoor arena. Adventure stirs and wakens brain cells my teachers thought were missing. It's not enough for me to to read adventure stories and fantasize surviving the "call of the wild" lifestyle; I want to live it and tell the stories. I love to take people with me and share the adventures as well. As competitive as I am I feel a greater glory when someone else catches the monster fish, takes a great picture of a cow moose with her calves, or gets to chase the bear away from the campsite. Raw rugged adventure... and it's great! So let me build a case for seeking an outdoor adventure.
    I realized early on that everyone's quest on these adventures I was leading was often quite different. Some wanted to see as much country as possible while others wanted a nice view and contemplation time. From spiritual revival to competitive fishing, the individual quests often form as the trip progresses.
     Some gain what they don't seek
      Self confidence, outdoor chef training,  muscles, a reality check, and our smallness in an indifferent environment take some by surprise. Perfect weather and no mosquitoes can become killer storm and black fly hell in a matter of minutes. I have concluded one must die to become one with nature (dust to dust). Black bear often feel entitled to your camp food and may invite themselves at any time (my experience is they really dislike rocks thrown at them). No trip is even close to's an adventure! Why would anyone not do this?
    So why go to all the work of having a wilderness adventure?
    I realize some people have their adventures in the mall looking for deals, while others sense of adventure is on par with going to the other end of the hall for ice. The answer for me is a compilation of many things. I want to know myself when all pretense is stripped away, I want to know my creator and experience His living artwork, I am a bit of an adrenaline junkie (high on the Richter scale),  and I love $100 plates of food (trust me you would pay it) at the end of the day around the campfire.
Bottom line: These kind of adventures began to morph the boy into a man of character and a girl into a woman who can hold her own anywhere.
    Another Bottom line: Honesty
    That lake (15 portages and 35 miles in) you wanted to get to? No short cuts, or any other way to get there; you have to do the work to get to those lake trout. Forgot your matches? Oh well! Weatherman said five days no rain? So much for sleeping under the stars (it's you and a zillion mosquitoes under the same canoe). You thought God was magically encountered in nature? Guess again...God is a person and not a rock, tree, beaver, or storm (a very good place to see his art work and experience Him in person however).

    Bonds: A worthwhile quest
    While nature works through a balance of give and take, people work better through relational bonds.
I've watch the father-son, husband-wife, family bonds grow. Poor relationships, selfish behavior, and personal discomfort bring out the worst and best in people. When the storm hits, when the wind blows high waves, when the bear walks into camp, people tend to work together. 
     There is plenty of talk time in the wilderness. plenty of bonding time for your relationships to grow.
Sitting around the camp fire one evening a teenager shared how she had met with God while sitting on a rock looking over the lake. She had never talked with God informally(and out loud) before. Another teen talked about getting to know his dad "I didn't know my dad was so cool"! A dad gave his son a hug and said "son I've been protecting you too much, you are carrying the canoe tomorrow!"
    I leave you with one more reason for taking a wilderness adventure...
           Five minute exposure from an island in crooked lake BWCAW

Gary D

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