Blueprints for adventure

Posted by Ken Campbell May 3, 2008 0 Comment 466 views

If you take the time to adequately plan your next trip, you get to do it twice. Maybe more. The planning of the trip can often bring as much enjoyment as the trip itself… it seems that way, for me anyway. I am town-tied this next week – working, family events, and so on – obligations and opportunities that keep me close to home. But I have plans, oh yes, I have plans.

I have maps. And charts. I’ve memorized paragraphs from some of the guide books the way that others memorize Shakespeare, or the book of Psalms. I look online, to see what others have said about my target. Sometimes I actually put together a file filled with snippets of information, some of it that will prove valuable, some not. I photocopy the applicable pages, highlight items in the descriptions that interest me, and I follow the contour lines with my finger, trying to feel the slope of the trail or mentally map the shape of the shoreline. By the time I actually travel to wherever it is I am going, I have already been there a hundred times in my mind.

Over the course of the next six weeks I’ll be making a few excursions to different regions of the Olympic peninsula. An easy whitewater run down the Canyon River, near Montesano. A day hike to the Satsop Lakes. An overnight hike/climb of Mount Constance. The longest outing I have scheduled for the near future is a 4-day coastal trip, a sea kayaking and backpacking tour of some of the most magnificent spots on the wild Pacific shore.

Still, even with all the joy that comes from the planning of any wilderness endeavor, nothing compares to actually breathing the air, tasting the odor of low tide and wood smoke, wiping sweat from the brow. For maximum enjoyment, wilderness requires the tactile approach.

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