While I was exiting the mountain the other day I passed a parked Subaru with the licence plate ‘GET RAD’ (I wish I had gotten a picture) and it really made me think about what being outdoors, and being an outdoor athlete, means to me. I find myself becoming less concerned with ‘getting rad’ and more concerned with getting out. As my life has gotten more complicated and I find myself with more responsibility, I am getting more comfortable with smaller/closer trips and am not as concerned about big, flashy objectives. Getting outside and enjoying myself has become more important to me than how my activity is perceived.
The benefit of doing these smaller, closer trips is that I can do them with more frequency than more involved trips. I live within a half hour of Lincoln Woods, Crow Hill, Mount Wachusett, and “The Stash,” and while none of these places are world class, they are all very good; the more you explore them, the more new possibilities open up. More important than that is that I can visit all these places and still make an afternoon shift at work. These small trips leave me psyched when I am able to do the more impressive trips, but also leave me better prepared. I find that I am not burned out by the travel and time commitment that big trips require.
Also, because I can do these smaller trips with more frequency and because they are shorter, they tend to be more intense leaving me with improved fitness and skills for the bigger trips. Lastly, I am able to dial in my systems for the bigger trips. Over these small trips I am able to tinker with my layering, how I pack, and what equipment gets used, allowing me to be extremely efficient on bigger, more involved, and more committing adventures.
So maybe I am not ‘getting rad’ as much as I used to, but I am getting out more than ever. Remember that I am doing more than a small hike up Mount Wachusett, I am also honing my skills in preparation for my next opportunity to ‘get rad.’