“You guys might not know this, but I consider myself a bit of a loner. I tend to think of myself as a one-man wolf pack. But when my sister brought Doug home, I knew he was one of my own. And my wolf pack… it grew by one. So there… there were two of us in the wolf pack… I was alone first in the pack, and then Doug joined in later. And six months ago, when Doug introduced me to you guys, I thought, “Wait a second, could it be?” And now I know for sure, I just added two more guys to my wolf pack. Four of us wolves, running around the desert together, in Las Vegas, looking for strippers and cocaine. So tonight, I make a toast! Expanding the group I go out with.” –Alan, The Hangover
For the longest time I struggled to find people to do stuff outside with. I loved hiking and mountain biking but struggled to find consistent partners and often found myself hiking or biking alone due to the lack of available people. I, like Alan, was a one-man wolf pack. Eventually, when considering a career change, I looked to the outdoor industry in hopes of finding a fulfilling career and bolstering the group that I got outdoors and recreated with. That change took me to Eastern Mountain Sports and quickly grew my “wolf pack.”
In fact, EMS was so good to me that I both grew my group and expanded the activities I participated in. My group and interests grew quickly, as I found new sports and opened myself up to new activities. Before I knew it, I had more people to do stuff with and things to do than I could keep up with. I tried new sports, met new people, and found new passions as climbing and skiing replaced hiking and moutain biking. Eventually I settled into the sports that I was truly passionate about and developed a group of like-minded friends with similar skill, ambitions, and availability. I had found found my wolf pack, and we ran.
However, time marches on and I currently find myself living a little further away from my “wolf pack,” making getting together on a day to day basis very difficult. Furthermore, our lives have changed as the years have passed, leaving us in different positions and with various commitments besides running with the “wolf pack”–kids, school, work, wives, and girlfriends all take up more of time these days than they used to. More often these days I find myself out skiing, bouldering, or running alone wondering how I became a lone wolf yet again.
The realization that I was becoming a one-man wolf pack led me to start looking to for new partners once again. However, this time I am in a stronger position knowing the what, where, and how of many outdoor activities; the only questioning remaining is the who. Having an ample enough gear room to outfit both myself and someone else has left the the door open for the psyched and available (especially the available). I’ve made calls to old friends, old co-workers, and current co-workers in search of new members for my wolf pack. While finding full-time partners has proven difficult, there seems to be no shortage of people who can get out for a day here and there.
This winter I’ve tapped many to join my wolf pack and it has made for an interesting season. While I might not be running in the tight wolf pack I once did, I have been cobbling out a fun winter with a bunch of partners based on their availability. Even though getting something together might involve a few more phone calls these days, the rewards have been great as I’ve been reacquainted with old friends, spent more time with people whose company I enjoy, and have more appreciation for the time I do get with the old wolf pack. Many of the people coming out this season bring varying degrees of skill, fitness, and intensity, creating a different vibe each time I go out. It has made for an interesting season, as my partners and expectations have shifted on a day to day basis. The one thing that hasn’t changed though, is I am still having fun and still stoked on getting out.