Thankful for Outdoor Experiences

A holiday at a sunny, all-inclusive, Mexican resort doesn’t seem too dangerous – until an explosion rocks the worlds of everyone involved. And some people think backcountry and outdoor activities are too risky? Walking into a resort restaurant sounds pretty perilous too.

Personally, I’m not a big risk-taker. I don’t ski out-of-bounds, I don’t like climbing without a top-rope, and I’m not big on speed. That being said, I live for the backcountry. I love the sense of adventure in scrambling to the top of a peak, I appreciate wildlife encounters (bears and snakes – usually not ‘til after the event, but hey…!), and I relish the opportunity to break out of the house for a mid-winter walk or ski.

For me, getting outside is all about finding peace, a sense of place, and a chance to absorb nature’s boundless energy.

Megan in Waterton Lakes National Park

Occasionally, I’ll break out of the norm and push beyond self-imposed limits. I’ve skied across glaciers in whiteouts, agreed to be buried in a mock avalanche to be rescued by a dog, and even spent a night in an igloo. Cold and I are not the best of friends, so if you don’t think this is pushing my personal limits, think again. I don’t know where I’d be without a down coat in my pack.

I read something recently about a “reverse bucket list.” It’s all the things you have done in your life and are grateful you did. When I think about it, it’s the events that push the limits that come to the forefront of my list. Like learning to surf in Costa Rica – even when you really can’t stand water on your face and you spend more time under the board than on top of it. Like strapping on a pair of crampons and swinging a set of ice tools for a climb up a frozen waterfall –height and cold all in one fell swoop. Like hiking in narrow slot canyons in southern Utah with faded midget rattlesnakes – and attempting not to panic when you can’t turn around quickly.

Don’t wait until you feel that life is starting to pass you by or you get a wakeup call because of an accident or health issue to start checking off a bucket list. Start pushing your personal limits now. Take a bit of a risk.  Get active outdoors. Do it with knowledge, the right gear, and good companions and risk is minimized.

And then, when others start saying “I should’ve…”or “I wish I’d…,” you can say “I did” and be thankful for it.

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