For the most part, this is a collection of a few of my own outdoor adventure stories. Most of these are essentially true, although I make no guarantees. Sure, there are all kinds of adventures and they can happen anywhere and take on a multitude of forms, but the ones included here involve the outdoors in some way.
After years of being involved in, organizing and/or guiding a variety of outdoor adventure trips on both a personal level and as an adventure program owner, I came to recognize that there was one constant in the whole process, that being that a lot of stories get told whenever people get together in the wild outdoors.
My goal in telling these particular stories is two-fold.
First, I hope to at least partly define just what outdoor adventure is. For many years, I struggled to come up with a concise description of the term, especially as I marketed my adventure trips and programs to the general public. Most of the definitions I found mentioned risk, death or struggle, none of which are words that help sell an idea, trip or program. I also soon came to realize that there was a perception that most adventures were done by extreme athletes, pushing the skill limits of whatever it was they were doing. I knew from my own past experiences, that while there were times that some of that was around, for the most part, my own adventures had typically involved a wide array of mostly ordinary people. Sure, there’d been a few physically gifted individuals along the way, but for the most part, the vast majority of compelling adventure characters that I’d been around were just “regular folks” who almost always ended up doing interesting and sometimes extraordinary things. None had a death-wish, but as I’ve come understand, all had a strong curiosity and were simply “game” to see or do something new.
While none of these stories give a precise definition of the term, I think (or at least hope) that they create a “feel” or describe a part of just what it is. I’m still not convinced that there is a short and concise definition, but am confident that people who are involved in adventures, whether in reality or via story, ultimately come to understand what it is.
My second goal is to simply pass along practical information related to the broader outdoor adventure concept, specific adventure activities and various adventure locations. Insights into things like where to go, what gear to use, expected weather, and the list goes on………. are important (if not critical) to the whole process of preparing for and being involved in outdoor adventure.
So, hopefully these stories will provide useful insights or inspire you to experience your own good adventure. If you’re reading this, more than likely you’re not physically outdoors in one of those places at the moment, although hopefully with this, you can kinda be.
I want to be clear about one thing- outdoor adventures are for everyone. These are not stories about outlandish fetes accomplished by cutting edge physical specimens pushing their limits (although some involved outlandish events). They’re mostly about “gamers”, or people who just want to be participants, simply acting on their curiosity. Each got themselves prepared in their own way, and then just headed into the unknown,
So, take a break from your daily grind. Lean back against a tree, stare into a campfire, follow a road that isn’t on the map, take a breather, see a whole wild world stretch out before you from a mountain top, hear the rain pounding on the tent as you drift off to sleep. Wonder, dream, ponder…….
Be inspired and then go out and inspire others to take a step forward down some unknown trail!
Some Background: To reiterate:
A lot of well known adventurers have offered their own definitions or descriptions of the term, “adventure” in the past. While in many cases, the definitions are concise, I’ve found them to be quite complicated and typically in need of a good bit of discussion and interpretation. South Pole Explorer Roald Amundsen described it as “poor planning”. Early Everest explorer George Mallory answered the question about why he wanted to climb Mt. Everest by saying “because it’s there”. I personally adapted Louie Armstrong’s description of jazz, by saying that if you have to ask what outdoor adventure is, you’ll probably never know.
I knew, all along, that each of the famous descriptions mentioned above was true in its own way. I felt like I understood the concept myself and sometimes felt like I did a good job of explaining it, albeit with a lot of words, although I never felt like I had a good, solid, short, comprehensible definition, that could be shared over and over again.
Then, after years of being out on the trail, sitting around campfires, doing long bike rides, hanging out at the bottom of top rope rock climbs, climbing big and not so big mountains, going to off the beaten track places, and just adventuring in general, I came to a few realizations about the subject. First, I went on adventures with all kinds of people, many of whom seemed to understand (although they typically couldn’t verbalize) the concept, which repeatedly confirmed in my mind that there was indeed a definition. Second, is that a lot of stories get told while in the midst of adventures. And third, that those stories and the adventures they inspire end up doing the best job of explaining just what it is.
Granted, adventures and stories about adventures are not necessarily short and/or concise. In my mind, I’ve come to accept the fact that there really is no short version to the whole bigger story of just what adventure is.
So, Who am I?
I am David Appleton and was born and raised in Denton, Texas. I fell in love with the enchantment of wild places as a toddler and ultimately went on to work as a professional outdoor guide, leader and adventure company owner for some 30 years. Through the years, I traveled to and led groups into a wide array of places doing all sorts of outdoor sports and activities. From climbing on Huayna Potosi and Sajama in Bolivia, Mt. Hunter in Alaska and Argentina’s Aconcagua; to mapping lost trails and trekking the remote reaches of Copper Canyon; mountain biking Porcupine Rim, Slick Rock and Poison Spider in Moab along with Colorado’s Monarch Crest and more than just a few rocky, obscure trails in the Texas Hill Country; exploring jungles in the Oriente of Ecuador and on Costa Rica’s Osa Peninsula and to backpacking the Wind River Range, Mexico’s Maderas del Carmen and all over the Colorado Rockies- I was ultimately able to experience an astounding array of some of the world’s greatest adventure destinations. And on top of it all, I got to do it with a wide array of compelling characters.
I ultimately based my business, Outpost Wilderness Adventure (OWA), in the Tarryall Mountains of Colorado. Currently, I reside in The Texas Hill Country.
How this works
As mentioned, this is a collection or compilation of adventure stories. Within many of the stories, you’ll find both interesting insights and practical information about adventure locations and specific adventure sports or activities. To that end, there’s a link page (called “Adventure Recommendations”), that contains links to sites I can personally vouch for, which can be accessed from specific stories by clicking on the photograph at the end of each story .
And so….. read about, dream of and prepare for– your own Outdoor Adventure