Not every adventure can be epic or even successful. It might look like we do some pretty sweet stuff, but believe me - we've had our share of adventure failures. In case you don't believe me, let me regale you with a couple tales.
Justin loves to ski. I was six years old the first time I saw snow. I'd never lived in a cold place until I started university in Nebraska, and in case you're not familiar with the state, there is plenty of snow but absolutely no place where one could properly learn to ski. A flat frozen hell hole. Okay, that's a bit extreme. Let's just say that I didn't enjoy camping in corn fields and chipping a half inch of ice off my car curtesy of freezing rain. After Nebraska came California, and I was too busy surfing to even think about skiing. Plus, snow was something that just dusted the mountains from time to time. In our final year in good old Cali, we actually got enough snow to make it worth a trip into the mountains to a local ski slope, and Justin was determined to turn me into his future ski partner. I was excited to embark on a new adventure, but also terrified. Now you might be thinking terrified of crashing and being injured, but it was more like terrified of people watching me crash. Oh the shame. And that's the problem with California - there's too many darn people so someone is bound to witness your every mistake. Anyways, we rented my gear, practiced snowplowing, and then it was time to take a lift to the top of the bunny hill. It went something like this.
Justin: Okay, so we're going to wait until a chair passes and then we'll slide out right behind it to wait for the next chair. Then you just hold your poles in one hand and watch behind you so that you can sit down when the chair reaches you.
Me: I don't think there's going to be enough time for me to shuffle to the right spot before the next chair comes. What happens if it hits me in the legs before I'm ready to sit down?
Justin: You'll probably fall down and then they'll just stop the chairlift so you can get back up and get seated.
Me: That sounds horrifying. I don't even know if I can get back up if I fall down in all this stuff. I'll be thrashing around on the ground like a dying fish and then you won't want to be seen with me for the rest of the day.
Justin: Don't be a negative Nancy. You're not going to fall.
Me: Well can we just stand here and watch a few people get on so I have a better idea what the heck I'm suppose to do?
Justin: I already told you what you're suppose to do, but sure.
Justin: You've watched about 10 people get on the lift. Come on, let's go.
Me: Can we just watch a few more?
Poor Justin. He's very patient. I finally got up the nerve to attempt it, and just like I thought I was a bit too slow getting out to the loading area and was just starting to look behind me when I got rudely bumped by the chair, sort of just fell back against it, and was suddenly getting whisked into the air while Justin frantically grabbed hold of my jacket to keep me from falling off. I was literally half dangling from the chair while Justin worked his arm around under my armpits and heaved me in. I was pretty sure I was going to have chairlift PTSD. And then when we got to the top there was that whole awful business of getting off, which ended in me falling on my face and screaming at Justin for not warning me that we weren't going to disembark onto level ground. As you can see my first attempt at skiing definitely had some #adventurefail moments. Fortunately, I've been getting a lot more practice skiing now that we're back in the Northwest, and I'm happy to say that I'm now a competent chairlift rider. However, judging from this gnarly bruise I got on our last ski outing, I'm still having #adventurefail moments.
Climbing has to be one of the coolest sports. People who climb just seem so badass, and who doesn't want the sculpted arms of a Grecian god? I don't know about you, but I certainly do and so I've been determined to tackle climbing for a number of years now. Although not his favorite sport, Justin climbs so I cajoled him into buying me gear and getting us a new rope. Some friends told us that there was a place just outside town with some pretty easy sport routes, and so late one afternoon after we got off work we threw our stuff in the car and headed off to check it out. For whatever reason we couldn't seem to locate the really easy route that our friend had assured us he'd had his knee high kids climbing. So after some more walking around Justin goes, "This route doesn't look too bad. I'll set it up for you to top rope so it will be nice and easy." I pride myself in being a model student, so even though it was pretty boring I dutifully followed him around while he chattered about anchors and knots. Finally, the route was set up and I was feeling pretty stoked. Oh yeah, that's the other awesome thing about climbing: getting to put chalk on your hands. Anyone else feel like an Olympian getting ready to compete on the high bars? I started climbing and things were going well until about half way up when I ask Justin to give me some slack and there was no response. I though he hadn't heard me, but when I asked again he insisted he'd already given me slack.
Justin: I've given you a bunch of slack. Just keep going.
Me: Well I don't know what's going on then, because I have no slack whatsoever. There's no way I can climb any further.
Justin: Give the rope a shake incase it's stuck somewhere above you.
Me: Okay... yeah... that didn't work. I'm going to just come down.
Me: I have no slack to come down either! I'm putting my full weight into the harness and the rope won't come any further than this. What the hell! I'm trapped. And it's almost dark. I hate this!!
Justin: Okay, okay calm down. The rope is obviously stuck somewhere. Don't move. I'm going to have to unclip and run up to the top and sort this out.
Me: I don't want to be left alone in the dark! This place is creepy! Why did we come here?!?
Long story short the route I'd taken had pulled the rope into a small crack where it had gotten thoroughly wedged. So wedged in fact that our little adventure ended with Justin free climbing up with a headlamp (probably guided to me by my loud swearing) and setting up a rappel for me from the place where I was stuck. I haven't gone climbing since! But I swear I will try it again. My flabby arms are pretty motivating, and the chalk is calling.
Obviously, we've had a lot more #adventurefails than that, but you get the point. So if you've just had a badly botched adventure, it doesn't mean you suck.... probably. You're just human like everyone else, and now you have a great story of misadventure to regale your friends with. So get out there and keep adventuring!