Adventure Planning: The Risks and Rewards

I love trying new things. I mean, LOVE! Yes, sometimes it is hard, scary, intimidating, and I often decide that something is too far out of my comfort zone to do. But, when I do take the leap, I usually don't regret it. Whether it be something active, like sky diving, or something kind of gross, like gutting a fish or eating weird (to me) food, I'm always glad I tried it and am usually up to do it again. This year, I decided that two new things I finally need to cross off my bucket lists are cross country skiing and fly fishing. For the past three years, all of my best intentions to go on an overnight cross country trip have failed, either due to lack of snow or scheduling conflicts. This year, I committed early to a cross country trip the last weekend in February. The plan is to ski from Badger Pass to Glacier Point, (about a 10 mile trek), then sit back and enjoy the snowy view of Half Dome. Here we are, about 4 months later, and it is 80 degress in Santa Barbara, no storms in sight, and the snow base is not more than 25". 

Last year I bought new ski gear for the first time since I was in middle school. Even though it wasn't a great year, I got some amazing powder days in (and almost lost my new skis!). This year, I blocked out every other weekend to get out of town and ski, and I have only managed one day because the conditions have been so sad. This one day was last weekend, a long weekend in February and the mountain was a ghost town. It was too warm to make snow so they were just moving it around to the few open runs, hoping to get through the week. Of course, with the amazing friends I am lucky to bring along on trips, we still had a ton of fun exploring the Sierra foothills. 

Rivers may be running under the lift but we still found a rockin' good time. 

Showing Mother Nature some love in Big Trees State Park. 

Wine tasting and exploring Murphys.

With all this hopeful planning, did I jinx myself? Don't worry, I don't actually think my thoughts can control the weather. The situation does lend itself to some reflection on adventure planning. When you have few dollars to spend and not a ton of time, how big of a risk do you want to take? For me, my cross country ski trip to Glacier Point has little to no risk. Whether I get to Glacier Point by skis, snowshoes, or running shoes, I'm going to have a blast in to one of the most beautiful places on the globe. What if I don't get on cross country skis this year? Meh. I got on snow shoes for the first time in January and my upcoming trips will boast lots of firsts. 

If you are contemplating a big trip, or at least a large investment of time and money (for transportation, lodging, equipment purchases, etc.) you may be worried about things going pear shaped and messing up your plans. Many unpredictable events may pop up, but weather is one of the many things than can make or break even the best planned trip. How do we handle the unknown?

Plan trips that will be fun, no matter the weather. High winds keeping the lifts closed at Mammoth? Check out the hot springs and then belly up to a mountain bar. I have no problem getting my hopes up but always strive to adjust my expectations to have an amazing time, no matter what. 

Trust your limits. Most of the time my weather woes have to do with too mild of conditions. The opposite can easily be the case, as epic conditions for one person may mean dangerous conditions for another. Don't take risks with your safety or that of others. Again, there has got to be a hot spring around, right?! 

Don't put all your eggs in one basket. I love a big trip better than the next person. That in mind, I am smart about my investments. I can find amazing diving, skiing, and hiking essentially in my backyard. When I throw down for a plane ticket to some distant land it has to be more about experiencing the culture than hoping I get on one epic dive. Perhaps some time in the future, when my adventure fund is overflowing, I will have the luxury to chase perfect powder or search for an elusive seahorse. For now, I look at all of my experiences as new and exciting. 

Go with the flow. Adventure is about the journey, not the destination. Regardless of whether your travels go as planned, make sure the goal is to just enjoy experiences as they come to you. Some of my favorites memories are ones I would have never had if my trips went as planned.  

How do you like to handle the unknown when you are planning for your next adventure? Shoot me an email or comment below!