death

Adventure: How much is too much?

I received a rather unsettling email from a fellow blogger yesterday. In it, she updated me on her daughter, who fell off a cliff in Indonesia and broke her back.

The email:

“In that discussion a few weeks ago about youngsters feeling a need to prove themselves in an adventure situation, I told you about my daughter who had fallen off a cliff in Indonesia. She ended up getting to the Spine Hospital in Perth and she had a broken back. Sounds awful but she is very lucky right now, 4 cracks with no nerve involvement. And she should heal OK if she takes it easy for a few months. No carrying her backpack, no hiking. Just wanted to bring you up to speed on her injuries.

I get concerned with some of the posts that are all “rah rah” about bungee jumping and other adventure activities. There are so many damn idiots out there who have a bucket list and don’t engage their brains in the decisions.”

She’s right. You need to “engage your brain” while pursuing adventure. Think about the consequences. Is it really worth it?

Maybe to you, but what about the people who love you? Nobody wants to fall off a cliff and break their back. Nobody wants to die surfing a monster wave. Nobody wants to drown under a log in a whitewater river.

People do, though. And their families are the ones left picking up the pieces.

So step back for a moment. Evaluate the situation. If the chances of you dying or getting severely injured are significantly high, reconsider. You don’t have to be a hero. Live to have another adventure.

I ask you: How much is too much?

How many close calls have you had outdoors?

When it comes to doing dumb adventurous stuff in the great outdoors, sometimes Mother Nature kicks your ass and nearly kills you.

Fortunately for me, I’ve only been in a few bad situations. The “best” example I can think of was when two of my buddies and I decided to canoe a raging, flooded river.

At one point, the canoe tipped, and the three of us were scattered in the river trying to collect gear. One buddy and I were able to grab the canoe, but flipping the thing in a swift current was impossible.

Eventually we were carried over a flooded island, where somehow the two of us got wedged underneath the canoe which was jammed between two trees.

I remember the water filling up what little space we had to breathe, and then looking over at my terrified friend and thinking “this might be the end.”

I have no idea how we both got out from underneath the canoe, because my foot was caught in something and we were pinned downed pretty good. But we did.

We were left standing waist deep in floodwater in complete shock when we realized we had no idea where our other buddy was. We also thought we lost the canoe. We were stranded. I’ve never felt so hopeless.

After a while we heard a small engine struggling up the current, and we knew we had to flag the boat down. Turns out the guy actually saw us getting in trouble from across the river and came to help. He also said our buddy was about a mile downstream. With the canoe.

I’ve had a few close calls since then, but nothing nearly as intense as that day.

Now it’s your turn. Tell me about a time outdoors where you thought “this might be the end.”