Action – The Key To Great Experiences

by Andy Amick on June 5, 2013

in Camping, Dreams, Kids, Personal

Enjoying the reward of camping in the cold

Sometimes, the best decision is simply taking action rather than doing nothing at all.  As Wayne Gretzky said, “100% of the shots you don’t take, won’t go in”.  Do we know what tomorrow or even the next minute brings?  Nope.  But if you don’t try something new, you can guarantee that it won’t involve the adventures you keep dreaming about.

A Recent Example

Hell's Hole trail in the Mount Evans WildernessThis past weekend, my oldest son and I went camping in the Mt. Evans Wilderness area.  He had been asking to go to this area for over a year and I had finally made a reservation for us the day after school got out for the summer.  Of course, that was also the day that the wind was gusting like crazy and the main interstate through the Colorado mountains got closed down due to snow.  We were scheduled to camp on May 30th, but the weather was acting more like March 30th.

That day, I kept debating whether we should skip the trip due to the wind and the below freezing temps predicted for our campsite elevation of 9500+ feet.  It was a car camping trip so the worst case was we got cold and we warmed up in the car or even drove back home.  That’s not so bad, but I didn’t want my son to get discouraged with camping and not want to go back if the worst case scenario actually happened.

Around 3PM, I finally made the decision to go for it and my son agreed that he still wanted to go on the trip.  Why let a little bit of wind and cold deter us from a trip my son had been looking forward to for well over a year?  For an 8 year old, that’s an eternity.

Taking action.  That’s the way to see if we could enjoy the trip despite the weather.  And we had an awesome time together and enjoyed almost every minute of the trip.

The Right Choice?

Some may think I’m crazy to take this trip with my son.  Some may think I’m not taking enough chances.  But that’s not the point.  We are all different and have different definitions of crazy.  The point is that we each do what we want to do.  If you want it, take action and make it happen.  Or as my younger son says, “I Got This”.

This is especially true with kids.  They don’t experience the same fears and hang-ups that we adults create in our minds.  Kids are very adaptable and actually thrive in new environments.  Plus, if you are thinking of taking what seems like a crazy trip, I’m sure there are other parents that have already done it.  For me, I look at Tanya Koob and I’m amazed and in awe at some of the winter trips they are able to take with toddlers and young kids.  They prepare for the cold, stay in cabins to make it more comfortable, and they have a great time.

For some more info on the risk taking aspect, Meghan Ward has started a series of posts on Taking Risks Outdoors as Parents.  As a new mom, she has been contemplating what risk she is comfortable with, but she is by no means stopping her outdoor adventures.  One of the best quotes from her part 1 post is

Don’t forget to be who you are. Your child will benefit from it.

Maybe this is the key piece to figuring out which trips and actions to take.  If you and your kids want to do it, make it happen.  Prepare properly, be safe, and you’ll have a great adventure.

Would I Make This Choice Again?

This is a great question to ask yourself after you return from a trip you weren’t sure about or after you take action on something that you were afraid of.  Most of the time, the answer is a resounding YES.  The experience and the joy it can bring far outweighs the initial anxiety or fear.

For our recent camping trip, we had a few moments that weren’t exactly fun – our hands and feet got a little cold and our morning drinks were lukewarm instead of piping hot.  That’s a tradeoff I’ll gladly make when you look at what we were able to experience:

cooking over a campfire in the Colorado mountains

First, we cooked over a campfire for dinner and breakfast rather than using a camp stove.  With summer fire bans, we don’t have a lot of opportunities like this in Colorado.  It was the first time for my son and it had been at least 15 years since I had cooked meals over a fire.  To make it even better, we got to cook dinner as a little late season snow was falling.

Second, we had a wonderful time and our morning hike took us up to two miles above sea level the next morning.  We didn’t make it to the top of a peak or go for an incredibly long hike, but we got out there on a new trail and my son got to see some new mountains he had never seen before.  The picture at the top of this post is his celebration picture for grinding up the steep trail to make the 10560 feet elevation mark.

interesting tree growth on our Hell's Hole hike

Third, seeing the “tree manifold” was a fun way to end our hike.  It’s just a random tree that has some weird growth, but we got a kick out of walking by it and looking at how nature can adapt to situations.  It’s nothing too exciting, but it’s a cool looking tree that I thought was worth sharing.

If we had not taken the trip, we would never have had these experiences and we would have been left wondering “what if” about the weather, the food, and the hike.

Get Out There, Take Action

Take action.  Any action.  It’s the only way to find those great experiences.  They won’t simply show up one day by themselves.

This applies to camping trips, but also to any other goals you may have.  Start with any task that will get you closer to that goal.  Then each day, do another task.  Eventually that goal will get closer and closer.  Married With Luggage and their Action Plan For Dreamers is a great resource to get started with taking action towards your goals.  The blog issite and podcast are a great resource for taking action.

For me, I’ll take action every time if it allows me to enjoy a nice campsite, a meal over a campfire, and spending time with my sons even if that includes some cold, snow, and wind.Cooking over fire with a cozy tent waiting.  I'll take this any day of the week.

About Andy Amick
A little bit nutty in general, a lotta bit nutty about bikes. Each of his boys received a bike helmet for their first birthday and the three of them have been biking together ever since.

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  • ah, thanks for the link.

    • Andy Amick

      Tanya, no problem. Thanks for always inspiring us to get out there and enjoy the outdoors more.

  • Great post! I’m so glad you went on your camping trip anyways. We went out for our first camping trip with our 10 week old last night. A few times we wondered if we should really be there, not because of her, but because we were worried we would bother other campers. Our daughter did so well and definitely did us proud. It always gets cold at night up here in the Rockies, but she didn’t complain one bit.

    It’s always worth a try, right? We chose a drive-in site to minimize the consequences should things go bad.

    Thanks for linking to Part 1!

    • Andy Amick

      Meghan, that’s awesome! Glad your daughter stayed warm and everyone had fun. With car camping, it’s easy to bail out if things get too bad. But even when bikepacking with my kids and having no easy bail out, they have always done well even when the weather was not ideal.

  • Oh yes. So agree with you here Andy. It’s too easy as grown ups to be way layed by the small stuff or put off by a little bad weather. But often when we do push through and take action there are few regrets, great stories and memorable experiences. And we teach our kids to get out and not be afraid of the world. Great post. :-)

    • Andy Amick

      Thanks Stuart. Totally agree with you. Part of it is about the experience, but it’s also about teaching our kids through our actions that we can enjoy trips if things aren’t perfect.

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