Your Big Adventure

Baxter's Hollow Cave

Can’t believe it’s that time again!  Here in central Wisconsin Canoecopia is right around the corner. March 8th through the 10th.  It’s time once again to see all the gear and hear about all the great adventures folks have had in the great outdoors.  It’s also a great time to mention that some of the best adventures happen right outside your front door. Adventure is just a state of mind.  Like just the other day when we went for a snowshoe hike at a local natural area that we’d hiked a million times before. Only this time my eye caught a shadow in a rock cliff that I’d never seen before.

Well, like I said, adventure is just a state of mind.  It’s the state of mind that tells you to go off the trail and climb a steep snow-covered slope in huge snowshoes simply to figure out what  a distant shadow that caught your eye really is. Yeah, and I landed on my bum more than once on the way up for my effort.

After a workout to reach the foot of the sandstone cliffs, I walked along the bottom of the rock face in the direction of the shadow.  When I finally found it, I was amazed.  Nearly hidden behind the cliff was a 20-30 foot notch where the actual face of the cliff as seen from the trail was falling away from the rest of the formation.  I had to navigate large boulders and snow-covered, slick ice to work my way up into the notch.  Snowshoes provide the advantage of giving you cleats to dig into the ice, however mine are 36 inches long and make navigation a bit difficult.  I was tempted to take them off to make the climb, but I needed the cleats.


Deep inside the notch it felt as if I were exploring the deep meandering slot caverns of Arizona. (With a bit more snow and ice of course) No wider than 4 feet at the top, the notch rose far above my head getting narrower the higher it went.

I wasn’t the first to find this sandstone notch of course, but judging by the names, initials and dates carved in the soft sandstone, it had been awhile since others had stood here.  Some names had been carved into the wall over a century ago.  I couldn’t help but wonder if there were much old native American glyphs faded and overwritten in among the later graffiti.  I’m determined to go back again to spend more time searching the walls.

Sue waiting for me to come down - Click to Enlarge.

Sue waiting for me to come down – Click to Enlarge.

Sue waited with Gryphon at the bottom of the slot. It was a beautiful, but cold day and we couldn’t hang around forever.. places to go and things to do of course.  Still, it was a great adventure.  It really doesn’t matter if you are in your kayak, wearing snowshoes, or just running around in your tennis shoes.  You’re next adventure is right where you are and waiting for you to go for it.  Head down into that little corner of the lake, slip into a cave, hike a new trail, or sometimes, take your compass and go off trail.  You may not be the first to discover something wonderful nearby, but it will be YOUR personal discovery. Your  amazing adventure.

I certainly look forward to hearing all the great stories from around the world that will be on full display at Canoecopia this year including Justine Curgenven presentation on her world-first adventure sea kayaking 1,000 miles around the remote & windswept island of ‘Tierra del Fuego’ with her partner Barry Shaw and the highlights of her 5th volume of “This is the Sea”. There are so many great stories to be told.

Thing is, as we share in all the great stories and images of lands far away, we shouldn’t be “wishing” or “pining for the fjords” either. We make our own adventures both near and far. We’re just a little imagination and a bit of dedication away from our next great personal adventure.  Canoecopia marks the coming of spring in our part of the world.  It kicks off the outdoor season. Now is a great time to plan your epic quest.. around the world or around the next bend.

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