Hard Knocks

Ammi Midstokke to share outdoors mistakes at 2018 Expo to inspire safer adventuring

Adventure writer and Out There Outdoor contributor Ammi Midstokke is no stranger to the outdoors, mistakes included. And she’s not afraid to laugh at herself for the benefit of others. Midstokke will share her embarrassing stories in hopes that others will take the needed time to pause during outdoor activities and continue safely.

Midstokke cites a kind of arrogance-experience cocktail that other outdoors enthusiasts may be familiar with.

“Many of these mistakes are created by our own arrogance or our trust in our ability to overcome any challenge,” says Midstokke.“We make mistakes all the time, whether outdoors novice or expert, but I find there are a lot of clear ones that can cascade into catastrophes easily avoided.”

The outdoors already involves a certain level of risk that we take on whenever we walk out the door. We can work to limit that inherent risk through preparation and common sense choices, like bringing the right map, says Midstokke.

“I always think [bringing the right map] is highly overrated until I’ve been lost for twelve hours in the backcountry,” says Midstokke.

During her presentation, Midstokke plans to share a few of her backcountry faux pas in order to help others avoid the same mistakes, or maybe just sympathize. Midstokke says she has the habit of doing the “stupidest things in the most wonderful places.”

Midstokke with bruised nose after "trying to stop a boulder with her face"
“My dad always said, ‘If you’re gonna be dumb, you better be tough,'” says Midstokke. Here’s a photo of Ammi after trying to stop a boulder with her face. (Photo: Pete Clayden.)

One such experience involved Midstokke being outsmarted by a cute, fluffy fox in the subarctic Patagonia near the Darwin Range:

“I made a fire and was watching this curious fox come over to my tent where my food bag was sitting. I would shoo him away if he got too close. Then he decided to check out my socks drying near the fire. He casually dragged one a few feet off, watching me. He dropped my sock a ways out of my camp, and as I went to pick it up, he darted back to my tent and took off with my food bag in the flash of an eye. I stood there dumbfounded with a soggy sock in my hand, too tired and shocked to cry.”

Midstokke plans to share similar stories at her presentation, in service of the idea that it’s okay (and maybe even good) to admit when we’re at our limits in the outdoors.

“It takes a certain amount of vulnerability to share our mistakes with humility and humor, and all of that is necessary to have safe and enjoyable experiences outside,” says Midstokke.

Join us at the Spokane Great Outdoors and Bike Expo on Saturday, February 24, at 11:30 a.m. for a few stories that will inspire you to set your ego aside. Midstokke says the talk will apply whether you’re attempting an alpine first ascent or walking in the park with your pocket dog.

“With any luck, I’ll be over-caffeinated and unintentionally share embarrassing stories,” says Midstokke.


About the Spokane Great Outdoor and Bike Expo:

Where: The Spokane Convention Center, 334 W Spokane Falls Blvd, Spokane, WA 99201

When: Saturday, February 24, 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. and Sunday, February 25, 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Tickets here

More Info here


Lisa Laughlin is a contributor and digital editor for Out There Outdoors. 

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