Adventure is one of those words that can mean very different things to different people. What would your “ultimate summer adventure” look like? Hopefully we’ve at least touched on a few local outing and travel ideas that fit your definition. Is a weekend of camping at Swan Lake in northeast Washington’s Ferry County with a meandering day hike up Thirteenmile Canyon up your alley, or is an epic mountain bike trip to Rossland, B.C. or a tour of historical mining sites in Wallace, Idaho more your style? Either way, it’s often the flow of the trip – the quality of the experience, your ability to relax and enjoy it and the people you’re with – and not necessarily the destination or a specific accomplishment that makes the most lasting memories.

In her story “Planless: A Journey Back to Loving What You Loved,” on page xxx, OTM contributor Ammi Midstokke recounts a phase in life when she poured too much of her vital life energy into training and preparing for the next competitive bike or foot race. Then one year, training for the next big race became enough of a burden that it lost its appeal and she took a different path with a focus on micro-adventures: unstructured daily rides, runs and crag sessions that were more about the experiences than some other final, over-planned end. She felt better and that shift of approach, which included added cross-training as a natural byproduct of doing whatever outdoors activities sounded the most fun each day, had the additional benefit of giving her a performance boost in the next race she signed up for.

Allowing for unplanned time, combined with the ability to discover or cultivate the adventure and wild magic in the simplest of summertime experiences, could be the thing that’s been missing from your summers. Over-filling a summer bucket list with too many trips, barbecues and calendar commitments can become a burden that stresses us out as much as that pasty guy who never gets outside because he works too much, fretting over the shadow of the bosses’ iron fist. Try taking the time from your planned trips, training regimen and race schedule to squeeze in some under-structured time on the trails, beaches, rapids and mountains right in your own backyard and learn to enjoy the simplest, most basic outdoor experiences again. You know, the kind of everyday outings that most likely inspired you to fill up the garage or corner of your basement with so many boats, bikes, skis, tents, sleeping bags, fly rods, running shoes and race medals in the first place. //