Message From The Director
How do you define adventure? I was asked this question in a recent work group meeting. It is an interesting question, because like so many words in our language it means something different to each individual. What I may count as adventurous may seem boring or easy for another person and vice versa. Years ago, at Sesquicentennial State Park we put up a sign that asks guests as they enter, “what will your adventure be today,” and that sign and sentiment, have remained true to my definition of adventure for years now.
While I still have some big adventures left in me, my idea of adventure has changed from the person I was years ago. I think any adventure must first and foremost, bring you joy! Whether it pushes you to your physical limits or is a relaxing activity, a successful adventure, in my mind, is the happiness it brings you in the moment and the pleasure it brings you down the road as you reflect on it. While an adventure can be a solo activity, many of my favorite adventures revolve around people. They may be friends or family and sometimes they are people I have just met, but the experience is made better by their presence. People, as much as the activity itself, are part of what makes me smile when I remember the adventure.
Through the years, as a park ranger and father, I have had many personal adventures that make me smile: from climbing a fire tower, to snorkeling with family, to learning how to use ropes to climb high in a tree for chainsaw work. I have been involved in controlled burns, search and rescue activities, explored remote resources, floated rivers and have seen parts of our state and country I never would have seen on my own. These memories and the people I share them with make me smile; however, some of the happiest adventures I remember are not ones where I pushed myself, but ones where I helped someone else learn or experience something new.
This month we had two programs where our staff worked with new campers to show them the basics of tent camping. Our ranger teams at Chester and Sesquicentennial gathered to help visitors who were on an adventure. They taught them how to set up tents or hammocks, build fires and to cook on an open fire or in Dutch ovens. Rangers shared stories, made them feel welcome in the woods and gave them an experience that pushed many of them outside their comfort zone. Our parks team was instrumental in making their adventure happen! The experiences they shared will not only bring a smile to the participants' faces as they reflect on them, but they will most certainly bring a smile to the faces of our team when they remember their role in the experience.
The older I get the better the adventure is, especially when I get to take someone else on it. Climbing to the top of Table Rock or watching the sun rise at a coastal park are adventures I love, but when I share them with someone who hasn’t had them before, they become even more special. I bet you too have adventures you regularly take because they make you happy. It could be camping, hiking, paddling, fishing or one of many activities we have in parks, and hopefully it's one you get to participate in, frequently. As you get ready for your next adventure, I encourage you to find someone to share it with. Seeing their experience on a trail or trip you have enjoyed many times will make all the difference in the memory. Come see us and share your adventure.