Recently, my friends and I skinned a few hours up Ophir Pass on a bluebird day. Everything felt ideal. Good snow. Good crew. Good ‘tude. Unfortunately, at our transition point after ripping off my skins, I discovered thick patches of skin glue stuck to the base of my board. Riding down, I couldn’t initiate turns. Imagine how enjoyable sledding down a snow hill on a shaggy carpet would be. Actually, no need to imagine because here’s a video.
I encountered a familiar feeling then, one where my throat tightens, my jaw pulls down the rest of my face, and my nose feels full of needles. Nothing seemed to matter anymore except how much fun I wasn’t having. It’s the feeling of a desperate, frustrated sob trying to break out.
On lots of past adventures, and still occasionally now, these moments suck me into the following thought process…
… which is… dumb. Though Todd definitely deserved better, this broken logic turns difficult obstacles into impossible ones. Adventures are full of challenges that sometimes don’t work out. This element of uncertainty is largely why they’re adventures rather than a stroll in the park. But sometimes I forget that. Sometimes it’s easier to wallow and list every (mostly illegitimate) reason to give up rather than flounder up a steep-AF slippery ascent or deal with broken gear. I know that’s irrational and unhealthy. So when I encounter these hard obstacles and the cry/no-cry moments they bring out, I’m working on confronting them with this other flowchart.
It’s not perfect, but it breaks down the feeling of insurmountableness into smaller, surmountable tasks and steers me away from self-defeating sinkholes.
There’s nothing wrong with adventure cries. Many outdoor tears have a cleansing, cathartic effect. There are victory tears that come out from pure exertion and happy tears that come out in appreciation of nature, life, and how big and wondrous the universe is. But self-pity tears that prevent me from figuring out my next step? Be gone!
Now back to that splitboarding trip. Flopping/hiking down the mountain was not fun, but I didn’t cry and I didn’t undeservingly blame myself. Instead, I appreciated the views we earned and got to practice taking action shots of my friends shredding. Sometimes the adventure you have isn’t the adventure you planned. It’s nothing to cry about.