Backpacking 200 miles on the John Muir Trail last summer flipped me into full adventure mode.
Iíve always loved doing slightly crazy stuff, but the craving has cranked up a notch recently. I donít need life-threatening risk or wet-your-pants danger, but what makes me happiest is exploring new places and challenging myself to do things Iím not sure I can do.
In the past few years, Iíve swum around Manhattan Island with a friend, ridden my bicycle across Iowa, and skied from hut to hut in the back country of Colorado. Iíve snorkeled with whale sharks and scuba dived beneath hundreds of schooling hammerhead sharks in the Galapagos Islands, but smaller adventures soothe my soul, too. Thatís why I ride my bike to work every day and plunge into Barton Springs in the dead of winter when itís still dark outside.
All of it makes me feel alive. Whatís life if not a series of grand adventures?
I wrote about this realization in a story last week.
Since then a whole slate of possibilities have unfurled in front of me. Readers have emailed their support and offered invitations to join them on incredible adventures.
One emailed to suggest that I climb Longís Peak at Rocky Mountain National Park with his son, an experienced mountain climber. The son emailed to reiterate the offer.
One wrote me a letter, packed with photos, recommending that I head to Madagascar to climb rocks and commune with chameleons, lemurs and baobab trees.
Another reader (and ultra cyclist who Iíve interviewed several times) suggested that I participate in a 200-mile bike race in the Hill Country at the end of March. Iíve already visited with a cycling coach about the possibility. Maybe itíll happen.
This weekend, Iím headed to West Texas, where I plan to pitch my tent Ė alone Ė somewhere in Big Bend National Park. As much as Iíve camped, Iíve never done it completely alone. I want to know what that feels like.
And then thereís Matt Walker, who leads expeditions up some of the planetís most famous mountains. Heís invited me to join him on an expedition to climb Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania.
And you know what? Iím actually considering it.
Iíll let you know how things pan out. And if youíve got another idea, let me knowÖ]]