“say that i starved, that i was lost and weary
that i was burned and blinded by the desert sun
footsore, thirsty, sick with strange diseases,
lonely and wet and cold, but that i kept my dream!”
― Everett Ruess
I’m drawn towards books about adventure, discovery, and overcoming incredible odds. I admit, I’m a book nerd. Two days ago I finished reading about the great Apache chief Geronimo. His ability to continuously allude 1/4 of the entire United States military was dumbfounding. Before that I read about the 16th century conquistador Francisco Pizarro and how he and 168 other conquistadors successfully took down the Incan empire which was 10 million strong at the time. I was and am baffled by these stories. Last night I began reading of the story of Everett Ruess, the 20 year old poet, writer, artist, and explorer who disappeared in 1934 in Utah as he cast aside the constraints of society to live free.
What is it that draws us to these stories? More than that, why are we drawn to adventure?
Yesterday afternoon I loaded up my bike to head into the Gorge to ride and explore. I had a certain route in mind to ride in Post Canyon in Hood River. Between stops for photos, falling, digging in the leaves as I had thought a part had fallen off my bike, and climbing over downed logs the whole ride was nearly three hours. Was it truly an adventure? While it certainly wasn’t noteworthy to ever reach the pages of an adventure book it was enough to satiate some of the thirst I had (even though it’s a popular well-trafficked trail network).
We’ve heard it said, there are pioneers and then there are settlers. Which one are you? This is more than a quick jaunt on your bike on a Sunday, but more or less about the trajectory of our lives. Do we play it safe and look for stability in life or are we drawn towards endeavors and even careers that, while may not be constantly life-threatening, but have a sense of adventure, thrill, and the sense of a journey?
Mountain biking is a good vehicle (pun intended) to take us places. This collection of well-engineered parts is the delivery system to get us where we want to go … or dream of going. Whether we’re taking bikepacking trips deep into the backcountry or experiencing the thrill of downhill runs on trails with massive berms and tabletops, it is the thrill of adventure and excitement that we seek. That is a common bond within the mountain biking community.
One can surmise that our longing for thirst and adventure comes from the realization that we all live rather comfortable lives. I’m not talking extreme wealth, but in light of history and the growth of wealth, advancements of technology, and the improved standard of living many have moved beyond the mundane existence of survival. With that said, I am mindful of 2 billion of our brothers and sisters who still live in slum communities seeking to simply survive. Our mission in life should not complete until basic needs are met around the world with us playing whatever role we can no matter how big or small.
Compared to the rest of the world we have options. Sure, we live comfortably … maybe too comfortable. That’s why there’s this thirst for adventure. It could be found on adventures in the backcountry as well as living a life intentionally giving it away for the betterment of others … or even both. I vote for that. Meaning, while we’re drawn towards adventure and excitement we can satiate that thirst in multiple ways simultaneously … exploring, adventures, and the like. At the same time seeking the welfare and betterment of others is also equally thrilling and meaningful. The good news is we don’t have to choose Option A or Option B … we can do both.
Words by Sean Benesh, Loam Coffee Founder and Brand Manager. Photos by Aaron Lesieur