The Pull of Adventure

I should be trying to get some sleep. In a couple days I am going to pay for staying up. This weekend I have been trying to enjoy every minute I can with my family and friends before I head out on another adventure…

I don’t want to leave my family. I don’t want to put myself at risk. I have to. Gravitational pull is something we all experience. Leaving my wife and kids to go tromp around in wild places is not something that everyone needs to do, but I do. The need has a pull on me like heroin on a junkie. I dream of days in the backcountry and wild encounters with the critters that inhabit it.

Like a junkie, I feel extreme guilt when going to do these adventures. This post is not one I planned. This weekend we spent a night in a hotel, took the kids swimming and went to an anniversary party. We had an amazing time. All I could think about was that I was leaving in a few days. Guilt. I felt terrible every time I thought about it.

The trip I am going on this week is especially dangerous compared to my standard elk hunt or deer hunts. A friend and I are backpacking into National Forest and Wilderness Areas in Montana for 4 days trying to fill a couple black bear tags. It really could be a relaxing trip except we are also hunting in one of the highest concentrated areas for grizzly bears. This is something that is new for both of us. I have some backpacking experience but I still am learning as I go.

The thought of something going wrong is eating away at me. I know we are taking every precaution, but it’s a wild place with wild animals. I’ve learned from other backpacking trips that the fun can change in a heartbeat. I am nervous but excited. Part of the reason I want to do this trip is so I can get over my fear of grizzlies (by that I mean, I will feel more comfortable hiking in areas they inhabit).

My family has a greater pull on me than my need for adventure. I know when I get a few hours into the drive I will be thinking about them. At 6am, when I will be about half way to the trailhead, I know I will be wondering if the boys are up yet and what they are doing. Every night around 6pm I will be thinking, “What book are they reading tonight?” I am going to miss them.

These trips seem to recharge me, I come back with a better attitude. Plain and simple, I am better because of these trips. I think Amy understands that. The kids don’t yet but they will when they get older.

This was kind of a short rant but I needed to share it. I will be sure to get couple posts up when I get back in town.



  1. I know that siren call very well Joe. This weekend was almost unplanned as I took the spot on a trip that opened up because someone else backed out at the eleventh hour. I feel the same guilt and feelings of selfishness when I do things like this. But I also know how fulfilled and recharged I’ll be afterwards. It’s still a battle for me, and may always be so.

    Best of luck on this hunt amigo. Each one is different with unique experiences and memories.

    One cool surprise. Liz met us at the end on the trailhead, with a knowing, understanding smile, and a perfectly chilled bottle of champagne.


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