Finding joy in the outdoors since 1988
The inter-web hasn't done much in the way of getting more people out and about climbing mountains, trekking back-country alpine trails or netting trophy rainbows on scenic hidden streams but there is as many outlets to score cheap gear as ever. I'm sure there are countless others that could be added to the list but here are some that I've dealt with personally and give the thumbs up to. Before you read any further lock your cash up in a hard to reach space because some of these sites are going to put you in front of premium gear at an awesome price.
Here's my go-to for cheaper than dirt adventure gear:
The Sportsman Guide has a wide variety of items from snowshoes to military surplus items. All prices are pretty reasonable but if you catch the site at the right time for the right item you can grab some absolute steals for premium no-gimmick gear.
When you cross the Mackinaw bridge you know your entering a different place. There are no major billboards or shopping plazas, fast food joints, Wal-Marts, hotels or anything else you would expect from a tourists destination. The land is covered with evergreens, almost too much green to take in. The contrast from the bright sky and the dark forest floor is incredible, it's like someone has shut the lights off in the forest without letting the sun know about it. This land is dense. Expect a mixup of dense swampland and evergreen forests as well as small cold streams carrying trout, salmon and steelhead to and from the major surrounding great lakes. In other words if you really want to camp and experience a kind of unexplored frontier that mimics and an Alaska, Montana, or Washington.... This should be on your list.
How to let your woman let you... go outdoors.
It seems silly to think that the big bad man of the house is sometimes caught up and the outdoor adventures took the hit, but hey it's happened to all of us. The look; the one where you give your woman the nod from your frosty truck window and her expressionless thousand mile stare says it all. How many times can you play it off with a grin?
Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned. Seriously.
If your tired of getting the mid-season nag and want some support in the women department, maybe some of my up the sleeve tricks can land you a buck with your woman smiling along. Hey at least you tried...
Enough is Enough
If your a regular to my website you probably don't need the lecture on how awesome life can be. If your here from searching the internet let this be your last stop for a minute. Through all the jumble above I hope you pulled away the value. We need to be proactive in our lives. I've stopped using the excuse of not having enough time, we really do have time. We just need to give the important things in our lives more of it.
Often times we search for answers, but in my opinion we really search for validation. Questions about what we can handle. Can I do it? That's the beauty of surviving adventure. I want to know that I can pull through a challenge where victory isn't certain; where survival isn't certain. I yearn to be tested, as a man I need that test. Today we lack the ritual of that test; it's just not built-in to our upbringing like it used to be. Think about it, defending yourself against the bully, making the cut on the high school sports team, earning the A in that tough class with the hardest teacher. In times of the past it used to be a familiar avenue to serve in the armed forces (Navy, Army, Coast Guard, etc..) before searching for a career.
Do we have anything that puts us to the test and let's us know if were good enough to make the cut of independence outside our parents home?
I've heard the average age most kids move out of the nest now is age 26! Now sure times are hard with the economy and jobs aren't as plentiful, but do we help ourselves? Can we honestly say that we try every avenue to be the best us we can be? I thought I was an exception to the rite of passage, like I knew who I was and what I was capable of. I went to college, listened pretty well in school, played all the sports I could, didn't get in too much trouble growing up so everything should work out great right?
No, Its not; I didn't earn it yet.
There is one phase in my life that I have used as my assessment of readiness, it won't be the same for you, but the feeling that your activity stirs up within your heart WILL BE the same.
The college football stage.
I played small time division 3 college football. You must love football to play at that level.
There is no fame.
Not extras except; the chance to play another competitive down of the game.
I had times that I wanted to quit. Times where I was alone. Times when my body felt as if it were broken. Times when I dreaded hearing the 5:00 alarm. Time when coaches literally scolded me like a puppy. One thing remained at my center throughout the process, I couldn't give up. I decided that I am willing to die in order to conquer this phase. Many were not. We started with 120 freshman, in days there just 40 left, by the time of our graduation only 7 survived to become seniors.
I think that number says a lot.
It says that 5.8% of young men were ready to die for something they love. 5.8% have completed the quest.
To me this sounds very in-line with what a rite of passage process should mathematically equate to. Not everyone is ready. The true adventure and hero that wins or merely survives it won't be the majority, far from it.
I thank God for my days of college football. How would I handle the many situations I've had to endure and figure out as an adult? Video games haven't taught me that? I haven't learned it from watching youtube videos. I wasn't taught that in high school, my parents didn't teach me that. They may have talked about it and mentioned it even but they can't teach you that because you must live that. This lesson isn't a segment of parental lessons covered by a modern parenting psychologists, it's a time of trial where no one can tell you the answer, your confidence is solely created by you and the obstacle can't be modified to fit your comfort.
Now days I coach football. It's bittersweet to see the adventure and trials the young men I'm proud of today endure without my ability to truly join them. My role now is to mentor these young men and allow them to find the answers they need to; the most important question they will ask of themselves as men?
Do I have the heart to overcome?
Robbie is the creator of WF and loves to spend time in the outdoors chasing steelhead, upland birds, and the beauty of nature.