Whether a day at the lake or a month in the backcountry, adventure is where you find it.
Last year I asked the members of our Facebook group Adventure Canoe and Kayak Camping if there is a better name for our group. We are entering our second year with nearly 5,600 members. It seems we truly do have common interests and shared passions.
I chose the name Adventure Canoe and Kayak Camping originally because those are the keywords that I am most interested in and I was looking for people like me to share stories and photos and tips and camaraderie.
There isn´t anything wrong with the name Adventure Canoe and Kayak Camping other than it is too long and in a sense it is too restrictive. Last week a friend declined membership in our group because he only does day paddles on whitewater rivers. He finishes his day with beer and camaraderie at the local watering hole. He´s doing paddling adventures too, just shorter than an expedition. He and so many others like him should feel welcome in our group.
Most of our members probably have more in common with day trippers and week-enders than we have in common with expedition paddlers who spend weeks or months in the wilderness, yes?
Every time we go on the water can be an adventure. Look at the photo above for example. A young girl is on an adventure on a glass smooth lake near Cary, North Carolina. She is in the heart of the famous North Carolina Research Triangle, surrounded by a million people. This is not wildernes but she is having an adventure.
Her adventure may only last an hour, or maybe overnight if she and her friends camp in the forest at the edge of the lake. She didn´t have to travel long hours and hundreds of miles to reach the wilderness of the far north. She found adventure right here at home.
So, our group is still interested in canoes and kayaks and camping and expeditions. We still want to read stories and dream dreams about paddling the famous rivers of the north; the Peace, the MacKenzie, the Churchill. We dream about a sea kayak circumnavigation of an island in the South Pacific, or paddling glass smooth lakes filled with trout and bass in the Adirondacks or Boundary Waters, or following the river 500 miles from headwaters to the seas, such as the Allegheny Highlands to the Atlantic Ocean.
We dream about far off paddle camping expeditions and big challenges. But we are much more than that. We are interested in adventure. We like adventure best when it includes water, forests, beautiful vistas, weather, maps, compasses, campfires, self-reliance, paddle power, solitude, camaraderie with our friends. We seek to feel as if we are an integral part of our ecology and of our environment.
Let´s find a name for our group that fits our condition. We are different from mainstream. We want something more from life. We want to be part of a great adventure even if it is only a day paddle on a semi-wilderness lake in our backyard. What is the best name you can suggest?
Andy Lee is author of Five Hundred Miles to the Sea; Adventure Canoe and Kayak Camping Book 1 and administrator of the Facebook group Adventure Canoe and Kayak Camping. He is chief paddling officer at AndyLeeOutdoors.com.