At any rate, this weekend I was thinking about risk tolerance, and how it is higher for some people than others, but is also dependent on what adventure you are pursuing. For example, my tolerance for lightning is a lot higher than the Freak of Nature's, but she is more tolerant of scary winter driving. I can feel comfortable in a kayak in an ocean swell, but the volunteers I used to bring along weren't quite as happy about it. And so on.
On Saturday I trudged up Hurricane Creek on my snowshoes, avalanche hunting. Now that conditions have moderated some, it was a good time to see what wild weather events had occurred in my backyard. Sure enough, there's this one:
But to my surprise, this one, in a place where I had imagined was safe to travel.
|Doesn't look as impressive as it is. This one made a whole new path through the woods.|
Immediately I felt lame for turning around. Grumpily I hiked back down the snowy road, pausing to help some people get their truck out of the ditch (Note: Who doesn't bring a shovel when attempting to drive a non-plowed road with over a foot of snow on it? Who?!) Why hadn't I kept going? I don't think an avalanche would propagate...Had I been too cautious, lost my outdoor edge?
Later, a friend implied I should not have gone alone. "What about the buddy system?"
So there you have two extremes, a man who thought all was fine and a woman who thought I had been unsafe. In the end, you can always find detractors, those who say you should not have climbed that peak or camped alone or wait, I've done it a million times, why wouldn't you...
We've all turned around because someone in the group wanted to (and you have to, sometimes, if you want to keep outdoors friends going with you) and we've all kept going when that voice has said, You know, you really shouldn't...One of the benefits of solo travel, though, is that you can develop your own inner voice. If you always go with other people, you won't learn what it has to say.
Or not. I don't know. All I know is, now I want some lemonade.
|Sacajawea in the distance. For another day.|