Use your summer trips to fuel your fall and winter months

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Walking hand-in-hand towards the glaciated Northover Ridge.

Each year, I make a list of summer trips that I hope to do. Every day of vacation is accounted for in a plan that is fantastic (but in retrospect, likely impossible). As summer turns to fall, I find myself comparing my list of summer dreams to what we actually did. There are always some great trips crossed off, but there are usually more than a few glaring omissions. I find myself sitting back wondering where summer went, and pretty soon I’m starting to wonder how it is possible that we did so little. When the glass starts to look half empty, I forget the summer’s awesome experiences. I forget the planned trips that worked out well. And I forget the unplanned adventures that are usually the highlight of the summer. Sound familiar?
 
There is a time and place for lists. Reminders written on a scrap of paper like, “Take out the garbage” or “Pack an extra pair of Ibex socks” are fine. Our counter is littered with recycled envelopes covered in lists of groceries and tasks to do. I sleep better knowing I have a reminder in the morning and I love crossing things off those envelopes! The lesson here: menial tasks and menu items are completely different than the sacred adventures that inspire my days and nights.
 
gearing up

Day 24 of our Over the Divide trip – Gearing up on a cold morning for our biggest day of the trip.

This fall, I have been thinking about ways to focus on the great experiences that we had. These are the positive memories that will propel me through the colder winter months and inspire years of other great summer adventures. Here is what I tried:
  1. 1. Pull the list off the fridge and replace it with a dozen photos from the great trips this summer. In doing this, I found myself asking, “When was the last time I got any pictures printed?” It is great to sit in the kitchen with a morning coffee, and look at a fridge covered in good memories rather than lists!
  1. 2. Pick one trip off the list and squeeze it in before winter. Pack some extra layers and some additional food. Get out there and enjoy it! We are planning to ride the Going to the Sun Highway in Glacier National Park after it is closed to vehicle traffic, because we have heard so many great things about this shoulder season adventure and yet have never done it.
  1. 3. Dream up one trip that is more challenging than anything you did this summer, and use that as your motivation for staying active in the months ahead. One great trip may be easier to accomplish than an entire list. This last point is the most important one, because it diverges from long lists and focuses on the core of the experience – the curiosity, inspiration, and adventure involved in preparing for and pulling off one big, great trip. We learn more when we stretch ourselves and the rewards are amplified when we put ourselves out there. To that end, we have been doing a lot of dreaming recently about a fantastically long and challenging adventure which has me waking up early to go for a frosty morning ride, instead of rolling over in the warmth of my bed. Never underestimate the power of dreams, and keep your lists trivial!

by Ibex ambassador Dan Clark

Follow Dan and his family’s adventures: click here