Will Call: Trying something new
By the time this goes to print, I’ll be deep in the canyon country.
That’s far from unusual for me, but this trip is something special. See, while my family made frequent trips to Utah throughout my childhood, I never really had the chance to spend a few days camping well off the beaten path with only what I could carry.
In an effort to rectify that, I signed up for Colorado Mountain College’s canyon orientation class. It’s the second such course I’ve taken, and I’m reasonably convinced that I’ll fit in despite being a few years older than standard college age. Even so, I’m nervous. People talk a lot about the benefits of trying something new, but we often underrate how difficult that is.
I, at least, have always been partial toward things I’m already good at doing. That’s particularly easy with a job that gives me a built-in excuse to be a spectator instead of a participant. I’ve had a chance to assess a lot of creative pursuits from afar and consider whether I might have any aptitude for them. If I did give one a try, I’m reasonably convinced people wouldn’t judge me.
Outdoor activities, however, are a little trickier. As a 20-something Western Slope native, people generally assume I already know what I’m doing in the wilderness. That’s mostly true for day hiking, car camping, off roading and the like, and coming along with caving, archery, and cross country skiing. Still, there remain numerous activities I tend to avoid for fear of revealing my ignorance. I remember the shame of having to join the snowshoe group for a middle school field trip built largely around downhill skiing and snowboarding.
As I’ve expressed before, there are some activities I don’t mind missing out on. Backpacking, though, is on my shortlist of skills I think would really enhance my ability to appreciate and interact with our landscape. Luckily, this trip is designed specifically to be a learning experience.
That seems like a rarity as an adult, but actually such opportunities are all around us. Just take a look at your neighborhood bulletin board. Mine happens to be at the Smithy, where there are currently posters for pilates (379-2187), aikido (274-8473), life drawing (firstname.lastname@example.org), open dancing (meetup.com/RFVDance), pet fostering (947-9173) and assisting adaptive skiers and snowboarders (email@example.com). Our own online calendar (tinyurl.com/GSPIcalendar) includes dozens of ongoing events every day, with everything from knitting to chess to ballet to kickboxing.
You may already be booked up, in which case I’m preaching to the choir. For those of you like me — but don’t have the benefit of a job that constantly exposes such opportunities — it’s worth keeping your eyes open. In most cases, you’ll have plenty of opportunity to back out before you actually take off into the desert for five days.
Will Grandbois felt comfortable writing this column partially because he knows his classmates probably won’t get to read it. He can be reached at 384-9105 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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