Doing it outdoors, with Hope and a Prayer

Notes from the North Woods

Young or old, anglers are all the same age to the fish.

Young or old, anglers are all the same age to the fish. Photo by Joe Hackett.

Occasionally, in my zealous effort to promote getting kids outside, I’ve often neglected a pressing need to do the same for adults.

While I can’t advocate ‘tossing the old folks out in the snow’ as I have with kids, I do believe there’s a real need for programming that would help to connect, or reconnect people of all generations to the treasures and pleasures of the outdoor life. Some sort of program with mountain mentors, if you will.

The situation was brought to my attention when a reader commented on a recent column I had written titled, “Toss the Kids into the Snow.”

He remarked,“ This was a great article. Virtually all that you said (about kids) would work for getting adults involved in any activity, winter or otherwise. So often when people try to teach family or friends (about the outdoors) they forget how long it took them to get “good”.

“They wish for the newbie to be up to their level in a couple of hours, or half a day, max. Too many have been turned away from activities because of that expectation.”

Although I truly enjoy getting children outdoors, it doubles the pleasure whenever a program involves getting out with adults, especially seniors. And it is truly unfortunate that we tend to set our expectations so high when it comes to taking greenhorn adults into the outdoors. We all started as rookies in the wilderness, there wasn’t any spring training.

The woods can be just as threatening to an inexperienced eighty year old as they are for an enthusiastic eight or nine year old.

For nature neophytes, the wilderness can be just as intimidating as Time Square would be for an experienced woodsman. It’s always difficult to be comfortable when you’ re out of both your element, and your zone.

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