Spirit of Adventure

Mystery,  magic, peace and awe of the great outdoors is realized in the DSD’s writing. Here is a quote from Summit Stones and Adventure Musings Blog, “It’s not about escaping from something back here, its more about working it out by embracing the wonderful elements and rainbows out there…” DSD In adittion to informative and […]

Written By Clayton Kessler

On March 13, 2010

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Mystery,  magic, peace and awe of the great outdoors is realized in the DSD’s writing. Here is a quote from Summit Stones and Adventure Musings Blog, “It’s not about escaping from something back here, its more about working it out by embracing the wonderful elements and rainbows out there…”

In adittion to informative and thought provoking commentaries about the outdoors from an outdoor expert, DSD Stones, has a fantastic collection of outdoor blog links that are full of unique outdor information.

“Today, I hold a single rock in my hand, from such a circle, remembering one meaning from within a thousand… Now, I think I will splash just a little bit of paint upon this stone, and place it somewhere special just for you…”

Summit Stones

Summit Stones

Relax, reflect and enjoy DSD’s interview below.

How and where were you introduced to the outdoors?

My earliest experiences about the outdoors, our wonderful wild places, and the adventures we may have out there, were through the engaging literature that is available to us all. I read so much about climbing, hiking, kayaking, canyoneering, and exploring when I was very young. Very exciting stuff! In later years I headed out with family and friends to many of our northern lakes to learn the art of canoeing and camping. After that came years of hiking with fellow adventurers, courses with Outward Bound, and especially great experiences with backcountry Guides, Mountaineering & Climbing Guides, among others. There is nothing like being out on such journeys with an experienced mentor who can share not just about outddoor skills, but also so much about what it ‘means’ to be out there, and the value of those perceptions and memories such can have for the rest of our lives. Now I continue to be introduced to new things about the wild places through the amazing websites now available and time out with young folks whose energy is great to be around.

What has been your favourite outdoor recreations area?

This is a challenging question… Propably my favourite wild place is the one I am in at that very moment… Then there is the adventure activity that I am engaged in within that place. I would have said in the past that the Rocky Mountains were my very favourite, and they still are for certain kinds of climbing, hiking, and solo time away. But it is hard to say that any other outdoor area, such as our northern lakes, our coastal islands, or the deep canyons of the desert are any less meaningful as they are so very different and unique in what they offer to us… Places like Yosemite have made powerful impressions upon me too. Each has such vivid meanings and memories. There has not been a single wild place we have journeyed to over the decades that has not provided us with such gifts… This is likely one of the distinct reasons I believe so strongly in Stewardship, in giving back, and passing forward regarding these vulnerable areas for others to also experience. Maybe… I might say that my favourite wild places these days are the ones I’ve yet to wander in… the ones I now dream about visiting, the ones I so enjoy reading about, checking out the maps, looking over the websites on, and looking forward to about the fellow adventurers whom I’ve yet to meet out there… Such anticipations are priceless too…

Please share an outdoor story related to one of the above areas.

My whole blog on ‘Adventure Musings‘ is about sharing such experiences. I hardly ever talk about the skills needed to wander, except maybe the ones that have to do with the psychology behind why we do what we do out there, and that which has to do with the inspiration, motivation and spirit that are the essential elements of any adventure… One kind of story I could share, has to do with my affinity for visiting the same wild place in all the seasons. I find this to be a very exciting way to wander and have done so in the mountains, the desert, and to many coastal islands. When way up north, this can such a wonderful way to experience a northern lake. Each and every season offers gifts of variety and unique perceptions. One mountain out here near Lake Louise I have hiked all the way around mid-summer, climbed most of its’ routes in early fall, been on snowshoes near for long winter days, and then hiked again when spring was just emerging. That mountain and I have become great friends…

Have you ever experienced a wilderness medical emergency or been lost in the wilderness? If so please describe this adventure and any lessons learned.

I have learned that preparation is everything when out there… Over the years we have experienced everything from being underprepared physically, in not having enough water or food, not carrying the appropriate medical gear – as every wild place can have its own kind of medical emergency, in not being prepared for the navigational challenges that would be needed, and in underestimating what kind of preparation may be asked of us mentally and emotionally… The last two seem to be the most important. Handling adversity out there is not just about understanding the weather or the altitude or an injury, it is also as much about the way we train ourselves to handle these things before they actually occur… If we each journey out there often and long enough, every one of us will likely look back and shake our heads about what we see now that might have happened, and how we were probably not as prepared as we could have been.
I am a bit cautious with technology too. Nothing wrong with carrying a GPS, and I often do, but making sure we know how to do a resection with a compass for example can be invaluable as well.
No time in preparation is lost, but we might be if we do not have in place the knowledge, skills, abilities, and especially the hardiness to respond to such emergencies. One of the best reasons then to head out with experienced persons who can teach each of us about potential mistakes that can be made, and share their wisdom about how such mistakes may instead be opportunities for developing our own earned wisdom for safe and fun adventuring…

Can you share any unique encounters with wild animals?

I often post about this on my blog ‘Adventure Musings’ as well. Experiences with the wild ones themselves are often fundamental reasons why many of us adventure in the first place. These can be elusive, yet powerful and meaningful encounters… I have enjoyed immensely touching moments with wolves and whales, ravens and mountain sheep, among others. The notes from my journals have many memories of these. I think we often hope to not only experience this but also then to develop our own understanding of the symbolism that such encounters may mean to each of us…

If not previously mentioned, have you ever completed a thru-hike or multi-day backpacking trip and what nuggets of wisdom did you glean from it?

While much may be gleaned from day trips, being out for lengthy time periods allows for unique perceptions and experiences. Time becomes very relative, the pace and rythym of everything changes, priorities and how we orgainize oureselves changes, moments become something else… Be it out with a pack or in a kayak, we may learn some very interesting things about ourselves, our companions, and the especially the wild places when we wander for a longer time out there… A friend once wrote, “Going out is a way of going within”… and time can be an important element of that…

What is your favourite outdoor website?

I would have to say that the links I have on my blog are all my favourites. There are many there that are profoundly inspirational, distinctly informational, and so many that provide such wonderful connections with fellow adventurers. Each is very unique and I have tried to be quite selective as to including ones that seem to provide real adventure purpose and meaning in what they present.

What is your favourite outdoor hiking gear store?

Years ago, and I’m dating myself here, it would have been Early Winters. I also like the local specialty shops that have many unique items we may want for caving, climbing, canyoneering, or for journeying out on the water,
I am always on the lookout for new and innovative gear. Many of us who wander become ‘collectors’ if you will. The fun of discovering a new peice of gear and imagining where & when we might utilize it can be an adventure in itself.
Nowadays, I would say MEC, REI, TaigaWorks, Cabella’s, LLBean, and Sierrra Trading Post have all been great resources for whatever we might need.

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