Tag Archives: adventure

Thoughts in the Wind

Late last August Becky and I spent the night in a tent at 11,700 feet. We left the trailhead at 1pm when it was 75 degrees and gorgeous. When we arrived at out campsite, there was a standard alpine breeze and it was refreshing after our 4,500 vertical foot climb. I was tired but invigorated by the view of our objective for the next day. I thought it might be hard to sleep because i was so excited. But I figured I was tired enough that it would not take me long to fall asleep.

Bek saddle

Shortly before sunset, the wind picked up. It was as if all of a sudden it discovered that it was driving well below the speed limit so it stepped on the gas to over compensate for how slow it had been going earlier. It quickly became a steady  30 mph wind with gusts  up to 65mph. With each shake of the tent, I could feel my chances of sleep quickly blow off the side of the mountain and into the sky.

So there I laid at 8:30pm. trying to figure out how to fall asleep. I thought I would share the thoughts that ran through my head for the next 8 hours before my 4:34am alarm went off.
8:36pm – I bet I will be asleep by 9.
8:38pm – Do I have to pee? I just peed. No way I have to pee. Stop thinking about peeing. The more I think about it, the more I will have to pee. I don’t want to go pee in the wind again.
8:45pm – I can’t believe Becky is already asleep. I want to talk to someone. Should I wake her up? She would be so mad at me.
9:00pm – I wonder how many people camping around me are actually sleeping. It is so windy! I wonder how much wind it takes to blow away a tent with 2 humans in it?
9:45pm – I just heard Eliza giggle. I wonder if I can go sit it their tent and chat. I am bored.
10:08pm – Yeah I have to pee. Dammit. I am going to hold it until morning. I can hold it for 6 more hours right?
10:17pm – These earplugs are not doing anything. Who makes these things anyway? I know I just got a box of 20 for $3 but my fingers do a way better job at this.
10:32pm – Is the wind stopping? Nope. Not at all. Pretty sure this tent is going to rip in half!
10:46pm – Yep I have to pee. And If I hold it, I will never get to sleep. But I don’t want to pee in this wind again. It just vaporizes as soon as it hits the air. I feel like the risk of a mess is to high.
11:01pm – Fine I’ll go pee! Just stop thinking about pee!
11:03pm – (Now outside my tent in my underwear in the wind) Ahhh! it is so windy!
11:18pm – Maybe these earplugs are keeping me awake. I am going to take them out
11:21pm – (Now without earplugs) What is happening?!! I feel like I am going deaf! It is so loud!
12:03am- My mother in law would disapprove of this whole situation
12:37am- Is Becky faking sleep? No way she is really asleep.
1:05am – Did I just fall asleep? Nope. Guess not.
1:40am – “If I was you, I’d wanna be me too, I’d wanna be me too” THIS SONG
2:30am – WIND!!! YOU ARE THE WORST!!! QUIT BEING A JERK!!
3:11am- You think Becky has slept enough that she wouldn’t be mad if I woke her up to make out? I am super bored!
3:43am – DAMN YOU PEE! I am not getting out of the tent again!
4:34am – Snoring.
I finally ripped myself out of the tent around 5:30 and enjoyed one of the windiest, but most incredible sunrises of my life. With hesitation we finally started climbing. And on about 1 hour of sleep, we summited, descended, and I drove the back to Utah. Finally getting to sleep around midnight the next night. Now that I am sitting here in my quiet bedroom,  I have to say that it was probably my favorite night of the summer.
-Pitt
summit GT

Summit Selfie

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Weekend Warrior or Adventurer?

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I have an office job. I have a wife with a job that she loves. I have a son about to start kindergarten. I have a daughter that has more control over my heart then Cupid himself. I have an unquenchable desire to explore and be on an adventure. Where do I find a balance to fulfill all my roles and pursue my desires?   Work and my career are necessary to participate in society but it also is the biggest hurdle. Modern society has put many of us in quite the predicament. Most people complain about how out of whack they feel when they get off schedule. Routine is seen as a savior and not a hinderance. At an early age we get the habit of making excuses because we do not have time. Or that we cannot do something because it does not line up with our normal routine.

The past few years there has been a huge increase of people that are quitting their 9-5, selling all their non essential belongings and hitting the road all in the name of adventure. #vanlife. They cannot handle the daily routine anymore. I understand this. I have thoughts of walking out the door of my office job and never looking back. I would love my life to be one big endless adventure. But I also want my wife and kids to be happy, have a social life, school experiences, a chance to have some roots if they want. It is hard to balance the drive for adventure and the desire to be home with my family.

A few years ago a guy named Alastair Humphreys introduced the idea of micro adventures #microadventure. Asking the question “What do you do with your 5-9?” In modern life, we are all sucked into the idea that the most important part of our day happens between 9-5. 40 hours a week we are required to be at work, school, or giving our time to someone else. That leaves 128 hours a week for us to accomplish other things in life. Yes we have to sleep, but most of us are willing to sacrifice some sleep every week to binge on a Netflix series. Yes we have to run errands, grocery shop, attend to responsibilities, But again most of this falls into the hours close to that 9-5 block.  With a little planning and creativity you have a lot of hours each week to accomplish so many things. How do you break out of the mold of being a working stiff and be an adventurer while still being a working stiff?

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I remember many years ago. I thought the title of “weekend warrior” was a derogatory term. I thought  adventures were not meant to be confined to just weekends. I always wanted to maintain the ability to drop everything mid week and chase a dream. Limited vacation days were something so corporate! My view changed once I landed my first 9-5 job. I came to realize the value of those 2 precious days at the end of the work week and the few weeks each year. They are greater then any paycheck, bonus, stock option or 401k. They are a saving grace, a therapist, a recovery sponsor.  I could not do it without them. Like a kid that has just stepped out of the candy shop with a bag full of loot, there is strategy and planning that goes into ensuring not one drop of sugar is wasted or left unappreciated. I have learned to plan and cherish every moment with my sweet time away from work. Whether that is with the family, or in the woods, or dreaming and creating schemes that I know no one will see the vision of except me. Luckily we all have the ability to find our own way to create adventure. It is quite easy for me. I live in a place where adventure is closer then my office. I do not need to load a van and drive across 6 states to get to where I want to be. I can find six lifetimes of adventures within a half days drive.

So here is my challenge to myself and anyone else that wants to join. I am going to accomplish 12 adventures before Halloween. Most will be micro. Some may be solo. A few may be total failures. Some may be with kids on my back. One will include roller blades.  And all of them hopefully will be unique and inspire you to think up an adventure for yourself. I will describe the pros and cons, the cost, my expectations and my lessons learned from each one.  Documenting the process on this blog each week I will prove to myself, a dad, 9-5er, weekend warrior, partial slave to the corporate world, that my adventurous spirit is alive and well and can be satisfied in-between my daily responsibilities.  Join me as I help to change your definition of adventure and help to recognize the many adventures waiting right outside your door.

-Pitt

@pittoman

“To choose doubt as a philosophy of life is akin to choosing immobility as a means of transportation”  – Yann Martel

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My plunge into the cycling world

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The Team-Libby’s in the middle. I would ride 100 miles for these girls.

So there I was, sitting with my group of girlfriends enjoying eggs benedict for brunch on the weekend. Libby looked at me and said, “you have to join my team.” I really like Libby. She could have told me to join her team to wrestle rabid wild boars and I would have said, yes! sign me up. “Little Red” she said, “We’re all doing it” she motioned to the rest of that gals at the table, all nodding their heads at me. “It’s the best” “So easy” “They have men driving the route begging to change your flat tire” “Diet Coke on tap” “Peanut butter sandwiched with Oreos at the rest stops” “no hills” My head was spinning…and I get to hang out with you girls too?! Sweet, I’m in! I thought I might be saved by not winning the lottery to get in, but Libby assured me that she’s really lucky and ALWAYS gets in. We did and now I’m committed.

Slow ha ha. why didn’t I think about the fact that I have never ridden a bike longer that 20 minutes my entire adult life. or the fact that I don’t even own a bike helmet. No, I didn’t stop and think I may not have time to train for a 100 mile bike race . Nope, I’m on LIbby’s team, The team, and I’m still very excited about the thought of doing a bike ride with my friends.

I’ve always been good at things I’ve tried. Roller skating, stilts…what have you… Road biking, sure, I can do that. Let’s try. Slower ha ha. This is kinda hard. Can you teach an old dog new tricks?

Sometime in 2006 I went to a spinning class. After 60 minutes of the hardest workout my heart has ever managed. I fainted into the instructor’s arms while asking her some questions after class. Mortified after I woke up on the floor with her looking over me, I reassured her that, no, she didn’t have to call my mom to drive me home. I have not stepped into a spin class since. Well, until now. I’m killing it in the spin class. I totally pretend to crank up that resistance and pretend I know WTH she’s talking about when she asks “how my base building is going?” But, hey I get there, I sweat and I smile and I sing to the music only going “breathless” when she instructs us to. Five classes in and I’m an expert.

So I’m borrowing a road bike from my super cool sister-in-law. I’ve got the clips, the shoes, the gloves, and yes the helmet. I hop on the bike to ride to work. First time on a road bike EVER. First turn on a road bike EVER. *WHABAMM* I hit the pavement. Turned too sharp, too fast, not concentrating, gravel, I don’t know what happened except that the yard worker at the post office saw everything. But, I’m fine. A little road rash makes me feel young again and I saved my chin from stitches with my thumb that feels broken most days now. But I rode away unscathed. The adrenaline actually helped me up that darn hill to Huntsman. And I’ve successfully ridden to work 3 times since then without falling, so I’m getting my confidence back.

I live on Sunnyside Ave-one of the most popular biking routes in the city-my training ground. So far I’ve made it 30 minutes up. I am still learning how to ride and the downhill makes me so nervous I’m hear myself Lamaze breathing while I go. But hey, I’m on Libby’s Team and I’m super excited about that! I’ll keep you updated.

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How do I look? (Pre road bike)


#Asawesomeasitcanbe

Do you ever think you have it figured it out? You have your routines. You have your standard trips you go on every year. You know what to expect and what you are getting into. That maybe it is not as special because you have done it before. Well sometimes you need a reminder to show you how special every moment can be. Don’t take for granted the moments that seem routine just because you are in your comfort zone.

Each year my kayaking buddies and I make the pilgrimage to what we consider the promised land. You see living in Utah and being a kayaker has it’s challenges. It is kind of like being a skier and living in Wisconsin. Not ideal.  We have sparse water, not many large rivers and the creeks that do run during run off teach you to not flip over or you will lose your face!  Luckily Utah is situated just south of what is known as the whitewater state, the land of water and wilderness, the great state of Idaho.  If you live in Utah and you paddle, you either spend a lot of time in Idaho or you spend a lot of time staring at dry creek beds thinking about Idaho.  For this reason we have the annual trip to the Payette drainage. 4 days of endless whitewater, hot springs, great camping, and very minimal phone reception.  Paradise for paddlers if you ask me.
We always go in June when water levels are great and temperatures are high. This year I offered to give my sweet wife a break from taking on the kids alone while I run off on another adventure. I set it up so I would drop off my 4 year old at my sisters house in Boise on the way up. He would stay and play with his cousins for a few days and I would pick him up on the way home.  Amazingly enough, it all worked out.  So on Wednesday night we loaded the truck with all our gear to keep us entertained in paradise for 4 days and we left Salt Lake City. 4 kayaks, 2 surfboards, 4 grown men and one 4 year old named Emmett.
A couple of hours into the journey we made a pit stop. We loaded up on some snacks and drinks, made sure Emmett used the facilities and jumped right back on the road. Up to this point I had been pumping Emmett up and trying to get him stoked for the long late night drive.  Telling him how he is on a “dudes road trip”.  Or how we are so cool because he is on his first kayak trip. Every song that came on the radio with a good beat, Emmett would bounce his head or play a little air guitar. I could tell he felt pride in being on a legit road trip. It was at this moment that 4 grown men were blown away by the simplicity and stoke of a little dude having a brand new experience.  One of the passengers looked over at Emmett and asked “How awesome is this Emmett?” Emmett keeps jamming to the tunes and replies from his car seat “As awesome as it can be.”
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All four of us sat there slightly dumb founded by the simplicity of the statement. Emmett was completely right.  What seemed routine to me because I had made that drive a billion times was as awesome as it could be.  It didn’t matter where we were really going. We were getting after it and not letting the days go to waste. We were chasing passions and finding time in our busy lives to do something that we hold precious. It was as awesome as it can be at that moment.
The trip went off without a hitch. Emmett had a great time in Boise. We paddled as much as we could in 4 days and we all returned home to families, jobs and our busy lives. But one thing was different this time. We all appreciated the moments a little more.  Thanks Emmett for sharing your 4 years of wisdom. Every high five after a rapid or smile after a soak in a hot spring or greeting each other in the morning after sleeping through a rainstorm, the question was posed “how is it going?” The reply is now always the same.  “As awesome as it can be”.

Media dump. AKA I am not feeling creative.

I thought I would spare you from my ramblings this week. I want to take this opportunity to dump some pictures and videos of what adventures I have been having this summer. Besides a picture is worth a thousand words so consider this a novel about the first half of the summer. Needless to say, It has been a good one so far!

Memorial day kayak trip! Triple crown tradition! Three Wyoming rivers in one day and back home. Late night driving and a lot of paddling

Memorial day kayak trip! Triple crown tradition! Three Wyoming rivers in one day and back home. Late night driving and a lot of paddling

If I surfed in Newport everyday, It still wouldn't be enough. Surfing is a mistress that could easily steal my heart. You better behave yourself mountains.

If I surfed everyday, It still wouldn’t be enough. Surfing is a mistress that could easily steal my heart. You better behave yourself mountains.

I got  GoPro for my birthday and used a family pool party to figure it out.

<p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/71482931″>GOPR0244</a&gt; from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/user4067792″>Pitt Grewe</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

My partner got tired from riding on my shoulders as we hiked along the green river and slayed the fish. If you have to take a nap, make it in a great place!

My partner got tired from riding on my shoulders as we hiked along the green river and slayed the fish. If you have to take a nap, make it in a great place!

Had to go to Oregon for work so i thought I should call my brother who lives there. Ended up being the best part of the trip since we rallied an indoor bike track for hours. www.lumberyardmtb.com

Had to go to Oregon for work so i thought I should call my brother who lives there. Ended up being the best part of the trip since we rallied an indoor bike track for hours. http://www.lumberyardmtb.com

When the city is full of punks blowing off fireworks, head for the Uintas. Family camping trip and exploration.

When the city is full of punks blowing off fireworks, head for the Uintas. Family camping trip and exploration.

I was model for a fly fishing photo shoot. Autographs by request.

I was model for a fly fishing photo shoot. Autographs by request.

Perhaps the greatest thing in the world is kayaking class 4 whitewater in Idaho with the coolest dudes on the planet.

<p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/71482930″>S. Fork Payette- Staircase</a> from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/user4067792″>Pitt Grewe</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>