Having a large group of outdoorsy friends is an interesting lifestyle. With friends outside my outdoorsy life decisions on when events should go ahead are pretty arbitrary – things like was it a stressful week and do I feel like talking to “X” today. In my outdoorsy friend group the discussions and decision are generally based on much more prosaic things – do I think it will be safe, do I have access the right gear or what party size am I comfortable with?
This is I feel is a great compliment to my friends as these are all phenomenally important questions.
All the time I read about people who do things that I would consider crazy. When ever I think about people who are under prepared I think of the french guy we met once in Scotsdale (Tasmania) who had arrived in the country, made a trip to target and bought a bicycle and camping gear and set off to ride around Tassie. Now in hindsight I admire him in many ways for having the guts to arrive in another country and just run with it, but at the time the only thing I could possibly think of was that the chap was going to die. I mean really, he had a 65litre backpack full of gear he so clearly didn’t know how to use that it took him over an hour to set up a really basic dome tent.
As my thoughts move on to people more prepared but still crazy my thoughts move to a slightly over-confident man I met in Papunya who was planning on riding to Port Headland in Western Australia via the back tracks, and believe me I mean back tracks! I never heard anything more about the guy on the news, which I can only take to mean he survived (or was never missed) but he had 25 litres of water on the bike so there was a chance he’d make it.
So as this weekend came around and the weather forecast turned from damp to thundery, and the BOM flood watch site showed there being 40mm of rain in an hour during one of the storm session near were we had planned canyoning my thoughts turned to safety and whether I felt like risking flash-flooding. You might be able to guess that the answer was no so I spent today reading a book instead.
That said I know a fair few canyoners who did head out today despite to forecast, and until 6pm there really wasn’t much rain so I am sure they all made it out safely, so what is the difference in thought processes between us? I am sure my mum approves of my playing it safe, and I am sure playing it safe is why I and all my friends are still here to write blogs and consider such adventures but it is interesting to consider the risks and what it is that clicks in the back of our brains somewhere to say “hmmm, perhaps wait for another day”.
Anyway, no really point to this rant except to let my mum know I am being sensible(-ish) and maybe give you a clue why there aren’t any pretty pictures today!