On The Outdoor Community & Previewing "By All Signs"

When exploring, it's good to have the knowledge how to avoid cholla cacti. 

When exploring, it's good to have the knowledge how to avoid cholla cacti. 

Long time readers of this blog know that there’s four things I’m passionate about: adventure, exploration, knowledge, and sharing that knowledge. If you’ve ever read, or seen this blog, you’ve heard me beat the drum about how adventure can be found anywhere numerous times, and the importance of exploration. If you haven’t, a sampling of those posts can be found here, and here. As for the latter two topics, if you know me, you know that I strongly believe there’s something to learn every day; and life’s too short to stop learning. I started this blog in part, because I felt that I had a lot of knowledge to share, and I wanted to provide that knowledge and my experiences to the outdoor community. To me, this blog was an extension of what I had been doing my whole life – talking to people on the trail, the mountain, or around the fire about what I knew, how I knew it, and also listening to what others had to say about what they knew, how they knew it, and where I could go.  

Trust me, the lake of outdoor knowledge is much bigger than this!

Trust me, the lake of outdoor knowledge is much bigger than this!

Several years later, one of the things I still like the best about blogging is the sharing of knowledge and the community interactions. It’s through these community interactions that I met Matt Mills, my co-host on In Ice Axe We Trust (“IIAWT”), and if you want to hear me expound awkwardly about the sharing of knowledge, I suggest you listen here. These interactions are also how I met tomorrow’s guest blogger, Terry Tyson. I think that these interactions; this sharing of knowledge makes our community stronger; better; faster; and most importantly – smarter. So, as you read this post – and tomorrow’s post, written graciously by Terry, I’d suggest taking a minute to think about two things: 1) what can you do to make the community stronger – whether its retweeting a post, or offering to write for a blog you like because you’ve got great tips for them, or something else. After all, the pool of knowledge isn’t a secret isolated pond – it’s a massive body of water that’s fed by many streams. As for the second, as always, do what you can to help the environment, as always, because it always needs your help.

Before I get off my soapbox, let me introduce Terry Tyson – the man, the myth, and the legend. One of the last true magicians, a mentalist, a hiker, and many things more that I don’t even know to promote. One of the things I can promote is his blog HERE, and I’ll also disclose that I’ve known Terry for a while, and he always has something erudite to say – or some great photos to share. A couple weeks ago, after I wrote my post complaining about unprepared winter hikers, he mentioned that he had a story about unprepared people who offered to lead other people on hikes. We fell to discussing the matter, as friends do, and the end result is the article you’ll see tomorrow about an experience Terry had with friends in the Superstition Mountains with a party who was not prepared – nor experienced enough to guide others.

Terry’s been gracious enough to give me editorial control over his article, which I didn’t need, and has also offered me the final word, which I also didn’t need. Personally, I think the article speaks for itself and is Terry in Terry’s own words, telling a cautionary tale with a simple lesson: be sure you know the people you are hiking with. As I’ve discussed, and as Terry will talk about, the outdoors is a dangerous place; and when you go out with third parties, you need to be sure that they are representing the conditions and route correctly, not just for them but for you, and any people you may bring with you. In this respect, I’ll offer you a simple analogy: guiding is like singing. Everyone thinks they can do it, but few can. Like being prepared for winter hiking, you have to be prepared for anything when hiking with new parties, including being prepared for any deficiencies the “guide” or “friend” may have. This is not to say you should never hike with an unknown party or “guide”, but merely that you should be prepared for what could happen in the worst case scenario; and be hopeful for a best case scenario. In any case, Terry’s article is great, and I hope you enjoy reading it tomorrow when I put it up!