Adventure awaits: Is Mount Kilimanjaro in my future?

In 2015 I snorkeled with whale sharks near Isla Mujeres, Mexico. Photo by John S. Pierce

In 2015 I snorkeled with whale sharks near Isla Mujeres, Mexico. Photo by John S. Pierce

 

Backpacking 200 miles on the John Muir Trail last summer flipped me into full adventure mode.

I’ve always loved doing slightly crazy stuff, but the craving has cranked up a notch recently. I don’t need life-threatening risk or wet-your-pants danger, but what makes me happiest is exploring new places and challenging myself to do things I’m not sure I can do.

This past summer I backpacked 200 miles on the John Muir Trail in California. Photo by Chris LeBlanc

This past summer I backpacked 200 miles on the John Muir Trail in California. Photo by Chris LeBlanc

In the past few years, I’ve swum around Manhattan Island with a friend, ridden my bicycle across Iowa, and skied from hut to hut in the back country of Colorado. I’ve snorkeled with whale sharks and scuba dived beneath hundreds of schooling hammerhead sharks in the Galapagos Islands, but smaller adventures soothe my soul, too. That’s why I ride my bike to work every day and plunge into Barton Springs in the dead of winter when it’s still dark outside.

All of it makes me feel alive. What’s life if not a series of grand adventures?

I wrote about this realization in a story last week.

Since then a whole slate of possibilities have unfurled in front of me. Readers have emailed their support and offered invitations to join them on incredible adventures.

A couple years ago a friend and I teamed up to swim around Manhattan Island.

A couple years ago a friend and I teamed up to swim around Manhattan Island.

One emailed to suggest that I climb Long’s Peak at Rocky Mountain National Park with his son, an experienced mountain climber. The son emailed to reiterate the offer.

One wrote me a letter, packed with photos, recommending that I head to Madagascar to climb rocks and commune with chameleons, lemurs and baobab trees.

Another reader (and ultra cyclist who I’ve interviewed several times) suggested that I participate in a 200-mile bike race in the Hill Country at the end of March. I’ve already visited with a cycling coach about the possibility. Maybe it’ll happen.

This weekend, I’m headed to West Texas, where I plan to pitch my tent – alone – somewhere in Big Bend National Park. As much as I’ve camped, I’ve never done it completely alone. I want to know what that feels like.

And then there’s Matt Walker, who leads expeditions up some of the planet’s most famous mountains. He’s invited me to join him on an expedition to climb Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania.

And you know what? I’m actually considering it.

I’ll let you know how things pan out. And if you’ve got another idea, let me know…

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