I’m going to start this off with the cold hard truth. There are hundreds of lists out there chuck full of things you desperately need to adventure, do you really need another one? Don’t get me wrong, I’m not hating on those lists — there truly are a whole slew of things you really do need to complete a successful adventure. However, over the years I’ve learned there are very few things you cannot live without. Things that you can’t find a compromise for, borrow from a friend or simply make do without. It is this handful of things that I’d like to chat about…the things that’ll help keep your head on straight when things go awry + raise your spirits when the metaphorical storm clouds dump buckets of reality down on your trail parade.
Rice Krispie Treats
Yes, rice krispie treats! And no, not the ones you unwrap from that weird blue packaging. The one you make from scratch — a stick of butter, a bag of marshmallows, a heap of rice krispies. I have a method that I adjust slightly depending upon the sugar to fat ratio I’m hoping for, but it’s always a quick, easy process that gets me a massive pile of trail food. It’s my go-to.
Okay, fine. The rice krispie treat itself isn’t that important, but having a tried + true trail food that your stomach is always accepting of is crazy important when it comes to trail adventures. I go with rice krispie treats because my body likes them + they give me a little extra bounce in my step. I credit this bounce to the child-like giddiness that comes with eating a block of buttery marshmallows. Find your happy food then always, always, always have it available for random frolics on the trails. It’s stupid simple but a smiley snack really can turn your day around, I promise!
Caffeinated sludge…sounds delicious, right?! Ha. It is a beautiful nectar from the trail Gods that has saved me more times than I care to admit, but it is definitely not something I’d snack on like my beloved rice krispie treats. I create my version of caffeinated sludge by mixing 2-3 Clif Shot Double Espresso Gels into a 10 ounce bottle of water, then spend a mile violently shaking the concoction [usually taking out a fair bit of frustration + anger on that poor bottle]. That’s 200-300mg of caffeine in 10 ounces…to say the least, it’s effective. It may also be the reason I don’t really sleep for three days after big races where I suck down multiple bottles of caffeinated sludge…
Of course, I’m being a bit metaphorical with the true necessity of caffeine — it works for me but it might not be your jam. What I’m getting at is that it’s a really good idea to have a “just in case it gets really dicey” snack stash along for all your long trail adventures as well. Hit up those rice krispie treats first, but have a backup plan if their giddy bounce is short lived. Even if it’s just the straight gels that make you want to projectile vomit, have it. Just in case! You may only need it every fifth time you’re out on the trails but having it there gives you that bubble of comfort; like a toddler’s filthy blanket that he always has with him.
You know that person that is always there to give you a kick in the pants when you’re lagging around [sometimes literally]? That is your runabler…or your enabling runner friend! Every runabler loves what they do + they love the fact you’re suffering because they talked you into something exceptionally stupid. Make them earn that right!
Whether you’re regularly running with this runabler of yours or only occasionally checking in with trail stories or training updates, use their motivation to your advantage! We’ve all been there, suffering on the trail + thinking “How the hell did that idiot think this would be a good idea? Oh, right…he’d take 5 minutes to stretch out that cranky tendon. Fine, I’ll do that!”. Even when they’re not around, they’re enabling your crazy! But it gets better than that…what about those times when you fight through a struggle then get to a stunning summit? For me, my mind instantly goes to “I cannot wait to tell her about this! It sucked so much, but then it got better! I’m so glad I sucked it up to keep going…look at this, this is incredible!”, making me crazy proud of myself because I know my runabler will get that silly, maniac grin as soon as I recall this story.
Find yourself a crazy runabler + trust their ability to talk you into anything…then use that weird enabling power to keep the crazy going. Even better, turn that runabling around + relish every moment they get to suffer through a long trail-venture because of the enabling you did!
Positivity + Optimism
Ultimately, every single adventure requires a healthy dose of positivity + optimism. Most of this comes from deep within that walnut inside your skull, a weird organ I don’t really understand. However, some of this motivating mojo comes from those around you + the magical rice krispie treats you pack along for your adventures along the dirt ribbons of the world. Don’t depend upon just yourself to find the mindset that keeps you going, let others help you!
When you find a group of crazies that foster that fire of trail love in you, latch on! Find a way to make them love you back! Pack along summit donuts, volunteer as tribute when someone needs a pacer/crew, include them in your own adventures…let yourself become part of that community! Along the way you just might come across a vein of optimism you didn’t know you had tucked away with that motivated runner that hides inside you.
…There you have it! In my humble opinion those are the only four things you need for a solid adventure out on the trails. Whether you’re running, racing, hiking, climbing or whatever’ing…that’s all you need to enjoy yourself while you’re out exploring the world.
[sidenote: I also *strongly* recommend you find yourself a pack to carry along some true survival essentials with you. Essentials such as water, weather appropriate layers, first aid basics, shelter + other aspects of the “10 Essentials”. However, I stand by the fact the above mentioned “necessities” will make your trail-venture more fun, even if the weather takes a turn, you get lost or your body starts to hate you.]