In January, 2003 Outside magazine ranked the top 25 greatest adventures ever recorded in literary form. At the top of the list I was surprised to find a book by the author of the world famous title The Little Prince, Antoine de St. Exupery. This book, about flying planes around the deserts of Africa and eventually crashing into the Sahara- topped the list, and I must know why.
I am a fan of certain genres of literature, and the adventure tale is one. The others are: Louis L’Amour westerns, early edition Henry Miller- all titles, Civil-rights related fiction and non-fiction, and old technical manuals on mountaineering and such. I now must find and read this plane crash in the desert book. Once you have burned through the most familiar titles finding adventure lit becomes a bit of a journey itself. This is what makes it a satisfying collectible.
It got me thinking, do you have to face death and debasement- terror and insanity- on one of the planet’s dominant main stages in order to merit being labeled a great adventure? I thought of my own greatest adventures and the often unimpressive locales which have brought me closest to knowing my true self. Often brutish and clumsy in execution, would my poor planning and lack of necessary resources earn me even a bronze medal in suffering at the Explorer’s Club?
I won’t pretend to be prepared to spin you all a proper yarn tonight, but off the top of my head I think I can easily identify the few catalyzing adventures which I would think to portray in some detail with hope of earning an honorable mention at the next campfire & whiskey awards banquet.
In no particular order…
The Lick Creek debacle. A terrifying tale of grown men crying in darkness.
Escape from Hrvatska- don’t eat the fish.
I know who killed the Lorax- a night in a Montana clear cut.
Picklesimer Exiles- Two men, one map, no h20.
The long way to Merida
That V.W. bus will break your heart
From Catalonia to Catatonia- a night out in Barcelona.
Tate’s Hell is Not a River
The Matterhorn does not appear in any of my stories, nor are there sailing vessels or hot air balloons, just plenty of hot air and hard decisions. These are tales of an ordinary man suffering in unremarkable venues, compared to Mr. Exupery, Sir Richard Branson, and Alexander Supertramp. For that matter I have suffered some trying tribulations as a terra cotta pottery salesman on Burnside avenue in Portland, or as a busboy on the overnight shift at the Village Inn in Sebring, FL.
The common adventure gets no respect,
What would you title your greatest adventures?
The Athsmatic at Munson
You gotta check out Touching the Void by Joe Simpson (No relation to Homer)
Birthin’ my babies. No doubt. One comes mighty close to the edge of that other place when birth is involved.
“Man, I’m Hungry”
This title could begin most of my more interesting adventures or at least earn me a chapter in the great tale by B. Houghton, “Dildo Numchucks”
Civil rights related nonfiction? You must have read Praying for Sheetrock. I’m making my way through some Wallace Stegner, but damn, these historical epics start slow.
“In the forbidden spring, the gator blocked our moonlight while the narcosis muddled our minds”
-and then Larry jumped on the gator and saved you again?
Fat Boy in Punk Rock City
1. So That’s Why They Call It A Rain Forest
2. Unofficial Early Start of the Bridger Ridge Run; Or Where Did the Trail Go?
3. Who Put Bison in Paynes Prairie?
4. All Leads Must Be Checked
1. Where’s the train station?
2. Salty at 99
3. Puppets in Prague
4. Run him bareback
5. Hyannis, one down, six to go
A couple of those sound kind of hot. Are you sure you answered the right question?
OK, maybe just #4, but I was simply making reference to a horse. Wait. That sounds worse. Um.
What was the initial question again? Maybe I am on the wrong blog.
1. Anschluss at Blue Hole.
2. Cramps At A Mall.
3. B&B Breakdown.
4. A Hell Of A Marriage.
It’s been kind of a sedate life so far.
it’s ok nicol, it’s easy to get this blog mixed up with WB’s blog.
And “puppets in Prague”, yep, wink…
If it was HWB’s blog, I would have had to mention something about Bigworm and kissin’ in the same sentence, right?
No, we do that here too. Everybody loves that guy.
I know a short cut.
No it’s not against the law.
Did we get on the right river?
Fungus helps you find your way.