Captn Tony: "Each to their own!
Substitute reading books for playing computer games. Both can be done at home wit a lot less effort. Is there really a difference?
Captn Tony: "Each to their own!
I think that is part of the articles intent, when do gadgets start taking away the experience of being outdoors and really taking it in. Yes each to its own and it will bring some into the outdoors. but I can see some sitting in the tent all week playing games or doing the same around a campsite or in the canoe.
Also mentioned how often do kids just go out into the local woods and build a fort now and how often to you see kids riding bikes now on local roads. The bike thing with increased traffic and the pervert world of now adays I understand. Growing up at a very young age I rode my bike pretty much anywhere I pleased. Limiting factor was I had to pedal back home against the wind probably. But the local kids traveled evrywhere and were free to roam the woods.
Yes times have changed that way. No some changes may be good others not.
Each to their own!
Buttttt, I'm not spending my time, effort, and $ to take someone with who going to spend all their time playing computer games. They can do that at home with a lot less effort and $!
I don’t see gadgets as the issue. Give kids a reason to forget/ignore the devices.
I agree that unstructured time is important. It can be difficult to make time for that time. My boys are seven and four years old. Their favorite thing from the past few weeks was digging a snow fort into one of the ample snow piles by the driveway that have developed this winter. Just needed to get them bundled up and out the door to get the magic and the imagination going. On the other hand, I find it difficult to let them out on their own even marginally unsupervised. We live in St Joseph, which has been ranked safest or one of the safest cities in Minnesota (above 5k for this particular survey) for years. But every day that I take my youngest to day care / preschool, we walk past a granite memorial to Jacob Wetterling, which will always give me pause. The statistics say it’s safer now than when I was my kids’ age, but it’s still hard to let them find their own adventures. Getting closer with the older one. There’s some movement toward letting loose. The pendulum seems to be swinging after watching the consequences of helicopter parenting of some kids that are older than mine.
A good resource on this topic:
anthonyp007: "pamonster: "The generation before never seems to understand those coming after them.
Ditto. Born a bit less than a year after you. I have a job that requires everything from tried and true to cutting edge and bleeding edge, but my recreation is as non-motorized and unplugged as can be.
And your tent poses apparently.
I enjoy rolling, the way I do.
I've really enjoyed trips, where I've forgotten something, and had to figure out other solutions, like when I forgot my fire grate, and cooked on flat, thin, rocks, suspended over the fire.
I don't think it requires an extreme drop off. The upper rack is on hinges, and cable. They pull the car out, and lower the boat trailer. But then maybe you were just being funny.
Eh, my jet pack turns into a submarine, which has ICBMs.
I’m always amazed at the double decker trailers that allow you to bring a boat and CUV or OHV. It just requires a boat ramp with an extreme drop off to float the thing though.
Many big rigs have hot tubs and saunas in them too.
OCDave: "I am no literary critic but, after reading the article half a dozen times I am still confused as to what message the author is trying to convey. While she wants to blame attentive parenting for stifling an adventurous spirit, she later points out that adventure travel has skyrocketed. She includes experiences of Paul Shurke and Amy Freeman as normal rather than explicitly identifying them as outliers.
You make good points. I would like to see actual numbers and percentages pertaining to youth participation in backcountry activities over time. Spending a day or three in the near-backcountry today is a different beast than spending a few weeks on an extended trip back in the day. Not better or worse, but different.
There is also a HUGE participation disparity between the haves and have-nots, as well as whites and non-whites, something that has been occurring for many decades.
I will say, however, that modern technology has allowed a LOT of people to extend their tripping years far into old age, a truly great thing.
Good rebuttal, Dave.
I agree that assumptions about large groups of people can irritate. However, we're like snowflakes. Yes, we vary, but watch well enough and long enough and patterns emerge. Wilson Bentley gained fame for photographing snowflakes and the photos he published are of astonishingly different snowflakes, but watch enough snowflakes and people and.... I appreciate my childhood. I was on a long, long leash, biking to Canada a couple times before I could drive and lived alone on a wilderness island for five weeks. However, my dad's childhood eclipsed mine in risk-taking, for he was driving a body-less Model T when he was 12 and launching M-80s with slingshots. I was one of seven and my dad was one of thirteen, which means my parents and his parents had spares.
The day of adventures is coming to an end? Whew, that's a relief!
I'm not sure what they are getting at either. For one thing, where do they dray the line between a gadget and improved gear? Is a stove a gadget? Are they saying that something usable in a fire ban is getting ruining the outdoors? How about a light weight rain fly? Or anything light weight for that matter.
Sure, I like my gear. I like finding the right gear for the job and am pretty excited to try out my new gear and gadgets on a trip. So far that has been things like a canoe, chair, gravity filter, Luci Light, camp towel, and sleeping gear. Maybe the Exped pad and chair are luxuries, but I don't see how that takes away from the great outdoors.
I guess I have been guilty of using my phone though. Last trip we watched a movie under the rain fly during a thunderstorm while we waited for the rain to lighten up. I fail to see how that takes away from the trip though. I view technology as more of something to make the best out of a bad situation.
OCDave: "I am no literary critic but, after reading the article half a dozen times I am still confused as to what message the author is trying to convey. While she wants to blame attentive parenting for stifling an adventurous spirit, she later points out that adventure travel has skyrocketed. She includes experiences of Paul Shurke and Amy Freeman as normal rather than explicitly identifying them as outliers.I couldn't have said it better. It plays right into peoples preconceived bias.
pamonster: "The generation before never seems to understand those coming after them.
That is a great point. As a young Gen Xer or an old Millenial (depending on where you draw the age line), I have often felt as if I was born decades too late. I’ve always had a ho hum relationship with technology, a yearning for adventure, a desire to do things the “old fashioned” way, and have generally traveled a different path than my peers. Many people my age do not understand my desire for canoes over motorboats, skis over snowmobiles and trails over concrete. Granted, many of my peers are born and raised cityfolk as am I. Thank goodness for this site, where we can connect with like minded people! One lesson I’ve learned over time is that regardless of generation, sex, political affiliation, etc, we tend to have more things in common than not with each other.
The generation before never seems to understand those coming after them.
Neither is wrong, they're just different.
I am no literary critic but, after reading the article half a dozen times I am still confused as to what message the author is trying to convey. While she wants to blame attentive parenting for stifling an adventurous spirit, she later points out that adventure travel has skyrocketed. She includes experiences of Paul Shurke and Amy Freeman as normal rather than explicitly identifying them as outliers.
The story is a bit tired. To reminisce about the happiness of our own lost childhood and compare that to how today's children today are disadvantaged because their experience is different is equal to "We walked to school in the snow every day, up-hill, both ways". It is easy and uninspired story to write. I'd say this author lacks her own sense of adventure.
I would argue that today's youth, inspired by GoPro and YouTube are more adventurous and more thrill seeking than their any of their predecessors. Maybe it seems they are less adventurous because we don't see them backpacking or back-country camping. Maybe we don't notice them nor their high-risk endeavors like rock climbing, Kite surfing or snow boarding. Can anyone honestly say that Paul Shurke was more adventurous coasting his banana-seat bike 3 miles straight down the Minneapolis sewer than the kid flying down Spirit Mountain, catching big air, on a Mountain bike?
Advances in modern life make what was previously considered high-adventure mundane. Mountain bike parks, rock climbing gyms, skate parks provide outlets and gathering places that were not available a generation ago. Bulletin boards, BWCA.com for example, allow us to share and build upon each others' adventures so our our own adventure will be grander. I can utilize information gained at home to plan an adventure on the other side of the country or otherside of the world.
We live in a golden age for adventure. Anyone who thinks differently probably isn't looking in the right places.
"Sadly, the urban sprawl of the Twin Cities has swallowed up the area, the night sky is no longer dark, and the woodlands are invaded with buckthorn and other exotics."
I read the article and found it insightful. Full of truisms.
Regarding the comment about the '50s thru '70's decades, "That world is dead." Well, that is how the world works. Time moves on. Unfolds. Technology changed the world. Not all bad nor is it all good. Those earlier decades were indeed, simpler, slower times. The ever-increasing need for speed is leaving me behind, for sure. I don't want or need to go that fast. But... I love what it accomplishes in the field of medicine.
I especially like the statement about 'idle times'. So, so true.
I used to bring a book for the idle moments between turning in for the night and sleep. Read just a few pages each night. Now I just listen to the sounds of the night that I drove 1000 miles to enjoy. I sleep just as well.
I am not a minimalist.
I have to agree. I bring my Kindle and music with me too. I just really enjoy reading a book and hearing sounds of nature. There was nothing worse than running out of books before my trip was over. The Kindle solves that problem. I brought the music with me for the first time I did a "fun" trip vs trying to get in as many miles as possible and now I really like it during dinner prep. I'm super happy with the purchase of a solar panel. But I tend to like gear way too much :)
I'm in my mid-50s and cherish the outdoor opportunities I had growing up in the 1970s. Even though I grew up in Mpls, my scout troop had land on the Mississippi about 30 miles upstream, and my friends and I would camp year-round in the river bottoms and islands of the river, free as a bird-- with or without the scout troop or adult supervision.
Sadly, the urban sprawl of the Twin Cities has swallowed up the area, the night sky is no longer dark, and the woodlands are invaded with buckthorn and other exotics. The teaming masses are absolutely CLUELESS as to what is happening to America--and their mountains of gear, gadgets, and electronics only guarantee their continued disconnect with the natural world.
I enjoy some types of luxury, but on wilderness trips in the North they usually consist of a depth-finder and weather radio.
When my main outdoors buddy and I head out we do take music with us, but only if we are not near others. We go outdoors to escape and to connect with nature, and to also enjoy music. Just something playing in the background. Sometimes we don't have anything playing.
I do take a GPS that posts my position on an interval. I have it to keep my wife from worrying.
To ensure the GPS and music are charged I have a solar panel and a battery pack.
Some would call the above a bit much, and I'm ok with that if that is their personal preference. Having the music is no different than a transistor radio. Taking an eBook reader is the same as taking a normal book. Is playing a game on some device any different than playing solitary? I don't take an eBook or play a game on a device but I was just thinking out loud.
I enjoyed the article and agree with its assertions.
Pinetree: "I do have to have my wristwatch.
Because there parents won’t let them out and if they do build an ugly fort in the woods they will get in big trouble from the adults who don’t like the eyesore. But instead of dealing with the kids directly they will call the cops. Parents who have to enroll them in every sport, club etc and limit free time. Traveling sport teams in 4th grade. Don’t blame the kids.
And it is not as bad as they make it out to be. If you live in Ely it is probably easy to have a jaded view of the rest of the world.
I do have to have my wristwatch.
Much of the article is about kids with so many modern day gadgets even around home they don't get outdoors even to play in the mud puddle or bike down to the nearest swimming hole. People have come so disorientated from being outside and knowing how to act. I just don't see kids outside anymore doing anything on their own.
We do take a wristwatch if towed. And a radio. Most other stuff has fallen by the wayside. One year it reminded me of Grama digging through her big purse just to find stuff. :)
MPls. Tribune March14
How much has modern life dimmed the spirit of adventure?
Conditions that made for wild adventures of yesteryear don't exist today. Maybe our spirit of adventure has disappeared, too.
By Sarah Barker Special to the Star Tribune
Paul Schurke’s thirst for adventure had its roots in his childhood, he said, “in the soft white underbelly of Minneapolis, a long way from typical adventure resources.”
Schurke, 63, who owns Wintergreen Dogsled Lodge in Ely, Minn., with his wife, Susan, remembered the summer that the city dug a gigantic ditch through south Minneapolis that eventually became I-35W.
“This miles-long stretch of rocks and rubble became our playground,” Schurke said. “My friends and I pedaled up Nicollet near downtown and lowered our banana seat bikes into the storm sewer there. As luck would have it, it was all downhill from there to Minnehaha Creek, so we’d go screaming through this tunnel in total darkness, with flashes of light as we passed under a drain.
Many, if not most, of Schurke’s peers had similar childhood experiences that shaped a generation’s sense of adventure. But it’s not simply nostalgia. Measurable features of the 1960s and ’70s — largely unscheduled childhoods with kid-led activities; life that was to a much greater degree hands-on, face-to-face, manual, analog; minimal student debt, and plentiful living-wage jobs — made the ideal environment for fostering adventure. Whether lifelong or short-term, modest or grand, lots of people undertook adventures. The zeitgeist of the era was one of possibility. Bike to Mexico? Do nothing but run and sleep for two years in hopes of making the Olympic team? Sure, why not?
That world is gone. None of those conditions that made adventure widely possible exist anymore. Has the general sense of adventure disappeared, too? We talked to some outdoors people about adventure, then and now.
Schurke’s generation, who had enjoyed great swaths of unscheduled, grownup-free time as children, grew into adults who were comfortable without structure. They were used to solving problems. They were used to being independent and assessing risk. Generally, they made it up as they went along. Childhoods like that produced, well, yes — flesh wounds — but also adventurers.
In sharp contrast, today’s children follow institutional schedules and rules almost from birth. Free time, the birthplace of ideas, is nearly nonexistent. Sports and outdoor activities are organized and led by adults. “It’s increasingly rare to have an outdoor childhood,” said Katie Arnold, writer and editor at Outside magazine and author of a new memoir, “Running Home.”
“Two parents working means there are more scheduled activities that are supervised and seen as safe. Kids who aren’t outside much by themselves are less comfortable doing that as adults.”
Boston College research psychologist Peter Gray compared childhoods of 50 or 60 years ago with today’s: “Adventures that used to be normal for 6-year-olds are now not allowed even for many teenagers.” It’s clear that a protected, directed and pressured childhood is not the recipe for an adventurous adult.
consequences are low. It’s much harder to learn those things in your 20s.”
While dog sled trips at Wintergreen Lodge are thoroughly planned and far less risky than the adventures of his youth, Schurke has anecdotal evidence that the hands-on experiences they provide give clients the confidence to strike out on their own.
“Some of our guides came here as kids with their families, and now they’re leading adventurous lives, working summer and winter, and cutting loose in the spring and fall.”
One of those guides is Amy Freeman who, together with her husband, Dave, has made adventure and outdoor advocacy a full-time job. Freeman, 36, who was dosed with average St. Paul amounts of outdoor independence as a child, spoke to the role economics played in her life of adventure. She had worked summers during college (at Macalester) guiding kayak trips in Grand Marais, but in 2006, she had a master’s degree in art therapy, six years of student loans, and a 9-to-5 job offer in Grand Marais.
“Dave and I had planned to kayak around Lake Superior in the fall of 2006, so I had to decide between the job and this adventure,” Freeman recalled by e-mail. “The job was the safe option, but something in me couldn’t give up on kayaking around Lake Superior. It was a pivotal moment in my life that launched me into the adventurous life.”
Freeman found that guiding in the summer and winter — and getting by with a Toyota Yaris, an off-grid yurt, and little nightlife — allowed her to save money, pay off her school loans, and afford a life of adventure. Most of her peers, she said, jumped into the working world, sometimes settling for any job just to cover rent and loans.
“Many of my friends who remained in Chicago or the Twin Cities kept deferring their loans even though they were working at jobs that paid more than the guiding jobs I did,” she said. “So, even though student loan debt inhibited adventure for most, it led me to take guiding jobs I could start immediately. I have several friends who joined the Peace Corps or AmeriCorps because of that student loan forgiveness thing, which also pushed them into adventure, but I think we were the exception.”
The web effect
Creation of the internet and advances in communication technology have profoundly affected every aspect of life, including our sense of adventure. Some positively, and some not so much.
Freeman pointed out how GPS has made navigation easier and more accurate, and how social media has made it possible for people to share their adventures and inspire others. But, she admitted, technology makes our lives almost too easy: “Why would anyone ever want to work hard, sweat, be uncomfortable, engage in somewhat risky behavior?”
Schurke noted a lot of interesting trends around digital media. While what he called “electronic mall culture” caused a dip in outdoor adventure in the 1990s, since then, adventure travel has skyrocketed.
“We’re seeing a major shift away from consumerism toward experiences that feed the soul. Our adventurous tent camping trips (vs. lodge-based trips) are much more popular, which I find encouraging. Families and millennials seem keen on ditching the relentless digital distractions for hands-on adventures,” he said. “In fact, we’re increasingly putting a tongue-in-cheek twist into our marketing as being a ‘digital detox center.’?”
And media, Schurke added, has made adventure travelers a savvy bunch — they reject “Disney-fication” in favor of authentic experiences, which in turn provides market incentive to protect and maintain truly wild places.
“Media cuts both ways. Yes, it sensationalizes fears, but by allowing us to post short videos on how comfortable it can be to camp in minus-20 degree weather, it also relieves those fears.”
Arnold’s kids, 8 and 10, don’t have cellphones. While she grew up with such screen-based distractions as TV (she had a half-hour limit as a kid) and video games, today’s pocket-size tech, she said, is much harder to limit and more addictive, insidious and ubiquitous.
“Technology is more and more an issue when it comes to wellness and physical activity,” she said. “Parental limits is what it comes down to.”
Despite major cultural and economic changes over the last 50 years, Schurke, Freeman and Arnold agreed, adventure is alive and well for those determined enough to make it happen. You don’t have to be dirtbagging it — Arnold talked about moms with full-time jobs finding time to run 100-mile trail races. Steep college loans? As Freeman demonstrated, a 9-to-5 job is not the only way to manage them. And Schurke is confident that a 7-year-old who chisels a hole in the ice for water on one of Wintergreen’s trips is getting almost as hefty a dose of adventure as if she were screaming through a storm sewer on a banana-seated bike.
Sarah Barker is a freelance writer from St. Paul
Couldn't read the article, but my thought is that it depends.
I try and go as minimalist as I can. But I have tricked a non-camping gadget happy cousin to come along by dangling a biolite stove in front of him.
Wonder how much do we Miss or gain by all the modern aids?