From the glacial boulder that marked the trailhead, our path wove between lodgepole pines and along the canyon’s rocky rim. Twelve hundred feet below, the Yellowstone River flowed steadily on, a blue ribbon anchoring rugged rock walls. We stopped when we saw it—a slim streamer shimmering down the canyon wall across from us: Silver Cord Cascade.
That’s what we’d hiked in for.
Jaime reached into his pack and pulled out breakfast. Somehow, he’d managed to transport two cups filled with our house granola and a miraculously-unspilled container of cream. If I’d been responsible for packing our food in, we’d have breakfasted on apples and trail mix or packaged bars. But I wasn’t on breakfast duty. Jaime was. And not only does he like to surprise, he’s also a fan of good food with great scenery. Side by side, we leaned against a lichen-covered boulder, content with our view, our breakfast, and the beginning of our day.
A Little About Lichen
I’m embarrassed to admit this, but just as it took decades for me to develop a love of hiking, it took me years to look into Yellowstone’s lichen. I’m guessing some of you aren’t familiar with lichen, either. Some of its sort bear surprising names: Fairy Barf and British Soldier, for example. All result from two dissimilar organisms (usually fungus and algae) coming together as something new.
Our hike to the Silver Cord Overlook had been nearly a year in the making. Not that it was so tough we needed to train. It wasn’t. But at a thousand miles from our home, we needed to plan. The making of that hike began as most of our adventures do. I said a version of, “I feel a visit to Yellowstone coming on” and Jaime, with zero hesitation, answered with something like, “When shall we go?” Then we launched into a series of questions to sort out what we wanted to do, see, and experience.
My skills run along the lines of awareness. I know that just as we have a recurring need to be refueled by food, we both function best when we regularly spend a good stretch in the wilderness. The wilderness that suits us best is in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.
Jaime’s skills tend toward the practical. He’s a master at securing impossible reservations and distilling down Yellowstone’s thousand miles of trail to a few options matched to our preferences and abilities. (And I must never forget his willingness to haul in the makings of a soul-satisfying breakfast when RX bars would fill the fuel requirement.)
Together, we’re like that lichen covering the boulder. We are dissimilar beings—more dissimilar than we knew when wed. He brings who he is to the life we’re creating together. I bring who I am. And from that, God is continually making something new.
Here’s the truth: Our assets are different–completely different–but compatible. That’s what makes them assets. Jaime’s got more strength and skill for an adventurous life. He knows how to get it done. What I have is a grasp of how we’re doing—heart, soul, mind, and strength, along with the foresight to say, “Let’s . . .” Without me, Jaime wouldn’t look far enough into the future to make it happen. Without him, I’d stick to the easiest trails and sleep only in hotels. Our life is better together when we let our strengths fill in for one another’s deficits. Lichen life is good.
Fostering an Adventurous Life, Lichen-Style
Some solitary adventure may be good for the soul but we were made for life together. Just two chapters in, God declared that it’s not good for man to be alone. Whether with family, a friend, or your spouse, adventure is better together.
You’re here. You’ve got some interest in fostering an adventurous team. Maybe you have someone you’d like to bring along with you. Maybe their feelings about the subject are hesitant or even negative.
Pause a moment. Prepare for your next step by reflecting on these questions:
- What are your assets when it comes to fostering an adventurous life? (Here’s a short list for a starting point: Mad Boy Scout skills? General know-how? Desire? Planning? Timing? Awareness? Other?)
- What assets does your partner possess? (Use the same list as above, if you need help getting started.)
- How can you bring these assets together to take your next (or first) step toward fostering an adventurous life?
Let us know what you discover or what your next step will be. We’d love to hear.
Happy trails ~