Let me introduce you to Jenn McAmis, a fitness enthusiast, ASCM Certified Personal Trainer with a huge heart for adventure! I met Jen a few years ago at a fitness blogger convention and we were insta-friends. Although she lives in AZ, the social media ways have allowed us to keep in touch and she’s here to share her stories, insight and advice on how it pertains to not just fitness, but how better fitness allows you live a life of adventure you truly love. If you’re into mountains, hiking, and fun things like slack-lining, Jenn’s your gal! Enjoy!
Canyoneering has become one of my favorite forms of adventure.
You get to hike, climb, scramble, rappel, swim and do whatever else it takes to get from the top to the bottom of the canyon. Deep in a canyon, it truly is just your group and whatever it throws at you. Sometimes everything is really straightforward and it’s a relaxing, but fun day. However, some other times, the adventure is far from what you envisioned and planned for, and I’d like to share one of those stories with you today…and what I learned as a result.
The Original Adventure: Take One
My canyoneering partner, Patrick and I wanted another go at one of the long canyons on top of Mt. Lemmon in Tucson, Arizona. We decided to drop Upper Sabino Canyon which goes parallel to Lemmon Canyon. Patrick was moving to New Mexico for fire season so it was our last chance to get it done before he was gone for 6 months. We were planning for a long day (most likely in the 18 hour range, realistically) and knew we didn’t have a lot of wiggle room if the canyon took much longer than that.
With bathroom breaks, pack organization, closed roads and trailhead confusion, we didn’t get to the start of the trail until almost 6:30 that morning. We decided that the late start plus little sleep the night before had the potential to lead to an unsuccessful day. I had the next day off too, so we decided to be more prepared the next morning and be ready to try again with no delays and more chance of success. We drove back down the mountain, stopping to take a few jumping pictures in the sunrise, of course, and had a lazy day preparing for attempt two.
The Original Adventure: Take Two
The next morning, everything was going according to plan. We had staged our second car the night before to give us an extra hour of sleep and our packs were already 100% ready to go. We started right on time and things were great! The trail was super hard to follow, but once we found the real one, we sped back up and hadn’t lost too much time. We were boogying… until somehow we’d missed what was supposed to be a signed junction with another trail.
After a turn around, we found the right spot…no marker except an extremely tiny carrin that was not obvious at all. We still felt alright on time, so we started down the second trail and it lead into a burn area. The book had said the trail got hard to follow and kind of faded, but that was an understatement. It was super slow bushwacking through miserable trees that even had thorns on the trunks. We lost a ton of time and were only mostly sure that we were taking the most direct path into the canyon. With much frustration, we decided that we should turn around and bail on the canyon again.
The Reframed Adventure.
Disappointed didn’t even begin to describe how we felt. Patrick looked at the maps and realized we could do a 15ish mile hike from where we were down to where our second car was parked. We decided to do that and reclaim our day. It was an absolutely gorgeous hike! You could tell not many people do it, but there were phenomenal views of all 3 major canyons on Mt. Lemmon. The day was perfect, even if slightly on the warm side. We didn’t get to do the canyon (yet, I’m hoping to get in it sometime this summer), but did get to do a hike that probably would have never crossed our radar.
At the end of the day, the lesson was learned…
It was definitely a lesson in admitting realities and enjoying what life throws your way. Even with the most well laid plans, things just don’t work sometimes. However, there is always an option to make adventure in each day.
Jenn is an adventurer, outdoor addict, ACSM certified personal trainer and rescue dog mom living in Tucson, Arizona. She's been in the fitness industry for over 5 years and has recently developed a series of programs focusing on becoming the most fit you possible so that your life can be filled with the adventures you dream of.
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