Jonathan Stull | 12.21.2017

We’ve been from the plains to the surf, the mountains to the moraines, the hillocks to the hard-won vistas. Just a year ago, we began our #52WeekAdventureChallenge campaign with one goal in mind: to inspire you to get out into the outdoors in new ways with a new idea of what it means to adventure. To that end, we’ve covered as many different adventures as we can conjure—desert landscapes with sands bleached white, the darkest night skies for those who seek the stars, ancient sites whose relics claim a vestige of the past, subterranean caves, our nation’s parks and recreation areas, and many, many more.

What did we find? What did we discover?

The beating heart of adventure is a great story, and there are great stories in each edition of the #52WeekAdventureChallenge—Arjan Dwarshuis and his 6,833 birds, the creation of the national parks, Mount Baker’s 1,140 inches of snow—but they don’t have them all. Your story is missing.

The Outdoor Project doesn’t serve just one kind of adventure, nor does it support one kind of adventurer. In each trail is a multitude: a place we bring our loved ones to gather, a pathway to solitude, a search for greater meaning, a place to find the stars, a river to cast a lure, a mountain to climb. Escape is not necessarily the objective, though it may be seen as such, but it is certainly a welcome byproduct.

No, it is not rejection that sends us into the great beyond, an open rebellion against the day-to-day; that would be an act of hate. At the end of every adventure is a small piece of ourselves that we lose in the day-to-day. Adventure is an act of reclamation, a way of giving back to ourselves, of recognizing the finite, the small, the cyclical in inconceivable contrast with the infinite and an undeniable power greater than ourselves. It is the feeling of safety while sleeping in complete exposure under the stars. The rhythmic inhalation and exhalation while ascending granite. The silence found in the glassy surface of an alpine tarn. The shared experience of an unmodified self in a place relatively unconstrained by the strictures of society. In these places we are overcome by the physical elements: water, fire, air, earth, experience unthought, a place awash in feeling and sensation.

This is the final edition of the #52WeekAdventureChallenge, and we dedicate it to adventure itself. So go. Remind yourself of what it means to be a human element in a unspeakably imaginative world. Go. Give back. Protect what you love—because we know now that no one will protect these places for us. So go on and #AdventureLikeYouGiveADamn.

Challenge yourself to a #52WeekAdventureChallenge!

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