I took a deep, sharp breath. My hands quivered. “I’m so stuck!” I shouted, slightly embarrassed. “This is crazy.”
I felt mentally stuck, too. As if those few seconds froze time as my mind processed what my body was telling it—“You’re telling me to move, but I can’t!” My too-big-for-me waders were being swallowed by thick sink mud; and I was sinking with them. It was almost like quicksand, but slower. A giant suction force had a firm grip on my legs, and they were simply incapable of moving.
It took the strength of my two fellow adventurers, (ok, so we were hiking in Blendon Woods, but bear with me) Coyote Peterson, local animal-wrangler and Discovery Digital show host, and Fit copy editor Chris Gaitten, to pull me up and out.
I’ve never felt something like that. To be so physically trapped, even just for a second, and unable to use your own might to get yourself out of a sticky situation, pun intended.
“Imagine being out in this alone,” Coyote said. “Or having to run through it.”
While Coyote has been a friend of mine for a few years, it wasn’t until Chris and I went out “into the wild,” as Coyote would say, that I realized how he has to ready himself physically and mentally for what he does (page 34). He has to properly prepare so that he knows how to identify, handle and escape pitfalls like sink mud, among many other obstacles he faces.
Capturing snapping turtles and wrangling snakes is specific to Coyote, but in many ways, he’s not all that different from anyone else in this magazine, or in this city. We all have to properly prepare and then open ourselves to learning new things: whether we’re doing something outside our comfort zone (like men doing yoga, page 20); teaching young girls how to be powerful women (page 50); or an elite soldier who had to relearn how to walk and found recovery in fitness.
Or a magazine editor—one day I’m trouncing through a metro park and holding a (smelly) snapping turtle, and the next I’m bouncing atop the chilly water on a boat with a waterski team. It’s all very adventurous and magical, but it takes preparation and a willingness to step outside my own personal comfort zone.
Speaking of adventurous, our cover story this month is about just that: seeking out our home state’s natural outdoor recreations and thrills to test your body and invigorate your life. We captured one of the aforementioned members of the Ohio State waterski team to represent the spirit of the story for our cover, but we also found places for biking, hiking, paddling and disc golf (page 33).
Ultimately, it doesn’t matter which of these you choose, or if you pick some other activity altogether. The important part is being open to something new, preparing yourself for the experience and going to a place you’ve never been before, whether that’s physical or mental. It might be uncomfortable—at first it probably will be—but it will also probably be worth it. You’ll learn something, and get a little bit better, and that’s what this whole thing is all about.
I’m sure I’ll have some new adventures under my belt by the time we put our next magazine together in August. Hopefully you will, too—though I’d recommend leaving the turtle-wrangling to the professionals.
Chelsea Castle, Editor-in-Chief