Back in the day, you might hear a friend say,
“Dude” (I did say, it was Back in the Day) “You should have been here yesterday!”
Then, your buddy would proceed to regale you with tales of [insert as appropriate: perfect powder for skiing or boarding/ a limit of fish or game/ epic wind for kite boarding or windsurfing/ etc.]
The point was that the conditions and results were as good as it gets.
After all, isn’t that what we all would like to experience given our limited time and money to enjoy our recreational pursuits?
Well, apparently maybe not.
By way of a Columbia Sportswear advertisement in the October National Geographic Traveler magazine, I learned that I am lagging behind the social trends, yet again.
For those of you who suffer the mistaken idea that “good” is good, I am hear to tell you that there is a trend whereas you brag to your friends as to how bad the conditions were while you were out enjoying the great outdoors.
Case in point.
I had never heard of the term Junkboarding, but the concept is simple, if not of questionable self-preservation value.
You start with a junked snowboard, or in some cases a piece of scrap plywood, a table saw, some hardware, slap them together and then go out and look for slopes covered in just about anything—that is except wonderful, deep, fluffy, dry powder.
You are looking for ground cover such as dirt, grass, rocks, gravel, bushes, and other obstacles that I personally tend to avoid while I careen down a steep slope at a high rate of speed. I’m funny like that.
Even people who partake of this apparently risky recreational activity recognize,
“Most people just think it’s frickin’ dangerous”
Gee, where would they get that silly idea?
That comment from one practitioner from Vermont, named Dave. But he goes on to admit he has,
“ taken his fair share of spills, tearing pants and returning home muddy, but he stresses that he and his friends don’t go fast enough to get badly injured”
Ah…Dave, could you please provide your definition of “badly injured?”
Are we talking broken bones, but something less than a compound fracture, with pieces of your femur poking out of your Columbia Sportswear Junkboarding pants? (Lest we forget, this whole topic started with a clothing ad.)
As to the trend of seeking less than ideal conditions for various recreational avocations, then showcasing and even glorifying those outings, it is not limited to attempting to remove large patches of skin while shredding the slopes.
No, truly adventurous fishermen have eschewed pristine, high-mountain streams of clear, cold, waters while seeking out semi-polluted, discarded-furniture laden, suburban ditches in search of hardy fish species that should advisably be handled only with multi-layered, Kevlar-reinforced, hazmat gloves—let alone considered for consumption.
Known as Brownlining, this form of fishing is practiced with zeal by hardy outdoorsmen who risk spent hypodermic needles, rusted automobile bodies, and other items dumped into drainages by people too lazy and cheap to drive to the dump.
Arguably the master and mentor of this merriment can be found at Singlebarbed.com.
Caution, this is not an activity for the faint-of-heart or anyone not having an up-to-date tetanus vaccination.
This got me to wonder. Is this just the tip of the iceberg (the part that hasn’t yet melted)?
Is there a new, improved (?) version of kayaking that involves really rocky streams with low water?
Call it Creek Crashing or maybe Stream Bashing.
Or, how about scuba diving in really cold water with really poor visibility?
Call it Shiver Scuba or maybe Scuba Hobby In Totally Terrible Yuk diving.
The opportunities to do things under lousy conditions abound.
There is always bike riding on puncture vine strewn trails along inter-city, gang infested back streets.
That one might be best classified as a one-time, one-way adventure.
So many good times to be had, so little time to seek crappy conditions.
How can you recognize an aficionado of these alternative venue activities?
Well, for example, a typical big city downhill skier might be wearing shimmering, one-piece outfits and the latest technology in boots and skis, while the Junkboarder probably has clothing held together with copious amounts of duct tape.
A big city fly fisherman might look like he just came off the cover of an Orvis catalog, while holding $1,000+ worth of gear.
The Brownliner will be sporting brown-stained waders, a cheap cigar, with a gas station hotdog in his pocket.
You get the idea.
As to Junkboarding: call me when it snows another few feet.
Me…I’m going back to bed.