Nokhu Crags: In Praise of No Plan

Life gets too comfy, too predictable. Routine gives structure and an illusion of meaning that too easily becomes normal life. It's not until everything unravels in your hands that you begin to really understand what you're willing to bear and what you're actually made of. I find that wilderness travel in the winter always provides such an opportunity. 

Every year I organize a little snow-camping trip with a few of my closest friends. And not once has one of the excursions ever gone according to plan; especially when you plan a month in advance. So, I simply stopped planning. The only plan I go with is that on this set of days I know I'll likely be in this general area...maybe. Really, this is what makes these trips so fun. It's what shocks us out of a life couched in modernity. With each trip we're challenged to consider whether or not we really like adventuring, exploring, hiking, camping, being out in the great, the beautiful wilderness. Nature can really suck. It doesn't give a shit about plans, health, or comfort.  

On this particular trip I knew we'd end up around the Nokhu Crags area in Northern Colorado. I'd scouted a place to camp and some lines to ski down. I had no idea we'd get a crazy cold snap that also dumped close to 30" of snow on top of insanely weak snow. Or the altitude sickness one of our travelers would get. Or the fact that my camera was going to be totally out of commission for a day-and-a-half for a still unknown reason. 

But was it fun? Well, we laughed a lot and enjoyed watching each other feign enthusiasm for having committed to the trip in the first place. A highlight was when Caleb (pre-vomiting on my car) lounged himself out under the tent's vestibule and shoveled through slushy beef stroganoff.   

We never once got to skin up any of the lines I'd scouted. But we spent most the day talking about how much fun it would be to explore them. And none of us really lamented the fact that we couldn't do what we'd planned. Instead, we reveled in what we were given: 

Time together enjoying the blissful misery that makes wilderness travel worth it. 

Here's to many more. 


Words and photos by Jason Abdilla

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