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Confessions of a risk taker

Columnist makes plans to practice what he preaches

 

My columns in Kentucky Living boast of the seemingly endless outdoor adventures readers can pursue across our state—as well as how to be safe out there. However, this December I am going to confess to you that I haven’t always practiced what I’ve preached—and it’s time to make a New Year’s resolution.

Every once in a while, I’ve been guilty of chasing adrenaline, willingly placing myself in dangerous situations. The time I crossed a log over a waterfall is just one example of my foolish thrill-seeking behavior that could have ended in disaster.

My wake-up call finally came this year. To pass the time while waiting for Bev, my fiancée, to meet me for a walk on the lakeshore, I headed to a nearby cliff that held geodes full of sparkling aragonite crystals. As a mineral collector with prior experience at this very site, I knew that rocks the size of kitchen sinks dangled loosely above me. But I tried to pry out a geode near the bottom of the cliff anyway.

Suddenly I heard the crackling sound of rocks falling. Without even looking up, I dove headfirst to my left onto a pile of rocks that had previously fallen, narrowly escaping serious injury or worse.

When I sat up looking at the bloody scrapes and bruises on my body, it finally dawned on me that it was time to change my ways. No one had any idea where I was, including the woman I love. I could imagine the worried look on her face as she waited at the lakeshore, unable to reach me by phone as the last light of day faded into the night. I could see the look of devastation on the faces of my two children if the authorities had to tell them bad news.

Not only had I engaged in an activity that was way too risky, I had also violated an age-old rule of the great outdoors, and that’s to always tell someone where you’re going.

Now we see younger people cheating death trying to get that great selfie that will outdo their friends on social media. Dangling from the top of a bridge with one arm while taking a selfie with the other is just not worth the risk. But I have no room to talk.

Going into the wild is a calculated risk in itself. But we can enjoy ourselves out there without adding to that risk. Try playing it safe in 2018. Do it for your loved ones like I’m going to do. From this day forward, I will practice what I preach.

 

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