10-9-19: stranded in West Virginia
On two occasions, the West Virginia wilderness tried to trap me.
Years ago, I took a climbing friend down the Gauley river in a 2-person raft. My inexperience and the river’s power combined for a legendary day. We were 100 feet into the biggest rapid when the river spit us, and our boat, on top of a massive boulder. We stood on that rock with our thumbs up our butts for thirty minutes before deciding our only option was to recklessly throw ourselves back into the chaos. We barely managed to keep the boat upright as we spun down the massive stretch of whitewater - celebrating an epic conclusion to a bizarre situation.
Recently, while road tripping on the East Coast for rerouted co-op events, my partner and I had a car transmission drop, totaling the vehicle. Miles from anything significant - we had some tough, expensive choices because we still had 4000 miles left on the trip. Patience and research allowed us to locate and purchase a vehicle that will net positive gain for us.
We all face stressful situations that feel like having a car break down in the middle of nowhere West Virginia. Left high and dry, without resources, desperate. Those times when we feel powerless can be scary. It’s easy to allow the negativity to influence our decisions.
Avoiding catastrophe is a good idea in theory, and unrealistic in practice. Control what you can control. Turn liabilities into opportunities. And finally, always remember if it is a tragedy in the present moment - it will make an awesome story later. Sometimes, it's okay to get stranded in West Virginia.