I have never been on a serious expedition, one that involves tents being carried on backs or a dependence on third parties to drop supplies. And adventure is a spectrum, which is awesome and that makes it accessible to everyone, but there are definite gradations of intensity and risk. Both Krakauer and Stemf are in the more intense end of the spectrum, the end where you might lose an appendage to frostbite. I am at the opposide end, where the risk, generally, is much milder.
The nice thing about inhabiting this end of the spectrum is the ability to revel in the small things, which seem to be lost in both “The Devil’s Thumb” and “Pinball Wizards.” The narratives are dangerous and the authors have been tested to their limits, but they both lack the joy that I find necessary in any adventure. I mean, even if you’re driving through a blizzard (and this is the closest I’ve come to their level of expedition) and the plows are playing hookey, you have to appreciate that in conjunction with the stupid pop music on the radio. An adventure, however big or small, needs to have those moments where you appreciate – you appreciate the absurdity, you appreciate the snowflakes, you appreciate your comrades. Appreciate anything.