Game for adventure: The Cairns-Locke girls cozy up in the Yukon. Photo: Peter Mather
When I opened the latest Patagonia catalog and saw this picture by nature photographer Peter Mather, I was instantly filled with envy and awe. Lying on a dirty concrete floor in a frigid cabin in the middle of winter in the Yukon, reading by candlelight, these three children seemed to embody all the qualities of true rippers. They looked so fresh-faced and content, so intrepid and game! I tore out the photo and taped it to the wall above my desk, for inspiration.
Then, because I had to know more, I tracked down Peter, a high school math teacher in Whitehorse, who moonlights for publications like Canadian Geographic, Canadian Wildlife, and Patagonia, and goes on frequent adventures with his wife and three stepdaughters: Kennedy, 13; Ava, 11; and Maya, 9. Peter gave me the back story on this picture and so much more: a blueprint for raising hardcore adventurous kids in all latitudes and every season. No whining allowed!
Fat bike slednecking: A sport is born. Photo: Ian Anderson
This photo popped up on my Facebook feed last week. It was taken by Ian Anderson, an outdoor industry public relations professional, accomplished outdoor athlete, and father of two kids (ages two and five). Ian lives in Carbondale, Colorado, with his wife, Sari Anderson, a professional endurance athlete who has won national championship titles in mountain biking and ski mountaineering and a world title in adventure racing. This may explain why their offspring are early adopters at almost every adventure sport known to man, including the one you see here: fat bike slednecking.
"I love to go sledding just about as much as my kids do, so there was really no question about what we were going to do when we woke up to over six inches of snow in Carbondale last Saturday," Ian says. "I got a Surly Pugsley fat bike last winter, and it’s really sure-footed on snowy, icy roads, so I figured we could ride to our local sledding hill—just over a mile away. I hooked up our Chariot Cheetah 2 bike trailer and threw two plastic sleds in the back. Then I remembered that one of the kids had gotten this ridiculous X Games 'snow bike' sled for Christmas a couple years ago and we had never tried it. So I got it down from the attic and tied it to the back of the Chariot."
When astronaut Donald Pettit heads into space with his 10 cameras, his goal is to collect data about the earth and the stars. Often, his images end up as art. Anyone with a computer can download the photos he takes from the cupola—the glass turret astronauts can look out of to see earth—of the International Space Station and put them into a timelapse video for all to see on Vimeo. At Outside, we've taken several of his photos and put them into blogs and galleries. (Here's a gallery of star trails.)
This week Raising Rippers is launching a new feature. It’s called Picture of the Week and every week—or as often as we’re inspired—we’ll post a particularly riveting or rad photo about adventuring with kids and give you the backstory behind the shot. What were they thinking? How'd they pull it off?* Got your own picture of the week? Submit to email@example.com.
Jumbo Rocks, Joshua Tree National Park, March 2012. Photo: Erika Benson
Benson took this picture while road tripping last spring across the Southwest with her husband and two daughters (ages 14 months and three) and describes the trip this way: It took us 10 days to go from New Mexico to Los Angeles, which if you look on Mapquest, should only take 14 hours. We had no plan. The first night we camped in Flagstaff, Arizona. It was 34 degrees and we’d packed for spring. The baby was up all night freezing. Finally I put her in the car to be warmer. From there we went to Lake Havasu City, where it was 96 degrees and we swam in the lake, which was like a slick of oil from all the boats. The only reason we went there was because London Bridge is there. The real one. It’s kind of cool that they took it apart stone by stone and then rebuilt it—but it’s still a gross American city. Then we went to Joshua Tree National Park. Somebody told us to camp at Jumbo Rocks Campground. It’s beautiful! There are lots of rocks for the kids to climb on. The baby woke up at 5 a.m., and I walked with her to try to keep her quiet. It was gorgeous then, with the sun rising all around.
This picture was taken at 10 in the morning. We were trying to break down camp and I couldn’t do it with her in the baby carrier. She would be a hazard. Earlier in the morning, hiking with her to get her to sleep, I’d seen these park signs: Be careful where you put your hands because of snakes. So there we were putting her in the Pack 'n' Play between big rocks. But it was shady! The campground wasn’t crowded when we got there and we drove around for a while looking for the perfect site. This one was tucked behind bushes and really private. We had to make lots of little trips from the car, so that’s why we needed to put her down. She slept for an hour and a half. She was tucked away so we couldn’t all the way see her, but we kept checking.