The List

Dec 1, 1998
Outside Magazine

14. Be Competent Outdoors.

11. Walk on the Moon.
By Alan Bean
Once on the Moon's surface you'll quickly discover that walking is pretty difficult, while running is easy. So let's talk about your brief run on the Moon.

First the good news. In this gravity, one-sixth of Earth's, you'll feel very strong. You'll feel as light on your feet as you could possibly expect—lighter, even. For example, let's say you weigh, as I do, about 180 pounds on Earth. Suddenly your legs only have to support 30 pounds. That's great!

Now the bad news. You're going to have to wear a 150-pound space suit and backpack to provide breathing oxygen and cooling water in the hard vacuum and blistering environment of the Moon.
But wait...even this bad news is still good news! Despite the bulky space suit, you'll still be supporting only 55 pounds; you'll soon notice that gravity doesn't pull you back to the surface as quickly as it did on Earth. After pushing off on one foot, there will be a long wait until you land on the other, exactly like running in slow motion. The interesting part is that you'll feel your leg muscles relax completely as you glide along, awaiting that next step. Your legs will never seem to tire, no matter how fast you run. (But pay attention to exactly where you point your moon boots. It wouldn't be a good idea to land on a rock or in anything but the smallest crater. A little free advice.) As you run, you'll feel as if you're leaping long, impossible distances. And in fact you are.

It'll all be over much too soon. Your backpack can carry only so much cooling water, and it's advisable not to run out of refrigerant too far from your spaceship.

On the ride home, you won't be the same person who left Earth just five days before. You'll feel more grateful, more blessed simply to be a human. Why? Because nothing else in the universe that we know of has the will and the ability to do what you just did.

Alan Bean walked on the Moon on November 19, 1969, as a crewman on Apollo

12. Take a Year Off

13. Take Another Year Off

14. Be Competent Outdoors

Your best tack: Be born to a parent who's a registered Maine Guide. Short of that, there's no shame in a stopover at the National Outdoor Leadership School's Wind River Wilderness program ($2,075; 307-332-5300). After two weeks in Wyoming's Wind River Range—one of the Lower 48's most dramatic and least populated landscapes—you'll emerge undaunted by backcountry camp setup, rock climbing, backpacking, wilderness first aid, and fly-fishing.