Can the Outdoors Save Guys from Themselves?
Men suffer higher rates of suicide and drug abuse than women. Many are anxious and lonely—and, as a result, they’re all too often angry and violent. Wilderness Collective thinks the solution lies in open spaces, UTVs, and fireside talks. But is that enough?
O tender child of but six years: may this massive motocross-style helmet, complete with 14 intake vents, fit and protect you, for I understand not the ways of the online sizing chart.
I clicked purchase, and two weeks later my son, Casper, and I were roaring across a high sage desert, darkness falling, canyons plunging, chunky rocks looming, frigid wind howling, expensive epic of cinematic masculinity unfolding.
What in the end does a father want for his child? I wanted Casper to not get pneumonia on the first fucking day of our trip. But in his infinite wisdom, the god of the utility terrain vehicle (or UTV) forsook windshields, windows, climate control, and, for that matter, an effective muffler. I draped my coat across the boy’s little lap.
“Don’t let this blow away!” I yelled.
“Don’t let this blow away!”
Our conversation might’ve continued in this vein had I not been so caught up in staying upright. I’d been driving this bizarre vehicle—essentially a small, high-octane dune buggy—for an hour now and was steadily getting worse at it. We were in northwest Arizona, sloshing along a canyon somewhere between the Colorado Plateau and the Mojave Desert. Yucca and scrub oak blurred past as we fishtailed wildly across gravelly BLM two-track. The natural thing to do would be to slow down, but the light was fading, and we had another hour, or maybe five, until we reached camp. So I gunned it, swerving into the lonesome western landscape, hunched dementedly over the wheel, an off-road, neon-helmeted Neal Cassady.