Adventure Links of the Week

When we’re not outdoors, we get our adventure fix by exploring social media and the web. Here are some of the best adventure links we’ve discovered this week.

Botswana’s Female Safari Guides: In Africa, working as a tour guide is often seen as a man’s job. But women are increasingly challenging this stereotype.

In Botswana’s Okavango Delta, there are now a handful of female “polers” or mokoro guides. They expertly steer canoes over the wetlands, sharing knowledge of their home with tourists. Most of these women have been steering these boats since they were children. The canoes have long been the main mode of transport for their communities.

Paddling in a Superfund Site: Brad Vogel moved to Brooklyn in his twenties. He was working at a law firm when he first heard of the Gowanus Dredgers Canoe Club. The group would canoe in a canal filled with pathogens, heavy metals, chemicals, and liquid tar. He still wanted to join the club.

A few years later, Vogel gave up his law career, moved to Gowanus to be close to the water, and became the captain of the Dredgers. He has written a book of poetry about the little stretch of canal, the changes in the community, and paddling on the polluted water.

Armando Menocal.

Armando Menocal. Photo: Climbing Magazine


Saving fixed anchors

When You Clip a Bolt, You Can Thank This Guy: Armando Menocal was one of the founders of the Access Fund and its de facto leader from 1986 to 1993. Through the advocacy group and afterward, he fought for climbers’ rights and was one of the loudest voices when the government tried to ban bolts in the United States.

Menocal always thought of himself as a trad climber but somehow ended up defending bolts and sport climbing. Now, as the National Park Service and U.S. Forest Service have suggested banning fixed anchors, Menocal’s work is more important than ever.

The Long Defeat: The mountains do not always bring success. For all the stories of summits, there are many more failures.

Owen Clarke was trying to summit Tunguraha, a volcano in Ecuador. It was so cloudy he did not even get a clear view of the summit. Downpours left him and his kit soaked through. He trudged back down through the rain and wind. Frustratingly, this was his second attempt at the summit, and it ended the same way as his first. The first failure had irritated him for years. Now, his second bid was just as disheartening.

He thinks one of the reasons it is so tough is that you are acting out what you are doing. As you quit, you have to retreat and make your way back downhill physically. It is an emotionally draining experience. Yet it also makes the victories even sweeter.

French race car driver Hellé Nice in 1929.

French race car driver Helle Nice in 1929. Photo: Atlas Obscura


The very first road trip

How Women Used Cars To Fuel Empowerment: Bertha Benz took her husband’s “Patent Motor Wagon” out for a spin in 1888. She wanted to visit her mother and was tired of her husband’s obsession with inventing the automobile. Some view her journey as the first road trip.

The Many Lifetimes of an Old Red Bike: At six, Iain Treloar was given a little red bike that had been in the family for generations. Six-year-old Iain was not that happy with the bike. It was not shiny and new like the other kids’ bikes. Decades later, the little bike was still at his grandma’s house when he visited.

He felt a pang of guilt about how ungrateful he had been and asked his grandma about the bike. What unfolded was a story that went back to the late 1800s. It was his grandma’s first bike in the 1940s, and nearly everyone in his family had learned to cycle on it.

Rebecca McPhee

Rebecca McPhee is a freelance writer for ExplorersWeb.

Rebecca has been writing about open water sports, adventure travel, and marine science for three years. Prior to that, Rebecca worked as an Editorial Assistant at Taylor and Francis, and a Wildlife Officer for ORCA.

Based in the UK Rebecca is a science teacher and volunteers for a number of marine charities. She enjoys open water swimming, hiking, diving, and traveling.