I like routines most of the time, like pressing my coffee in the morning, gravel walks with Tischer and bedtime reading. I also like — and rely upon — prompts to encourage other habits in my life. With this in mind, underneath my computer monitor in my office I keep a few items that I like to have within regular eyesight.
One such item is a small sticker about the size of a hockey puck and depicts sort of a speedometer graphic. It reads: Stoke Meter. The “needle” is buried in the red, at its highest mark.
Catching a glimpse of this sticker has led me in many directions, like impulsive push-ups on my office floor, trip ideas and program brainstorming for work. Last week, it planted a thought in my head that led to an immediate phone call.
Summer feels like it is in full swing with light hanging above the horizon late into the evening and high heat indexes. These are perfect opportunities for midweek adventures following the workday and on this day I headed home to grab the dog and my stand-up paddleboard and then hustled up to the coal dock in Washburn to meet Natalie.
We were both ready with our own gear and on the water within minutes. With Tischer riding on the nose of Natalie’s board, we dipped in and out of the stretching shade along the shore moving our way downwind over sandy bottoms and occasion boulders. I played with a combination of strokes and maneuvers, preparing for an upcoming training course.
As the wind grew, so did our awareness of the potential difficulty of our return trip. So we concocted a plan to head back and finish the day with dinner and drinks in the yard. We landed our boards on a small beach inaccessible from land for Tischer to splash around and smell before wrapping up our water session.
Back at home, I cut and prepared tinfoil pouches full of veggies and sausage while Natalie started a fire in our outside fire pan. When I couldn’t squeeze another clove of garlic in, each packet got a dollop of butter and then was wrapped tightly and placed into the young coals.
Finding a comfortable position in our camp chairs I found a proper distance from the flames that held the small number of mosquitos at bay while avoiding burns. Listening to our dinner bubble, I rotated the pouches occasionally in-between reading the paper and petting Tischer.
When dinner was ready, we peeled open our respective pouches and carefully spooned out bites of steaming goodness still sitting around the fire. As the sun finally reached the trees, we feasted on a glow that hit every blade of grass around us.
Nibbling on pieces of chocolate as the fire burned down, I felt like it had been a couple days worth of activities since I’d woken up that morning. I’d put in a full day at my job, spent time with my family out on the water and enjoyed a delicious, homemade meal around a fire.
Routines were still intact (though I could have disregarded that). With swimsuits drip-drying on the deck and our bare feet in the grass, I could tell that we were all fulfilled as bedtime neared. And my meter was reading high.
Lucas Will loves wilderness and enjoys many forms of recreation around the Bay area. Adventure is his middle name. Actually, it’s Frederick. When not outside, he lives in a tiny house with his partner and their dog. You can follow him on Instagram under the handle Alfresco Bum.