Cameron’s big adventure: a guide to outdoor recreation in your backyard

Cameron’s adventure 1

Cameron Luker

Alright, I know that we are supposed to stay home on Andy’s orders, but come on, the weather last week was beautiful. How can you help but want to find your hiking boots that are probably in some bag you never had a chance to unpack since moving home from school? I knew I had to get out of my house and enjoy the weather and some of my favorite outdoor activities.

Thankfully, the quarter-acre of land on which my house sits offers everything I need for some adventure. Since I’ve been practicing social distancing, rock climbing has been what I have missed the most. I remembered a nearby cliff where I cut my teeth as a climber. It was tall, steep, and daunting. The cliff was my training ground before I began testing myself at Red River Gorge. Since The Red is closed now, I decided to get back to my roots.

As I looked neared the base of the wall, I noticed that it hadn’t been climbed in a while and some of the handholds had been weathered by the elements. This might get dicey. I put on my helmet and my equipment and headed up. Climbing the cliff was like stepping in a time machine. I remembered every foothold and crack. Eventually I reached the top and looked down at what I had conquered. It wasn’t quite as tall as I remembered.


After my ascent, I was thirsty and hungry. Climbing can really take it out of you, but I knew some fresh fish would be perfect to fuel the other adventures I had planned for the day. Luckily, there is a pond not from the cliff, so I fetched my rod and walked to the bank. I knew that the monster bass that lurked in the depths loved a good crankbait, so I tied one on and cast with all my might. I guess the fish were social distancing too, because I didn’t even get a nibble.

Fishermen are supposed to be patient, but I had more planned for the day and couldn’t wait on reclusive aquatic life before continuing. The water of the pond was looking pretty clear. It would be nice to float around a bit, so I deployed my kayak and set sail into the waters that stretched out before me like the wide Atlantic. My craft cut through the water like a knife. Before no time I had crossed to the opposite bank. As I turned around to head back, I pondered how many miles I had paddled to far. I was about to double it. Thankfully, the wind was to my back and I was back on dry land in no time. 

Once I dragged my kayak onto the shore, I saw that I still had some daylight. The water in the pond was a warm 50º, practically tropical. I could stand to cool off and swim, so I donned my flippers and snorkel. Who knew what kind of treasures I could find in the murky depths of the pond; Monsters! Mermaids! Pirate treasure?! I stepped into the muck and waded further into deeper water. Once I had acclimated myself to the temperature, I dove underneath. Unfortunately, the muck blocked my goggles and I couldn’t see much, but as I swam, I’m pretty sure I saw the glimmer of gold on the bottom.

I knew it was too deep and dark, and the sun was going down, so I kicked my way back to the shore. I dried off and began the walk back to my home. After all of my adventuring, I looked forward to a good meal and a shower. Nothing like a good day getting hungry and dirty to make those two things feel like a slice of heaven. As I rested that night, I was thankful that my little time outdoors had given me a bit of escape from the rest of the chaos. All it took was a backyard and tiny bit of imagination.