Our first official adventure took us to Canaveral National Seashore on Florida's east coast. This protected waterway is home to sea turtles, dolphins, redfish, bald eagles, and many other native species. The primitive island campsites provide the perfect setting for adventure.
We struck out on a Friday afternoon, work and family obligations creating a later start for all of us than originally planned. Once on the road, however, all stress subsided and we were happy to just be guys in a truck. We rambled on like kids about our plans for the weekend—the food we would cook, the photos we wanted to get, and the logistics of loading our excessive amount of gear into canoes. There would be no support boat, no easy way to our remote island campsite. Four guys and a dog, three coolers—one each for food, drinks, and ice—one amazing field kitchen, camera equipment, tents, firewood, clothes, propane, water, and various necessities. These would end up filling three canoes.
As soon as we were on the water we knew exactly why we were embarking on this adventure. Literally leaving land and trouble behind us, we paddled toward freedom, toward excitement, and toward a lot of hard work. We reached land at twenty past seven, not a far cry from nightfall. We set to work immediately building our camp, splitting duties between setting up the kitchen, and cooking, starting a fire, and pitching tents. By the time camp was set and dinner ready, it was dark. Like nine thirty dark. But the results were magical. A steak and salad never tasted so good. In the last hours of Friday we sat around our fire, drink in hand, and talked about our hopes and dreams: for this story, for the future, for adventure.
There were many more great moments that weekend; many more amazing meals cooked over fire and propane, many more ambitious thoughts and propositions, and many more chances for smile and laughter. And although things may not always be perfect or go exactly according to plan, adventure brings forth our knack of improvisation. Whether caused by rain, unseasonable heat, bugs, or some other setback, you learn to just roll with it and go with your instincts. To trust your gut. Because no matter what, the joy is still in the arrant satisfaction of getting away. And at the end of it all one thing was sure: we were four men closer in friendship than before, determined that this would not be the last adventure.