Awaiting adventure | Janelle Atyeo

Reaching into the deep freeze to grab a frozen cheese pizza for the kids’ supper, I looked around the garage to notice all the gear gathering dust.

Two kayaks hang from the rafters. The last time they were out on the water was when my nephew took a trip with his high school buddies.

A two-room tent sits in the corner, packed in its giant duffle. It saw the light of day this summer, but only once, in my parents’ backyard, and only because all of the guest rooms were full.

We took the giant unicorn floatie to the lake a few times. Two years ago.

Even the new bicycle I researched approximately 15 years before purchasing last summer hit the streets just once or twice this year.

I have good intentions for this stuff.

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I just purchased my state parks pass, and I hope to use it at least enough to make it worth the cost. So far it’s gotten me into the beautiful Palisades State Park one time and that’s it.

That pizza-packed deep freeze in our garage is flanked with totes of camping gear: a propane stove, sleeping bags and air mattresses. I even acquired one of those UV devices that make lake water safe to drink. That was for my next backwoods backpacking trip (next after my last one well over a decade ago, that is) or my bucket list through-hike.

The UV device is still in its original packaging.

I love the great outdoors. Seeing this equipment go unused year after year makes me a little sad.

Today my survival skills involve functioning on broken sleep and remembering to pack enough snacks to keep kids happy through an afternoon of running errands.

It’s a different adventure than I was expecting, but not one I’d trade for any mountaintop view in the world.

Someday soon we’ll get out there to enjoy Mother Nature found beyond the city park jungle gym. I hope my young girls will get hooked on feeling alive and free in nature.

Maybe, even if it’s years from now, I’ll complete that through-hike with the girls. I should probably wait until the baby is walking first.

Janelle is editor of the Tri-State Neighbor, covering South Dakota, southwestern Minnesota, northwestern Iowa and northeastern Nebraska. Reach her at [email protected] or follow on Twitter @JLNeighbor

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