An Introduction to the Humans That Go.


An Introduction to the Humans That Go. 

Of all the so-called writing I do, this might be what I am most excited about. When I travel (and even when I don't) I meet remarkable people with some incredible stories to tell. Me? I've got plenty of stories to share, and I know I'm not close the most interesting or the best story-teller out there. So this series is for them; the everyday explorer. Humans That Go is the platform for adventurers everywhere to tell some of the greatest travel stories you might not ever hear otherwise. 

Yes, the questions are somewhat juvenile and even vague for the most part. But that is purposeful.  Anything can happen to you when you travel, and who are we to censor or limit what travel really is. We want to leave the floor open to all the ideas and locations you can think of. So share the full story, don't you dare hold back, and then take a minute to read about someone else's tales of everyday adventure! 

-M. Waterford 

Humans That Go

Photo courtesy of Chet Strange and Eric Brodell. 

Eric Brodell

Any spot of untouched nature with friends or family, sharing the wilderness with others is a powerful experience. Get out there.

Mountain Folk Adventure: Who are you?

Eric Brodell: My name is Eric Brodell; I’m a true Hoosier hailing from Lafayette, IN where I spent my whole life up until I moved to Bloomington, IN during 2010. I’m currently finishing my Masters of Public Health degree here at the IU School of Public Health. A big part of what I do is getting people healthy through going outdoors, especially on bikes. I’ve found all of my favorite trips are, of course, in the outdoors and a lot of my best adventures have involved a bike.

MFA:  What has been your favorite trip?

EB: My favorite trip was a through-hike of Yosemite with a group of 5 other friends. We hiked along the Yosemite Valley on the North Rim trail over the course of a week at the end of May/beginning of June. At that time of year, the waterfalls are gushing, the streams bursting from their banks, and the weather is normally what you could call ‘killer’ (70 during the day and about 40 at night). We only had a week, so we took 5 days and 4 nights out on the trail. We did 35+ miles over the course of our 5-day trek, which was challenging, but not too bad. I’ve found that it’s not the comfort of a trip that makes it memorable. It’s the struggle, the adversity, and most importantly, the people you have on the trip with you. If you surround yourself with good people, it’s hard to have a bad time, no matter where you are.

MFA: What is your dream trip?

EB: My dream trip is to drive around the country with my dog and ride all the IMBA EPIC rated trail systems for the past 5 years in the US and camp along the way. Not the most difficult trip out there, but seeing the vastness of the United States by traveling to all of these renowned trail systems offers a unique opportunity. The geographic diversity of the United States is pretty spectacular; being able to see all of that in one (long ass) trip would be nothing short of awesome.

MFA: What “unnecessary” comfort item do you always bring on a trip?

EB: Some good buds. (Can I actually say that?)

MFA: Of Course. This is a judgement free zone! What’s the best piece of travel equipment you’ve ever owned?

EB: The Osprey Kestrel 48; this bag’s got it all. It’s comfortable, light, and durable and when a piece fails on it, Osprey will send you a replacement or fix it for free.

MFA:  What’s one travel lesson that you had to learn the hard way?

EB: First aid kits are important and don’t do anything you know you can’t. During a short period of time I spent in Zion National Park, two of my friends and I were taking a 4-day backcountry trip into the southwest desert, taking a route up the Coalpits Wash. We were there during the spring; the flowers were blooming, the water was rushing (yes, water in the desert) and everything was just spectacularly beautiful. We headed up the wash, hiking at a great pace to be able to set up camp and explore a bit on the first starry night. Made it to camp and immediately went out for a dip in the cool, running water down the hill. Being immersed in such a beautiful and seemingly environment can promote some lapses in judgment, though. On our way up to that evening’s campsite, we saw some great rocks that we could boulder for a shortcut up to the site, so we decided to try it. Two of us scrambled up the rocks, but our third was having a bit of a time at it. We went to offer help and get him up the rock, but as soon as we got over there, he slipped and fell about 5 feet onto another rock, landing straight on his kneecap. It could go without saying that he split his knee open and was bleeding pretty good, so we got back to the site and went looking for our first aid kit that wasn’t there. Once we realized none of us had the kit, and we were a good 8 miles out from our car, my wilderness first aid kicked in. We cut some strips of clean bandana and t-shirt to make some bandages and went to the convenient spring that was gushing from a wall down in a slot canyon. I know that you’re probably not supposed to wash out cuts with camp soap and water that hadn’t been boiled, but that’s what we did. We got the bleeding stopped and got him back up to the site where we were able to enjoy the rest of our night. But, since we didn’t have a first aid kit, we were forced to head back, just a day into our hike through the canyons.

This story really turned out better than it could have. Broken bones, infections, and shock are very real things that we seldom encounter in protected civilization, and even when we do, there are resources available to assist in those situations. While it’s definitely important to carry a first aid kit (duh), it’s even more important to realize your boundaries. When you’re out in the wilderness and have nothing but what you’ve carried in, self-preservation should take precedence, because there’s no one else out there to help you other than yourself and whoever you’re with. Thankfully, there were three of us, so we were able to handle the situation pretty well. Not something you want to encounter on the trail; be prepared and aware!

Photo courtesy of Chet Strange and Eric Brodell. 

MFA: What’s your favorite travel/adventure book? 

EB: This is a tough one. I can’t say that I’ve read too many recounts of other’s adventures; I’ve always tried to dream of my own. But, I can say that Galapagos, a Kurt Vonnegut novel, had an interesting adventure twist to it. If you like satire and a bit of a desert island situation, check it out.

MFA: What is your favorite road trip music or album?

EB: The Dead Weather – Sea of Cowards (really any of their albums are great driving music)

MFA:  What is the one food you always crave after a long trip?

EB: A nice burger and a cold brew

MFA: Where and what was the best meal you’ve ever had?

EB: Certainly not on the trail, although backpacker meals and dried fruit have a special place in my heart. When I was in high school, my family took a trip down to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico and went deep-sea fishing. We caught 8 Yellowfin Tuna and had a lot of it made into sushi (oddly enough) and various other tuna dishes. It was the freshest and best prepared fish I’d ever had. Plus, there was no way we could eat it all, so we gave the rest to the hotel to serve to the kitchen staff and hotel staff. That’s probably the icing on the proverbial cake for this meal in my memory.

MFA:   What’s the best place you’ve ever pooped?

EB: Right here: Yosemite National Park, looking onto half dome on a crisp summer morning.

Photo courtesy of Chet Strange and Eric Brodell. 

MFA: Picture perfect. If you could go anywhere in time and space with anyone alive or dead, where would you go and who would you go with? 

EB: Any spot of untouched nature with friends or family, sharing the wilderness with others is a powerful experience. Get out there.

MFA: All good words. Thanks for sharing.