W&W Blog



‘We’ve lulled ourselves into believing that in an emergency, someone else will always come along to rescue us. We’ve stopped relying on our own wonderfully adaptable bodies, we’ve forgotten that we can think, climb, leap, run, throw, swim, and fight with more versatility than any other creature on the planet.’

  • Christopher McDougall Natural Born Heroes


Surfing the last twenty years on the forbidding cold Oregon coast taught me self-reliance. It is a must around here. In exotic locations the sun always shines and lifeguard towers litter the beaches with buff n bronze trained professionals that are ready to jump in and save you Bay Watch style. Not so much in the Pacific North Wet (not a typo), where you are on your own.  I’ve been pulled a half mile offshore in a strong rip, charged by sea lions, watched my board pirouette on top of a wave seventy-five yards to the shore in big seas, dragged eighteen feet under the water in big surf, and much more. Despite thinking I am going to die, I survived on my own without help from anyone in those situations. In fact, it is amazing that more surfers do not meet their maker doing the sport they love. Hard to come by statistics show that only around 10 people died surfing of the estimated 23 million surfers in the world in 2018. Not that many, right? Those harrowing experiences produced something inside of me that sitting in a classroom or on a couch never did. Self-reliance. I could survive and thrive in the wild ocean despite all the adversity that is thrown my way.

Take out going into the ocean, which freaks most people out, and the concept of self-reliance still sounds scary or foreign to a lot of us. Our culture has been lulled into believing that we always need outside help when something is wrong. We expect our government to take care of us, doctors to fix us, schools to teach us, and places of worship to tell us who God is. The fact is, we do not need these places like we think we do. We do need these institutions to assist us and help when we are unable of take care of ourselves because lurking inside of each and every one of us is an amazing untapped capability to thrive in tough situations. You are tougher than what you think.  I love Christopher McDougall’s quote from Natural Born Heroes. We are the most versatile creature on the planet, and we are capable of a lot more than we realize. The corona virus has upended our world and lives on so many different levels, but it doesn’t mean you cannot thrive and tap into your remarkable potential!


Here are 5 keys I have learned over the years on developing self-reliance:

  1. Mental Toughness. Thinking properly is a game changer. Be positive. Don’t let negative emotions weigh yourself down. Choose to move forward and stay active. Expect good things are going to happen to you eventually.
  2. Physical toughness. Exercise and healthy eating (or at least heathier eating) increases your energy levels, ability to handle pain, and gives you the endurance to handle long hours and stress that life requires of you.
  3. Moral toughness. Integrity is nonnegotiable. You’ll never be perfect, but by taking the high road, being empathetic, and trying to always do your best will instill a confidence in you by doing all you can. Sleep comes much easier with this approach.
  4. Live for something. Angela Duckworth’s book Grit cites that people are more likely to stick with something long term when they’re connected to a higher purpose in life. Important things take time, energy, and effort to obtain. Find your reason to get out of bed every morning and get after it.
  5. Humility.  Arrogance, self-promotion, and anything other than being humble is a waste of time. There will always be someone better than you and you always be better than someone else. Crush whatever comes your way but do it with a humble mindset. It will allow you to be freer than what you thought was possible.


So, what is it going to take for you to develop your own self-reliance during this season? Is it taking a wilderness medicine class from us or someone else that instills confidence to handle first aid emergencies you may find yourself in? Is it taking our breath course, so you have another arrow in the quiver in your life to help handle the stress better? Is it just going outdoors to exercise?  I don’t know what this means for you, but I do know you can handle anything life throws at you. Discover that there is more to you than you ever thought possible. GET OUT there and FIND OUT what you are really made of. BE AN OUTSIDER



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Hey there fellow Rogues of this valley. I bet, like me, you are all feeling a little stir crazy these days. We at Wilderness and Waves wanted to throw some options for you all to get by in these times. First, however, we want to encourage everyone to follow CDC guidelines for COVID-19 (seen here) as well as guidance from your state governments. Much of the guidance relates to social distancing, self-quarantine and flattening the curve (reducing the rate of infection). That has meant many schools, businesses, gyms, and restaurants/bars have closed. You know, those things that we fill our 24-hour days with.

“Actually, being outside is a healthy thing to do in this environment,” said Paula Fasano Negele, a spokeswoman for the Oregon Office of Emergency Management. “You’re social distancing when you’re outdoors, it’s good for your mental health, and it’s good for your physical health right now, so I think it’s probably a good thing to do.” (From the Oregonian)

Links are just for fun and a starting point. As in everything we say, get out and find out.

1. Get out on the trails: https://www.alltrails.com/us/oregon?ref=header

2. Backcountry Ski: https://www.outdoorproject.com/travel/backcountry-skiing-oregon

3. Get out on a bike: https://www.mtbproject.com/directory/8013997/ashland

4. Start a garden: https://commonsensehome.com/start-a-garden/
How to build a raised bed

5. Remote Gym workouts: No links for this one, but google. Decode what you want to do and you can find links. Although, several organizations like YMCA, Peloton, Yoga teachers and others have put out content online.

Stay tuned fellow adventurers. We will be communicating out more from our social distance. We are looking to host a First Aid class in the next few weeks; this will be a COVID-19 based set up-Social distance, sanitization, and barrier protection in addition to getting you CPR/First Aid certified to help out on the front lines should you be needed.


Jeff JordanGET OUT!!!
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Happy Spring everyone! We at wilderness and Waves felt this is the most appropriate time to talk about transition. While we are all experiencing a massive amount of transition related to COVID-19, you may have missed a few other transitions this month:

Daylight Savings. I hate this one, so google it on your own 🙂 seriously though. The worst.
The Vernal Equinox: Interesting clip here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zwoA3Ftrw6k

For us, this is the start of about a month or two of transition. We move from the winter adventure season, which is full of skiing, snowboarding, sledding, snowshoeing, cross country, skinning, long naps in blankets, saying we are going to go to the gym, but buy a new streaming service instead; into the spring season (not that some of you will stop doing these things). Running, biking, hiking, rafting, surfing (not that some of you aren’t doing these during the winter) but also long naps in blankets, saying we are going to go to the gym, but buying new streaming service instead. It is a funky time of year, you can get a 60 degree hike in blue bird weather on Saturday, and then ski three new inches on Sunday. You can hit the coast and ride a wave in the ocean, then skin up to a peak and ride a frozen wave down. Warmer weather is on the horizon, but get those last cold weather activities in while you can.


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Your breath is powerful. It fuels you, it restores you, it cleanses you. Your breath is you incarnate. However, it is often the thing we short ourselves on. Especially, when there is the possibility that you could get very sick by breathing deeply out in the big world. We at Wilderness and Waves are big proponents of your breath. So everyone, social distance times four and take a deep breath (You, yeah you, brush your teeth, we will wait). Feel the air fill your lungs, feel it in your chest, your belly, your arms, legs, fingers, toes and brain; then exhale. How do you feel? Try again. What if you made a conscious effort to do this several times a day?


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“How much further?” Annoyance flooded my soul when the most overused question ever uttered in adventure travel history broke my train of thought just as the sun started to set on the ridge ahead of us. Five years ago, I was driving on the backroads with my wife, and our two youngest boys (we have four altogether) were heading out to soak up some of the last days of summer with a camping and hiking trip up on Siskiyou Peak, a semi-remote area tucked behind Mt Ashland found in the backcountry of Southern Oregon. The infamous question raised, along with its various forms of “are we there yet?” or “how much longer till we get there?”, usually breaks up the travel harmony longed for on journeys such as these. As a father, I constantly hear this traveling great distances to the corner market or adventuring wherever our outdoor pursuits take us. I just about blurted out my normal sarcastic response of ‘5 minutes’, when I noticed in my side mirror a pair of feet dangling harmlessly out the car window. Those feet belonged to none other than the originator of the question, my 7-year-old son Bren. Taking a moment (and a picture) to gather myself, I quickly realized that he wasn’t being impatient, which is usually the byproduct of hunger, urinary needs, and/or boredom. This time it came from a place of true enjoyment. He wanted to simply know how much longer he could hang his feet out the window.

Kids have such a pure and simple way of looking at life that is refreshing. Strapped into the backseat of the old Ford Explorer, with no air conditioning, and unable to have much freedom, he stumbled onto a profound lesson I believe we all could benefit from. He found a way to enjoy what he was doing despite the circumstances. Most of us, with the hustle and bustle of modern-day life, forget what this is like. We live in a ‘results’ driven culture that only concerns itself with the finished product, which constantly draws our attention to think about what we don’t have, what we should have, and what we wish we were doing that we are not. Enjoyment is sacrificed on the altar of scurrying around our urban lives trying to keep up with these demands. Getting outdoors simplifies this confusion of our lives in a way very few things can. This time, with the help of my son, the refocusing of my life started way before we got to the destination. It started with the dirt and gravel crunching under the tires and my son asking an innocent question. So next time you find yourself stressed and miserable, get away and take a lesson from Bren and let your feet fly…



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I am not a cheater. My wife knows that. I am too stupid to get away with anything like that anyways. She does openly acknowledge the presence of my mistress, though. If fact, she insisted on calling her by that name. ‘My mistress’ is a lighthearted joking reference to my love affair with surfing. She knows the deep rooted passion I have for the sport. Ever since I was a little kid, it drew me in like it held some magical key of life. So I determined early on that one day I would triumphantly ride a wave. Ironically, that opportunity never presented itself until my late twenties.

The day was somewhere back around the turn of the century. I suited up and paddled out just like I had before on a couple of previous failed attempts at a little cove called the Devil’s Punch Bowl. I gazed out unto the ocean that day, waiting patiently, until this little three-foot wave popped up on the horizon and headed my way. Spinning my board around quickly, I dug in and paddled hard. The back end of the surfboard started to elevate as the wave caught up to me. I jumped to my feet and to my amazement and delight, I kept my balance and rode my very first wave. It was love at first ride. The real reward that day, beyond the act of riding the wave itself, rests in the heart of what outdoor adventure is all about.

True outdoor adventure, I believe, is the self-discovery and empowerment that occurs in our lives when we push ourselves one step further than what is comfortable. Ripping down the face of a wave does that for me, but by no means is it the only place where I find that. I notice it hiking in the mountains, backpacking on different trails, riding groovy skateboards in parks, and floating down fast moving rivers. Where ever I push myself, the revelation of who and what I truly am becomes evident through the challenge at hand. Sometimes the revelation is good. Like when I rode the first wave, or made it up a summit I thought beyond my capabilities. Those leave you thinking, ‘wow, I really just did that?’ The empowerment that follows those accomplishments are intoxicating as well as addictive. It builds confidence in your own capabilities and is transferable to other areas of your life. However, there are other times when the revelation is not as good. Like when I didn’t fully commit to a big wave and got munched, or didn’t drink enough water and my quads cramped all the way up and down a mountain. Those thoughts of ‘I didn’t put everything I had into it’ or ‘I didn’t prepare enough’ are hard to digest at first, but end up highlighting areas that need to improve in one’s character. The cool thing about outdoor adventure is that growth is inevitable and that is truly why we need to get out and find out.



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