Whether its a friend, boyfriend, or wife; the outdoors can be so much better together.
We asked adventure couples to share what makes adventuring together better, here’s what they had to say:
Danielle + Kevin
We fell in love over climbing.
We got engaged in April of 2017 in Red Rock Canyon, NV, after just over 5 years of dating. Kevin wanted to go do a climb he had done at NOLS called Olive Oil, which he had loved. I let him take the lead since he had been there before. What was supposed to be an hour long approach became two and a half hours. He led us to the base of the wrong mountain! And then we had to bushwhack over to the RIGHT mountain! Once we were at the base, we couldn’t find the start of the climb. I found something that looked a lot like it, but Olive Oil is a popular climb, and there was no space at the bottom to belay. But I was convinced it was our climb. So we started up. It ended up being a messy, wandering trad route that Kevin led like a champ (his routefinding skills are great), but it emphatically was NOT Olive Oil. We ended up finding a couple of bolts maybe a hundred feet off the ground (in an area that’s not supposed to be bolted) that we hooked into. Kevin made an attempt to get above them but the pro vanished. So he came back down to the bolts and we had some snacks (he asked beforehand if I thought I was going to drop the snacks…perhaps that should have been a clue). He seemed really agitated and frustrated so I asked him what was wrong. He sighed and looked at me and asked, “Do you think this was an adventure?” I answered, “Fuck yeah. We both worked really hard to get ourselves really lost, and we had a great time anyway. Totally an adventure.” Then he took a ring box out of the summit bag I’d been carrying the whole time, got down on one knee on a sloping ledge on the hanging belay, and said, “I want all of my adventures for the rest of my life to be with you. Will you marry me?” I had started crying when the ring box came out, but I managed a tearful “Yes!” He put the ring on my finger, we rapped off the ridiculous route, and bushwhacked our way back.
Aldana + Mariano
We have a lot of unforgettable moments as a couple, but one time we were doing a long trek in Peru, the Inka Trail that takes 4 days of walking and camping in the tall Andes mountains and in the jungle. The second day of walking, we were ascending along the path and I started to feel altitude sickness, the strongest stomach pain and a really bad headache, I felt that I couldn’t walk any more. We had traveled real far from our home to Peru to do that trek, so Mariano talk to me a lot, he encouraged me to continue. I felt real bad, so he decided to carry on his backpack and mine also so I could be continue walking more easily. He continued to encourage an support me a lot, and thanks of that we made it to the top. Then to the next camp and in two more days we arrived to the magical Machu Picchu. It was a day I thank him for pushing my limits, because of that I have one of the most beautiful experiences in my life.
Ian + Jessica
I think we are more playful. For better or worse, we don’t get caught up in paying bills or worrying about the future. Our minds are set on when we get to go play outside together again. We learned how to simplify our adulthood and marriage into a friendship.
I stayed the night with some friends one weekend. They told me the next day they were going to meet a friend and take some pictures at the Red River Gorge for a blog. At this point, I had been with Ian for about four years and was beyond ready to get married. But for some reason a proposal wasn’t on my mind that day.
So I go for this hike, and the whole time my friends are saying they can’t find the girl they are supposed to take pictures with. But soon we come across Haystack Rock. It’s this dome-like rock standing out in the middle of a deep gorge. As we approach it, I notice someone is standing on it. I look over at my friends. “Is that Ian?”
Some of them had already started crying. “Is that Ian?” I asked again, but I already knew it was. I got closer, and his best friend, a photographer, is there taking pictures of me as I walk up. “Hey, Jess.” And for some reason, that’s when I knew. This is it.
So I scramble down to the base of Haystack rock. There’s a harness waiting for me. I climb up the side of Haystack rock in my clunky hiking boots. I’ve never been so glad for a harness. And I’ve never been a worse climber. I was trembling and nervous and my boots kept slipping. (Later, I told Ian how cruel it was that he made me climb in that condition.)
But I made it to the top. Ian was waiting, belaying me the whole time. And then he knelt down. I don’t remember him saying anything. I just saw the ring and crumbled. He put it on my finger. I choked up a “Yes.” And then I turned to what I thought was only three of my friends and a couple of Ian’s to say “We’re engaged!” to instead see a whole crowd of our closest friends and family on the ledge. And then I cried some more.
It was one of the most beautiful moments because it somehow brought together everything Ian and I love. Our family, friends, climbing, and each other.
Chuck + Victoria
At this point in our relationship, we feel stronger together outdoors. We are both comfortable with each other and trust each other which allows strength to flourish. I feel stronger when I boulder with Chuck because I know that he is there to spot me and can give me good advice. When we are hiking, even though there might be discrepancies on which way to go, ultimately, we know that we have each other backs. When one of us chooses the wrong turn or the wrong path we laugh it off and figure out another way to go.
Allison + Drew
My husband and I went to climb Mt Fuji together without our children 2 years ago, but due babysitter problems we had to turn around at the 9th station (there’s only 10).
It was a horrible feeling to be so close and not finish.
Then last year we were determined to make it to the summit. We got a sitter lined up, but then our son expressed a strong interest to join us so we decided we were going to go up Mt Fuji all together, but only as far as our son was able. Even if that meant we wouldn’t finish. We thought he’d only make it to the 6th station, a common turn around point for inexperienced hikers, but our son made it all the way to the 8th station by himself! The entire way my husband and I rotated whom held our 2 year old daughter. We were patient when our son needed his breaks and were equally estonished by how fast and poised our son was on the steep terrain. That has been the most unforgettable moment of my life seeing my son achieve something not many adults could do.
David + Lucy
Our relationship is SO much stronger outdoors! I always say a good camping/backpacking trip is the best marriage counseling you can ask for. Couples can get lost in the regular day to day crap and taking a trip outdoors with your husband/wife really brings you back to what matters. It brings you back to quality time, working as a team, helping, encouraging, etc.
I’m a bit of a clean freak at home and my husband doesn’t believe in putting ANYTHING in the dishwasher, it typically bothers me to no end. However, a few summers ago we hiked and camped through Alaska and had to worry about things like, grizzly bears, working together as a team to set up a tent in the dark and the freezing cold, finding food, etc….so, after facing obstacles like that together, the dirty cup in the sink didn’t seem to even matter anymore.
Greg + Michelle
Greg is incredibly supportive. As a person wary of heights, for him to have taken up lead climbing and belaying just to spend time with me has meant the world to me. I love that he wants me to be the best I can be, and is up for my crazy adventure ideas.
Something I love about Michelle is her emotional strength and her unwavering support for me. She will throw herself at a challenge and power through all the tears and the frustration until she comes out on top. All the while she will always have room in her heart to help me struggle through my own emotions and frustrations. She will lend advice, hold my hand and tell me she loves me even when facing her own struggles.
Ben + Whitney
What’s funny is that our outdoor activities kind of work out going together. Usually when I make him hike a few miles to belay me for rock climbing, he brings along a fishing pole to set up during down time. He’s not as avid a rock climber, but he loves the hiking and seeing new places. I’m not as into fishing, but I love sitting around and taking our pup to swim. He canoes and fishes while I paddle board. We definitely share the same passion for hammocking and sleeping outside. He got me into skiing. Lately we’ve really been getting into mountain biking and canoeing together, it’s all been awesome.
Keith + Laura
I love when she gets really excited about something. She gets super animated with her hands, which is normal, but also makes this funny nerdy face, opening her eyes all wide and pulling the sides of her mouth back in a sort of forced smile that looks like the exposed-teeth smile emoji.
I love his love for fungus. Yes, fungus. He’s a science major, and any time we spot any varietal of mushroom or any type of fungus on an outdoor hike/adventure he gets super excited and tells me all about it… what it is, what it does… how it all works. His enthusiasm is adorable.
Maggie + Nick
I would say our biggest hurdle has been trying to explain our lifestyle to our families. I come from a line of bankers and lawyers so they don’t always understand why I’m ok working part time or odd jobs or why we would rather live in a van in the desert for a month instead of going on a cruise for vacation. But to be honest although sometimes my family doesn’t understand, I feel like our “adventure couple” lifestyle has made our relationship less complicated and so much stronger because of the challenges we face together outside.
Anthony + Kristina
We push each other to do better and try harder. We also know we can back down if we need to, and that’s okay too. Our relationship is so much stronger because we built it exploring the outdoors together. We’re seen each other in our best and worst moments. When you know it’s okay if things don’t go as planned, you have much more space to be creative and think outside the box in accomplishing goals.
Chuck + Maggie
Since we live off the grid wherever we happen to be, the opposite question might better apply. Most aspects of modern life now feel sort of foreign to us. Internet is a once-or-twice-a-week luxury. If we can get an NPR station on the radio at camp, we listen to that the way families would gather around to hear the news during World War II. We spend more time reading books from thrift stores than we do staring at screens. I think that as a result of this, we always have new things to talk about with each other.
Brian + Favia
I am a planner and am very focused. Brian can see the bigger picture and relax. I can plan trips to the smallest of detail, but sometimes get so hyperfocused on staying on schedule that I forget the point of the trip is to have fun. Luckily, I have Brian to help me relax and enjoy just being outside and he has me to handle the tedious details.
Margaux + Molly
We always feel so much more grounded and inspired after coming back from a weekend outdoors. It’s often difficult to maintain what is important in modern life, especially with the social expectations of constant connection through technology; but we are successful in not getting caught up in vanity or materialism.
Being out in nature allows us to stay connected to our true selves so that we can stay strong in the face of adversity and expectations. Nature never requires that we be a certain way because are women; it gives us the space to just be ourselves.
Heidy + Ziyad
We are absolutely stronger together. Climbing is more than a physical ability, and requires mental strength. Thus when we are together, we are able to overcome some of our mental road blocks. If I start feeling self-doubt or fear, or Ziyad is struggling with motivation and confidence to take on difficult project, we can help each other through the struggles to be stronger both mentally and physically outdoors.
Kel + Rhody
It’s easy to see how your partner has grown in their climbing ability but it’s immensely more difficult to see how you’ve grown yourself. I am inspired by how positive my partner is about everything. He takes a few falls, loses his onsight, misses a red point at the last clip of his project, he still has a great thing to say about his experience and his day. I am incredibly inspired by his mindset. I asked him how I inspire him and he said he feels inspired to push himself because he knows I will be there to keep him safe and keep him going.
Kira + Alex
I am a breast cancer survivor, however unfortunately I am currently battling it for a second time. When I found out that my cancer had come back, I was completely and utterly devastated. I am only 33, and all I keep thinking is- Why… How… Why me… Why again? My thoughts start to spiral and I wonder how I can face all of it again. Then, I remember that this time, I have Alex by my side. He is my swim buddy, like a Navy Seal. He is my ultimate cheerleader and coach. He is always, without a doubt, in my corner. He always, always, always has my back. Knowing that Alex is with me no matter what happens makes me feel so much stronger, so much more at ease, so much more capable of handling anything that comes my way. He always uses the phrase ‘we’ which reminds me that I will never be alone. He is always reminding me of how strong I am, what a ‘crusher’ I am, and that makes all the difference in the world. I feel like I can face anything, and conquer it… a boulder problem, a hard route, a huge hike, the biggest mountain… even cancer… with Alex by my side.
Kira is my stop and smell the flowers girl. She’s always taking a moment take a breath, be in the present and enjoyed the here and now. Where I, on the other hand, am always on the go. She slows me down, and allows me to take in the beauty. Kira is also one of the happiest people I’ve ever met, and genuinely cares about the people she meets. She works in a hospital with children, and gives back to so many people. She really inspires me think about others.
Caitlin + Ryan
My partner is driven and focused yet never loses sight of what’s most important to him. He’s never negative about himself and always encourages me to let things go that do not serve me (including my bouts of personal judgement!). He’s my best friend.
I love that she is her own person. She is driven and wants to do something with her life that helps others. She has made me healthier than I could have dreamed with her nutrition knowledge (I am patient zero). I love that she wants to be outside and live a life to the fullest with me. She is the most beautiful woman I could ever have as a partner.
Dan + Suri
I feel like one of our strengths as a couple is our ability to laugh at ourselves, and at each other, and our ability to push each other through hard times.
It makes it easier for us to succeed together in areas that possibly we would have failed apart. Sometimes all it takes is someone else to believe in you just a little more than you do yourself.