Matt Niswonger
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Editor’s Note: Parallels of Perseverance

“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”

The ASJ brain trust: Matt Niswonger, Cathy Claesson and Pete Gauvin, with issues from the last 10 years. Photo by Nils Niswonger

It wasn’t expressly intended, but this issue of Adventure Sports Journal has a strong undercurrent of perseverance swirling to the surface like boils on a river, some seen, some felt, some so mild as to be practically imperceptible.

When that happens, it’s a nice surprise that makes us look good as a magazine, perhaps a little more polished than we really are.

In truth, we’re not that calculated. Even though this publication is 10 years old now, a budding teenager practically, we’re still more of a loosely organized potluck of seasonally ripe ingredients and organic inspiration than a celebrity-chef prepared price-fixe meal with multiple forks, a lot of dishware and generally more presentation than calories.

But whether its Marshall Ulrich’s piece on dealing with physical pain and mental fatigue in the midst of extreme endurance challenges, Laura Read’s personal challenge to finish a solo bike tour through Gold Country, Brennan Lagasse’s article recommending a Herculean spring skiing weekend with back-back descents from the summits of Shasta and Lassen, or our article assembling excerpts from the last 10 years of ASJ and including a timeline of notable events in the outdoor sporting world  — an occasion we jokingly refer to on the cover as “A Survivor’s Tale,” though there’s more than a kernel of truth to it under the surface — perseverance is an integral theme to them all.

Then again, perseverance is hardly an unusual theme in outdoors literature, in endurance sports, in man vs. the elements, in mind over discomfort, in risk for reward pursuits.

Perhaps the theme is just a little more sharply focused in this issue because we’ve hit this arbitrary scenic view point — 10 years, 60 issues —where we can look back and see that we’ve come a long way in incremental steps, incurring a few blisters and scratches, growing and adapting, and getting stronger and hopefully improving.

For each issue of ASJ is like climbing a mountain — a lot of preparation, a lot of pulling together of supplies and provisions (stories and advertisers) into a load you can carry, and then biting off vertical chunks in a series of focused efforts that slowly begin to add up. And always, no matter how methodically we’ve climbed, there’s a final summit push that really tests our endurance and perseverance.

We’ve managed to summit quite an impressive string of peaks now. While there are still many more to climb in front of us, it is good to savor the view and consider our achievement, and write a few notes in the summit logbook.

Ten years in print for a small magazine originally launched by a couple of adventure-inspired teachers and their friend with no background in publishing is quite remarkable considering the times, the technology, the trends, the businesses, movements and people that have come and gone in that time, personally and publicly.

Like any such venture, we’re better for the journey, and more prepared for the future.

But don’t expect us to change much now that we’ve hit this first significant milepost toward maturity. After all, all I wanted to do when I was 10 years old was play outside.

Pete Gauvin