They call themselves “The Goonies.” The secret caves. The old lighthouse. The lost map. The treacherous traps. The hidden treasure. And Sloth…Join the adventure.

That’s one of the original taglines for the cult-classic movie, The Goonies (1985). It’s probably the best coming-of-age treasure hunting movies, set in the 1980s, that I’ve ever watched—it’s imprint is evident in many of the things that I do, I say, and that I dream of, even to this day as a semi-responsible adult of society.

Don’t you realize? The next time you see sky, it’ll be over another town. The next time you take a test, it’ll be in some other school. Our parents, they want the best of stuff for us. But right now, they got to do what’s right for them. Because it’s their time. Their time! Up there! Down here, it’s our time. It’s our time down here. That’s all over the second we ride up Troy’s bucket. ~ Mikey Walsh, The Goonies

Following the birthday party last night, our two girls were invited for a sleep-over at their respective friends’ house. Each going their own way overnight, my task was to fetch them both this afternoon. Based on the high temperature of 9° F, in conjunction with our on-going home furnace drama, I’m less than excited about venturing into the winter wonderland. On the way out my front door, I grab my camera. An idea has popped into my chilly brain: I wonder if the lake is frozen solid?

Featured in Lakeside Loop and A Fisherman’s Tale and I Fish, Therefore I Am, “the lake” is an important place in my own microcosm. “The Lake,” that’s what I call it—as if there are no other lakes in the world—but that’s my name for it, all the same. It serves as the backdrop for one last narrative titled Goonies Never Say Die.

Based on a quick keyword search, I’ve penned a significant amount of content revolving around the subject of adventure: Don’t Forget to Return to Where the Wild Things Are, Choose Your Own Adventure, and ABCs of Raising Girls; each story illustrates the emphasis and importance that I place on exploring the world around you. Don’t fret: I have no intention of restating all of my adventure-based sentiments from earlier in the year.

As previously stated, it’s cold outside, and I am certain that Peters Lake will be one solid sheet of ice. Considering that I am picking both girls up, and I’m within a two-mile detour of the lake, my ice-based theory will be confirmed in a moment’s time. Surprisingly, many people are in the park today. I see dog walkers and ice skaters, so we park the van and venture outdoors. Wearing thin, porous sneakers, I announce that this is going to be a really short trip to the lake’s edge. Ten minutes, top.

Okay, campers, rise and shine, and don’t forget your booties ’cause it’s cooooold out there today. ~ D.J. #1, Groundhog Day

Both girls run down to the shoreline—the surface is solid, from one edge to the opposite. About halfway across, a man and woman are walking their dog. They too want to venture onto the ice, and thoughts of my girls falling through the ice immediately flood my mind. But…the dog walkers seem to be managing just fine…and…we won’t go out far, not that far.

All three of us locate the well-worn path down the boat launch ramp, and step on the lake. It’s a weird feeling, for sure, as I can see the thick ice below me and a distant layer of water approximately 12 inches below. Inching out, and out, and out. My girls are simultaneously curious and fearful, which is a great combination, and explore the cleared patches of ice. It appears that previous skaters have cleared boxed areas from the surface, as deep grooves are etched in the surface. In another spot, a circular ice volcano is located and identified, by my daughter.

“Do you know what that is?” I ask her, curious to her answer.

“Not really.”

“That’s an ice-fishing hole,” I respond, and further describe how the six-inch circle has frozen-over and refilled the once-hollow entrance to a frozen aquatic world.

“My teacher’s something or other, fell into a lake or something, while ice-fishing, and died.” She adds her life experiences to the conversation.

“Ok, girls! That’s enough, back to the shore.”

From the grassy area, I direct them to the dock area, in an alcove of the lake. I want to see the boys ice skating who are playing hockey. The surface ice is just as solid here, and you can see into the lake below. It’s actually quite fascinating to think that the fish I hunt in summer, are swimming below us now, albeit at a much slower pace today. The boys are indifferent to our presence and we watch them for a few minutes. The dog walkers have also decided to test another portion of the lake, and have moved over to this stretch of ice, as well. Again, halfway across, have they no fear?

As I grow older, I am more convinced that one of the major purposes of life—beyond those of a spiritual existence and awareness—is that of adventure. I believe that the human spirit was designed for curiosity, learning, and exploration. Not all expeditions must consist of fully-awesome and amazing outings such as a coast-to-coast road trip, hike into the Grand Canyon, or snorkeling among coral reefs. It is entirely possible to explore the immediate environment around you, with the same satisfaction as a grandiose, once-in-a-lifetime experience.

No excuses. Get out there. Do it. Where ever you live, adventure is waiting for you.

Life-changing excitement can be found in your own backyard. At the mall. Hidden in a park. Within a foggy forest. On the surface of a frozen lake…Join the adventure!