Images by David Stubbs

A picnic is a feast of geography, in which human power, self-reliance, and myriad snacks carry you across leagues of water, land, and sky.

The first was the Grand Picnic, completed in July 2012 after I squandered years wondering if I could. From Jackson I bicycled to Jenny Lake, swam across, climbed the Grand Teton, demolished half a pizza, and returned the same way.

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Inspired by the experience, a handful of friends joined me for a Grand picnic the following summer, provisioned with pizza, chicken broth, pickled cucumbers, boiled potatoes and jelly beans. Now the idea has spread to more people, more lakes and more mountains in the Tetons and beyond.

Is picnicking contrived? Isn’t every sport contrived, except chasing meat with spears? I would say picnicking rejects contrivance, seeking the fairest means of embracing landscapes in all their depth and scale.

Last summer I nearly finished my most outlandish meal yet, the Mt. Hood Picnic: a double swim of the Columbia River, 75 miles of bicycling, 11,000 feet of elevation gain, 4,000 feet of downhill skiing, and a miraculously zesty grocery store steak sandwich. There are innumerable magnificent picnics we could have. The possibilities tantalize, even as they terrorize.

While enjoying a picnic, I find the most effective performance enhancements to be strategy, preparation, timing, and resolve. This is why I’ve launched thepicnic.co, so exploratory picnickers can consult our cumulative experience, celebrate each other’s feasts, and become stronger, smarter, more satisfied picnickers.

Here’s to your own daunting daydreams,

David Gonzales

Images of the first Moranic by David Stubbs

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