Rudy and Kevin Bacon go Backpacking

Rudy and Kevin Bacon go Backpacking

Ah, "Whitewater Summer." Ever heard of it? Sean Astin from “The Goonies,” “Rudy,” and the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy, and Kevin Bacon in a film that based on some half-assed internet research he has never publicly acknowledged his part in following its release. I recently found myself re-watching this 1987 flick, and let me tell you, it's not exactly what you'd call Oscar bait (Kristin hated it!).

The film is a bit like that old, worn canoe you might've paddled in as a kid – it's got its leaks, the paint's peeling, and it's probably seen better days. But hey, it still floats. The storyline is pretty straightforward: a group of city boys, led by Bacon's character Vic, head out into the wilderness for a summer of adventure. Astin's character, Alan, is the odd one out – a kid who'd rather read a book than rappel down a cliff.

Now, don't get me wrong, the film has its moments where you're just rolling your eyes – like, seriously, Vic? Leaving poor Alan hanging from his harness, suspended over a crevasse to "figure it out?" Kevin Bacon's character twists and turns between a motivational camp counselor and a sociopath throughout most of the film. But amidst the Bruce Hornsby soundtrack and 80s cheese, there's this undeniable spirit of adventure that kind of grabs you.

Sean Astin hangs from a climbing rope, while wearing backpacking gear.

As I sat there, watching these kids navigate the trials and tribulations of the great outdoors, it struck me – we all need a bit of that wild, untamed spirit in our lives. In a world where we're often tied to our desks, screens, and endless to-do lists, there's something invigorating about the idea of throwing caution to the wind and just... going for it.

"Whitewater Summer," in all its flawed glory, reminded me of the times I stepped out of my comfort zone. Earlier this summer when Paxton and I were backpacking the Centennial Trail and I was struggling through the last 20 miles with an injury, I felt alive in a way that's hard to capture when you're just plodding through the daily grind.

Sure, the movie isn't going to win any awards for groundbreaking cinematography or airtight plotlines. But as I watched Vic and the boys push their limits, I couldn't help but feel a little inspired. It's a reminder that sometimes, you've got to take the road less traveled, get a little mud on your boots, and maybe – just maybe – find yourself along the way.

So, here's to "Whitewater Summer" – a film that's not quite a masterpiece, but a heck of a call towards adventure. 

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