It turns out bacon makes great brain food.

St. Louis-area adventure racer Chuck Vohsen credits the “candy of meats” with being largely responsible for the idea of National Adventure Days, which will celebrate its second anniversary on October 11 and 12 of this year. NADs, as it’s known among lovers of double-entendres, is a weekend for folks to get out and do something epic, something daring, something that defines “adventure” to them.

But let’s get back to the bacon.

In September 2013, Vohsen read a news story about International Bacon Day, the brainchild of three graduate students in Bedford, Mass., and honored it by buying a pound of “the best, thick-sliced pork goodness” he could find. He and his wife, Lori, cooked up the entire pound, smashed it between some toast, and “it was sooo good,” he said.

Fast forward a few days to when Vohsen was in the middle of an artery-cleansing run on Lewis and Clark Trail in Weldon Spring. “Somewhere between reminiscing about the previous weekend’s adventure race, that bacon sandwich, and watching the trail, an idea crept into my head,” he said.

If bacon can have it’s own holiday, adventuring should have it’s own holiday, too! I couldn’t stop chasing the thread of that foggy thought for the rest of the run.”

And so, Vohsen, who writes for the blog Rock Racing Xtreme Adventure (, declared the second weekend of October as National Adventure Days and started spreading the word. He enlisted the help of a few friends who are also adventurers and bloggers, including Patrick Albert at 100+ Project (, Kate Geisen at SuperKate (, and Kraig Becker at The Adventure Blog (

“I’m a big believer that ‘adventure’ means something different for everyone. And on National Adventure Days, we should all find something that expresses our own personal definition. Hit a trail for a long hike or run. Camp overnight. Go climb a mountain. Whatever inspires you. Get out there and do it,” wrote Becker.

But as the saying goes, talk is cheap. To back up their words, Vohsen and a half-dozen friends completed the mountain bike “triple crown” in St. Charles County, which consists of riding the Lost Valley, Matson Hill, and Klondike trails back-to-back-to-back, using the Katy Trail as a connector. All told, it’s about 50 miles of seat time.

For his part, Albert rode the Katy Trail from St. Charles to Jefferson City on his bike, a distance of nearly 110 miles, and then rowed 43 miles on a standup paddleboard (SUP) back to Hermann. The three-day adventure was “a big success,” he said. “I rode my bike farther than I ever have before, and I paddled my SUP farther than I ever have.”

This year, Vohsen and six of his friends are planning a multi-day paddle starting on the Cuivre River and meeting up with the Mississippi, where they plan to spend the night on a secluded island. The paddle will continue the next day en route to Portage des Sioux, the final destination, where the group will land at the boat ramp there.

Aside from his personal adventures, Vohsen is trying to spread the love of NADs through social networking and by seeking the support of local outdoor retailers like The Alpine Shop and REI, as well as national manufacturers of paddle sports equipment.

Vohsen said he hopes to engage local businesses and organizations to encourage people to “get out of their cubicles and have an adventure. We’re all too comfortable anymore. We need to get out of our comfort zone and live a little.

“National Adventure Days is a fun idea, maybe a little tongue in cheek, but I’d like to see it on a calendar someday,” Vohsen said. “And I definitely want more ‘hits’ than International Bacon Day!”

Author: Brad Kovach is the editor of Terrain magazine.