Professional athletes often devote their whole summers to personal training: adhering to a strict regimen of exercise either on their own or with a trainer. Many members of the military do something similar before they serve on active duty. Really, any participant in a physically strenuous pursuit will prepare himself beforehand. Preparation for wilderness ventures might not be as intense as athletic or military training, but it never hurts to be a bit experienced and ready.
Wilderness ventures probably sound more extreme than they actually are. It’s a vague term that could describe anything from nature walks to something that resembles Man v. Wild. In a camp setting, these ventures usually fall somewhere safely in between. True naturalists believe that the world and nature can’t be sufficiently appreciated unless they expend a lot of effort expended to see it. They hike miles into a desert to witness a perfect sunrise, or tread through endless acres of swamp to photograph a rare flower. God has made a violent and beautiful planet, and experiencing it really does become much more real with a little effort. Hikes and bouldering provide a visceral encounter with His creation—something a nature book or National Geographic Special can’t recreate. Wilderness ventures, then, allow participants to more fully appreciate and enjoy Creation. They require a bit of sweat and some cardiovascular activity, but their reward is great. Preparing for them hardly means anything more than conditioning yourself to walk long distances, and sometimes at elevation. You don’t have to go to boot camp to be ready, but they’re better enjoyed if you’re in sufficient shape to hike and explore.