So, its been quite a while since I have put the fingers to the keyboard for anything other then work or some for a purpose of then blogging. Hiking Forward has taken a back seat and life has taken over and Gear Forward has taken more and more of my time. Many of you who have followed me for sometime know that almost three years ago I began a organization now formal non-profit to help kids who have outdoor gear deficiencies get outdoor through the donation of outdoor gear. I am proud to say that Gear Forward is many a huge impact in the world of the kids and the organizations we donate too.
I am here to blow the dust off this blog and refocus my own personal attention to it. I love the things I have captured over the years via this outlet and appreciate what the outdoor community has given back to me through it and most importantly I cherish all of the friendships made from the opportunities afforded to me via this vehicle.
Okay, so what has been up with me? Well besides the huge effort and working being put into Gear Forward, I have found a way to go camping a bit. Less, then what I want... but no matter how much you, it's never enough.
The best and most recent adventure that I partook in was #LHX2018. I along with a few other friends hiked a portion of the Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail in Western Pennsylvania in late April. The trip was designed for outdoor influencers to get to know one another and to just enjoy the experience of connecting with one another and connecting with the outdoors. Connecting with the outdoors can sometimes be a chore for those who are influencers in the outdoor space as everything, every experience or piece of gear has to be captured to market yourself or the gear.
While I have felt this way... it has past. Towards the point where Gear Forward was becoming a real idea and Hiking Forward was ramping down, I did feel this way and was now enjoying the idea of the effort to go out. I would look at my gear in terms of what I needed to photography, try or video this weekend instead of what I needed.
This trip, I took what I needed and took the time to really stretch my legs. I may have stretched my legs a bit too much as I was donned the trail name "Cruise Control" and ended the day in a lot of pain after a 15...err uh 16 ummm 19 mile day depending on who you ask.
Connection, bonding, physical limit pushing, relaxation and chill time were all undertaken for me during this recent adventure. Since April the storyline has been about work travel and less about leisure. Although the family and I have made it to Arkansas to paddle the Buffalo River and camp on the White River. Unfortunately, this trip had to be cut short due to a work trip but we have already scheduled another trip back for next year and to stay longer.
We have taken another small camping trip recently here in Illinois that was fun for the family. We haven't been to this park since the girls were much smaller and we owned a large travel trailer. This was Boston's first time "camping". He has gone backpacking with Grace and I but never camping. He had a blast swimming and the lake fetching his stick. I spent a quiet afternoon with him afterwards that was just amazing.
Oh, and I made these "A"mazing bagel breakfast sandwiches. Oh My Gawd (mouthful omg) they were awesome!
I have to attribute this re-joining of the blogisphere to both Diana Richards and Jen Glasgow Potts. Both gals, I consider friends, amazing independent kick ass taking names adventurers and they are the two people I rely on the most for making Gear Forward a success.
While I have been busy managing, directing and growing Gear Forward I feel as though I have let my outdoor or adventurer street cred go. I don't feel bad about this as I know what I am focused on is helping to grow outdoor cred for kids in need and I would turn all of my adventures in to let these kids see and experience what I have.
But Jen and Diana have truly been and continue to live my Hiking Forward mantra of "Get Busy Living or Get Busy Dying". Not a day goes by that I do not see a waterfall pic or a summit pic of Diana and her trusty 4-legged companion Roxy on my phone on her Instagram account. Diana does all this while being a full time teacher... A teacher folks! and she is a dynamo when it comes to the things she does for Gear Forward.
And Jen, well damn! I have some catching up to do in my own mantra living here. Jen just came back from a 2 plus week trip out on the west coast (with her husband "Turkey") with tons of amazing stops in between. Even though the summit that was the point of the trip never happened due to fires, she have pivoted and made the most stellar change of all. Jen is changing her world, minimizing her work schedule, taking stock of her life and what is important and doing it. Less work... more outdoors and more things that are important to her.
Writing, blogging, and sharing my experiences centered me. Being focused on the positive and the future is a good thing. Just sitting down sharing the stories of these two amazing ladies today makes me feel good and give me something to strive for. And if I have do a tenth of what these ladies do... I will have a ton to write about and share with you.
I am focused a ton on outdoor gear for Gear Forward... Hiking Forward will return to its roots and focus on the meaning of connecting with outdoors our fellow brothers and sisters we enjoy sharing it with and what is next as we continue to "Keep Hiking Forward".
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