“The place where you lose the trail is not necessarily the place where it ends.”
~ Tom Brown, Jr.
In March 2011, I moved to the Pacific NW from the East Coast. I didn’t know a single soul in Oregon, but what I did strongly suspect was that I was moving to an outdoors paradise. Just before the big move, I had already searched for and “discovered” the website of an outdoor recreation club and was determined to get involved. Within 2 months, I had gone on my first hike (Hamilton Mountain) and soon was filling my weekends with fantastic new places and making amazing new friends. From day hikes, it was a natural progression to start backpacking. At some point, someone suggested that I might be interested in the club’s annual Climb School (April 2012), which ended-up being one of the most amazing experiences of my life…one that has had lasting effects, that go far beyond the activity itself.
“Discoveries are often made by not following instructions, by going off the main road, by trying the untried.”
~ Frank Tyger
Official club-related activities (primarily mountaineering) now comprise the majority of my weekends, but some of the most memorable and unique experiences have been while exploring on my own. It is while engaging in these solo adventures that I have pushed myself right up to (and sometimes beyond) the limits of my comfort zone. Nothing can be fully anticipated and the most valuable lessons have been learned while facing the fears of cold, thirst, solitude, darkness, risk, fatigue, and many more. Every single solitary ramble in the wilderness has something of value, if only to enable oneself to categorize those fears as valid or self-induced.
Both within and outside of the club, I’ve had the fortune to fall-in with several people that cultivated, encouraged, advised, inspired, and enabled my growth. They know who they are…and this blog is dedicated to them.