I haven’t felt compelled to write in quite a long time. I’ve been struggling with the dreaded writer’s block. But even as I find difficulty in staying consistent (is anyone *really* consistent?!) I always try to stay true. Honest. Reliable. Adventurous.
I have discovered recently that April is a special month for me. Many things dear to me are born in April. My joining forces with Gear Forward for instance in 2017. Winning our Mount Whitney permits last year. My first Illinois Park Project event where I finally met and hugged many internet friends. The birthday of this blog and the journey I have been on with the outdoors. I feel so empowered every April and this one was no different.
I had an awakening experience last month. It’s funny because it isn’t something new. It’s something I’ve been doing for a few years now. I went backpacking. What was different about this trip you see, is I was brought back to life after a long, dreary winter. On our last leg of the trip, we hiked 4 miles out that morning in cold wind and rain and through what would most likely discourage most people. Nuh uh. Not me. I’m here for it. Anytime I find myself caught outdoors in the rain I take it and I let it rinse and cleanse me.
At one point I was just sloshing through a trail inches deep with water; more like a trail width creek, eyes squinting and head held to the sky with my arms out; smiling like a fool. BRING IT!
The group of beginners I was with FLOORED me. Each and every one of them – nobody complained, everyone rooted for each other, and we all had an incredible time.
Let me tell you about the wonderful company that made this past trip special.
As Gear Forward’s Development Coordinator, part of my job is not only getting to create relationships with like minded individuals, retailers and companies but having the privilege of getting outdoors with some of them to take our relationship to the next level. I am beyond fortunate to get to make these friendships and memories on behalf of our wonderful non-profit.One such company is True North Expeditions, Inc. Based in both Wisconsin and Illinois, owners Tiffany and Tony are the hearts behind this business. They offer gear rental as well as organize outdoor adventure excursions for everyone from beginners to experienced outdoorsmen and women looking for a challenge. Backpacking, paddling, yoga, snowshoeing, kayak camping…and so much more. If you’re looking to try something new, to get out of your norm and have an experience – this is the best place to start.
Whenever True North holds a beginner course nearby, I go. I’m far from a beginner in my backpacking skills; yet I continue to learn more and more from Tony, Tiffany and the lovely people that make up their events. I love to experience the excitement of new backpackers. I love to hear their questions and watch them overcome hurdles.
I can’t express my gratitude enough for all True North has done for myself and for Gear Forward. As friends, business partners and as a business; just overall wonderful people.
Please check them out – they have a calendar full of events in the Midwest this year! I will be attending the Missouri event this fall.