Dragonfly at Rocky Lake
Dragonfly at Rocky Lake.

November 2018

Welcome!  I am fairly new to outdoor adventuring. For the past five years, I trained pretty hard as a triathlete, swimming, biking, and/or running nearly every single day, sometimes for as many as five grueling hours. I love being outside, but the constant training was getting a little monotonous. I was tired of it. And my body was feeling a little beat up. I just wasn’t feeling the joy anymore. And then, one hot, July day, as I was running home from the track after a training session for Ironman 70.3 Canada, I spotted a little green kayak on the side of the road with a sign on it: For sale, $75.

I knew who’s it was. I’d seen that little kayak on the roof of my cross country skiing buddy’s car for the past couple of summers. I knew it would have been well cared for, and at $75, it was a steal. Despite being all drippy and sweaty and disgusting from pounding the track, I knocked on the door.

“I’ll take it,” I said.

“You should try it first to make sure it will work for you,” Ross replied.

“I don’t care,” I said. “For $75, I’ll make it work.”

He set it aside for me to pick up a few days later, and I ran off to a meeting. Because I’d never used a kayak before in my life, I watched as many YouTube kayaking videos as I could over the next few nights. With the weekend came my chance to try it out for the first time. A friend was throwing a party at Lake Coeur d’Alene, so I tied it in the bed of my truck, and off I went.

From that very first moment on the water, I was in love.

I felt empowered. I felt free. Dragonfly and I could go anywhere.

From then on, I spent as many weekends and evenings after work as I could out on lakes. I talked to friends and Googled like crazy to find the best—or most interesting—nearby lakes and launch sites. I bought a Discover Pass so I would have unlimited access to state parks. I bought a little action camera, a GoPro knock off, so that I could record my adventures. I watched YouTube videos and bought books on Amazon and eBay, reading about kayaking and other people’s adventures. At night, I dreamed about kayaking the Inside Passage. And hiking the Pacific Crest Trail.

One evening, after a particularly frustrating day at work, I found myself in the middle of Lake Roosevelt, just floating: listening to the waves, watching the birds, looking at the shoreline, and thinking “there’s got to be another way.”

In that moment, I decided I wanted to re-career.

I want to be an outdoor adventure guide.

No more working in an office. No more asking people if they tried restarting their computers to fix whatever problems they were experiencing. No more… Just no more. After 25 years, I’m done.

So, I Googled it. “How to be an outdoor adventure guide.” There are a few schools one can attend to learn how to be an outdoor adventure guide. But, more than anything, this is an OTJT kind of occupation.

In other words, I need to do it and experience it to become it.

I researched backpacks and ordered a backpack from Amazon. I researched sleeping bags, sleeping pads, and backpacking cookstoves. Another order from Amazon. Maps from my local sporting goods store. Brochures from local campgrounds and parks. Joined groups on Facebook.

I started camping every Friday night, rain or shine. I tested my gear. I learned how to use it. I learned how to build a fire. Baby steps. I’m on my way.

This website is part of that journey. I am going to document my adventures, post my videos, and teach myself to become an outdoor adventure guide. I’m learning how to camp, how to backpack, build a fire, cook over backpacking stoves, read maps, use a compass, pack a kayak, pack a backpack, choose equipment, handle waves and inclement weather, plan trips, and more. Anything and everything to do with life in the outdoors. I’m approaching this with a triathlete’s eye toward training: every trip has a goal, a purpose. Every trip is an opportunity to learn something new, or practice something again, refining my skills.

I will take some classes after I get more experience. I’ll save my money and save my leave until I can take a few classes every year. I’ll work on certifications, and I’ll do what I can to be the most qualified guide I can be so that I can lead people on joyful, safe, exhilarating, life-changing adventures, challenging to push their boundaries. In the meantime, I have a job that pays the bills. I’ll keep working on that until I can take a leap of faith and start my new career.

I hope I can inspire others along the way. I hope I can share some of the knowledge I learn. And I hope I can learn from my readers, as well.

Happy kayaking!