While my bucket list was full of plans that were doable, stretch, or possibly life changing, I ended up doing very little of that list, much to my chagrin. Still, it’s good to have dreams. And not following my list certainly did not mean a year lacking adventure; conversely, I was busy most months doing some pretty epic stuff. A year in review:
- First Day Hike at the Indiana Dunes – awesome way to start the year off as a family.
- Winter camping at Starved Rock State Park – another family outing that stretched our limits and was enjoyed by all.
- ORShow – my first Outdoor Retailer Market, learned a lot and got through it unscathed, great rookie outing.
- Meeting up with the #hikerchat folks post ORShow – so neat to put faces to Twitter handles and spend some quality time outdoors with like-minded people.
- I was chosen to be one of the TNFLocals, ambassadors for The North Face, a brand I’m happy to represent, having long been a fan of their gear.
- Tazer and I spent a weekend kayaking and camping through our local Dupage Forest Preserve District. Stormy weather and high waters made it a lot more adventurous than expected.
- Hiking the Nachusa Grasslands – seeing the restoration work that the Nature Conservancy has done and visiting with the bison soon to be released into the grasslands was an amazing outing.
- Summer Market ORSHow – bigger, busier, and a whole lot more social, as I tried to get out of my shell and hang out more with people. Getting more comfortable hanging out with the brand reps, though still hesitant about putting hand out for free gear. Learning the game…
- #Hikerchat outing – more new people, a fun hike, and then hanging out with new friends at the Teton Sport HQ. I’d come out for these even without ORShow, great double-bonus.
- Hell Hike And Raft 2015: an epic week of hiking, whitewater rafting, and bonding with new-found friends – a trip I both dreaded and awaited nervously, but ended up being the highlight of the year.
- Joined a local gym and started climbing again, rekindling an old desire and spending quality time with my sons.
- Weekend trip to The Third Testament, a climbing competition at The Holy Boulders, southern Illinois’ premier bouldering location and located in the beautiful Shawnee National Forest. Another good weekend for father-son time.
- Chosen as a Tubbs Snowshoes Ambassador – Mother Nature rebels against choice, showing displeasure by withholding snow. Snowshoes remain unused and in pristine condition downstairs in the gear closet.
- Hiked the Lakeshore Trail in the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore; my first visit to this area of Wisconsin – beautiful but probably even more so from the water.
All in all a high quality year for getting outdoors; definitely no regrets on missing out on the bucket list items. Remaining on the list for 2016: whitewater rafting with the family (locally), canoe camping, and hopefully a family trip to Mt Rushmore. These will join 2 more ORShows, 2 more #hikerchat outings, a possible weekend trip to the Tetons, and more. I’m planning on staying busy.