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How It All Started

Carrie and Sean met online early in 2008 and quickly struck up a friendship. Eventually, they decided to meet in person and hit things off. One of the first things they did together was to take a trip to Roman Nose State Park, near Watonga, Oklahoma–where both had a great time enjoying the outdoors.

This blog is a continuation of their adventures and explorations of the outdoors…

Why We Decided To Create This Site

Sharing, learning, connecting and creating a resource.

We enjoy the outdoors so much, that we thought we would like to share our enjoyment with our families and friends. The thought that we might connect with other outdoors enthusiasts and learn interesting things was immediately followed by the thought that we might even help those on a similar quest for tips and advice. Knowing how much time and effort it can take to research and plan a trip or purchase involving outdoors sports and travel, we felt that we should share what we learn and encourage others to do the same.

We knew that if we were to create a blog or website, we would want to share not just the ideas, lessons and discovered places with others, but the resources for them to do the same. We intend, over time, to build a list of resources for outdoors enthusiasts: lists of retailers and eTailers, manufacturers, government agencies, map sources, technology companies, state/national park and forest resources, educational resources, other blogs and websites, and whatever else we think might be useful.

There’s also another great reason we decided to create this blog/site, and that is to chronicle one particular adventure. On St. Patrick’s Day of this year, Carrie received the wonderful news via mail that she had been selected as a 2010 Fund For Teachers Fellow. It was the culmination of more than a year of thinking, planning and dreaming.

A gift, Fund For Teachers and Yellowstone National Park

Carrie submitted a proposal that involved an exploration of Yellowstone National Park, for the purpose of being able to become a better teacher, and to help her students and coworkers. In 2009 her school received bond money to purchase several Labquest handheld computers made by Vernier, along with various probes and manuals. Carrie, a science teacher, was thrilled. However, the technology seemed a bit daunting.

Carrie decided she wanted to learn how to use them well, and to get her students using them. She feels it is important for kids to be comfortable with technology and–just as importantly–excited about using it. She wanted to fill her students with enthusiasm, and share with them her own enthusiasm for science. That’s where the Fund For Teachers organization entered the picture.

A decision was made, and Carrie began working on an idea for a proposal to submit to the Fund For Teachers, which awards Fellowships each year to allow educators experiential growth opportunities. Her idea was to experience first-hand the many wonders of Yellowstone National Park. Earth science and geologic processes are things she finds fascinating, and the park might offer the perfect chance to showcase the Labquest computers to students and coworkers.

Fund For Teachers thought her Fellowship proposal had merit, so here we are. This blog will chronicle the culmination of Carrie’s planning and dream. She thought about it for quite some time–I know. I encouraged her to apply in 2009, but she wasn’t sure that she had the right idea put together at the time.

A resource for outdoorsy couples

We want to especially give the blog a focus for approaching outdoors activities as a couple. It has its own special challenges. Just ask any couple who have ever been camping or tandem kayaking.

I’ll be joining Carrie as her assistant and to help pack in the extra gear needed for her Fellowship. Carrie is something of a city girl, without a great deal of experience in the outdoors, but I’m helping her change that–something I am thrilled to be part of. Since we met, she’s started hiking, learning about camping and kayaking, and is anxious to try fishing and so many other things which I have always done. And I am learning things from her all the time.

Carrie and I have many things in common. In particular, I must mention a love for sharing knowledge, educating others and constantly learning. She’s on a whole other level, of course. It’s her profession–teaching. She’s great at it, too. I know because I have seen her in action in the classroom. My first profession was that of soldier, and I spent close to eight years as an infantryman. I grew up hunting, fishing, shooting guns (Carrie is something of a handgunner herself!), exploring the woods, waterways and mountains. I’m no stranger to coaching, training, and instructing–nor to mountains, deserts, jungles, swamps, rivers and the sea. But there is more to sharing knowledge and skills than just the processes, the ‘how-to’ of something.

No, the hard part, perhaps the most important part, is sharing, teaching, exchanging and learning in a way that allows two people to remain true to who they are. Emerson elaborated on it quite succinctly:

“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

And so, my instinctual gravitation towards Earth tones and blending in with the environs must occasionally yield to things like…cornflower blue…and videos on kayaking for women.

But I don’t mind, really–she spared me from having to stare at pink all day, after all. And this blog is our story, then, in honor of such things.

Monday, May 10, 2010
Sean Wilson