I love Michigan — its seasons, its climate and its diverse landscapes. Before 2018, I was so bombarded with work-related obligations that my opportunities to sashay into The Great Outdoors were regrettably limited and often just last-minute solo outings. With my late-spring employment transition, my options have opened considerably. Not only did I finally earn Wilderness First Responder certification in 2018, but I joined both the Fortune Bay Expedition Team as a guild member and the North Country Trail Association.
- I used to do a ton of cycling (mostly on the paved Kent Trails system around Millennium Park, or along the rural dirt roads of eastern Ottawa County). Not so much, anymore, although I still have the bike in storage; it’s much harder to get good cycling time in, now that I live in an urban area and never invested in a bike rack for my sedan.
- I use an Apeks Black Ice BCD, an Apeks XTX-50 regulator and an Aqua Lung i550C computer with a compass, and Henderson wetsuits.
- Open-water certified through PADI, with Nitrox and Buoyancy specialties through SSI. Most of my diving occurs in Michigan’s freshwater lakes, although in February 2020 I spent in Bonaire, reef diving in the Caribbean.
- I grew up around horses — my family had four of the majestic beasts, which I helped to care for — and although I haven’t done a ton of riding in recent years, I have done some. Including a bit of equestrian-trail riding.
- In the summer of 2017 my friend Jason took me up for a flight in a Cessna Skyhawk. Loved it.
- In the summer of 2018, I took a formal discovery flight at West Michigan Regional. Loved it. Got to engage in a detailed pre-flight inspection and even take the controls for parts of take-off and straight-and-level flight.
- In the autumn of 2018, I ordered a self-study course from Sportys.
- In the summer of 2019, I began private-pilot lessons through Tulip City Air Service. After my fourth instructor change, I opted to press pause until I can figure out whether there’ll be some stability there soon, or whether I should look elsewhere for in-cockpit instruction. And those changes occurred over four canceled lessons and a whopping 2.7 logged hours of flight time.
- My favorite trip was probably the four-night off-season solo to Isle Royale National Park that I completed in 2013.
- I try to make at least a few section hikes section hikes of the North Country Trail in central Michigan, with or without overnight camping, each year. In 2020, I signed up for the NCT 100-mile challenge.
- I’ve enjoyed day hikes in places like Red Rock Canyon (Nevada), bayou country in southern Louisiana, the Gatineau Hills of southern Quebec, and an ascent up Mt. McLoughlin in south-central Oregon.
- Check out my gear list for a reflection on my approach to risk management, from a provisioning perspective, on the trail.
- I own a flatwater kayak and relevant safety equipment and try to get out at least a few times each year, mostly on inland rivers like the Grand and the Flat.
- I’ve completed some special water-medicine and river-rescue training courses through Fortune Bay.
Always advance to the next adventure!
As of late 2019, my goals include:
- Buy a touring kayak in 2020 and take some swiftwater rescue courses early next summer. Lots of cool hike-slash-kayak opportunities that my current boat really cannot accommodate.
- By the end of the 2020 Michigan dive season, earn Master Diver status with SSI.
- Complete my private-pilot license in 2020 or 2021.