You are browsing the archive for Inspiration.

by dylan

Outdoorism works in small doses

May 7, 2013 in Inspiration

Could just a glimpse of the outdoors provide a little of that recharge effect we crave? Oliver Burkeman writes that it does indeed, and this raises some interesting questions.

by dylan


February 2, 2010 in Inspiration, Weekend Warrior

Our dedicated Weekend Warrior Kate Calder announced her new photo blog, Kate’s photos have always been a source of outdoor inspiration for me, and now we can get a regular dose of them, presented in her own way. Thanks Kate!

by dylan

Treading Quietly in Hard Times

April 16, 2009 in Inspiration, Lifemaps, Retiree, Weekday Warrior

Outdoor values can suffer when economic, physical, or emotional hardship sets in. This is evidence that the outdoors has evolved from our source of life and survival to a conquest, from a conquest to an abstract idea, and from an abstract idea to a leisurely adventure. Hardships tend to press us back down the chain, most likely from our leisurely adventures back to a focus on our livelihood in mainstream society, where outdoor life is once again an abstract idea.

I’m no exception. I reveled in life as a Weekday Warrior while it lasted, but I’m back to chasing income during the week. Success in my work is paying less, and I’ve struggled with physical ailments. I’m still freelance while I can manage it, but writing about outdoorism has receded into the background for now. I think it’s okay to let the site be quiet for a while. Some of my favorite outdoor experiences have involved extended quiet times.

I break the silence for two reasons. One is to refresh my own commitment to outdoorism by writing a few of my recurring thoughts here. The other is to remind anyone else out there who may need to hear it that at least one more outdoorist continues to press on. Outdoorism remains a primary focus and value for me, even with fewer opportunities to express it. Should the hardships continue, I take some comfort in the fact that our most basic survival is rooted in an outdoor life, even if a few of the labyrinthine structures we’ve built on it collapse.

by dylan

Home Media Inspiration

January 15, 2009 in Inspiration

Sometimes I think I should leave all my gadgets at home when I go outside. Do I really get a full outdoor experience when I’m fiddling with a camera, a GPS receiver, or an MP3 player? Often, these things distract me from what I love most about being outdoors. Then I’ll be at home surfing and see something like Cookie and Paul Do America. All the best aspects of my outdoor experiences come flooding back, and I’m incredibly thankful they carried gadgets on their hike. Then I get some ideas for new things to do with my camera, and I have a lot of fun trying them out. Here’s my latest homemade outdoor media. Where’s yours?

by dylan

Outdoor Calendars

December 1, 2008 in Inspiration

One way I inspire myself to keep heading outdoors this time of year is to put together a calendar made of my favorite outdoor photos from the past year. It gets a little easier to do every year, and now it’s pretty easy to share and even sell your creation. Here is the official Outdoorism 2009 calendar:

I know at least one of our fellow outdoorists, Kate Calder, has done the same. Anyone else? Do you have other favorite outdoor calendars?

by dylan

Color Time

September 29, 2008 in Inspiration

I can feel the colors out there changing. Each day is different. It’s impossible to catch more than we miss, but it’s fun to try!

by dylan

Wildflower Revelations

August 11, 2008 in Inspiration

It’s easy to visit the outdoors, see all the grand sights that await you there, and not realize that the places we visit are changing. Mountains especially seem stoic, immovable, and almost changeless. We take our pictures and make our memories in an instant, and take home an impression of a place during only that instant. I love going outdoors this time of year, to mountains and deserts especially, because the wildflowers growing there are so effective at shattering this illusion. They express their impermanence in their fragility, throwing all their energy into a paper-thin bloom that couldn’t possibly survive a cold night. Try to count the different kinds, and there always seems to be another variety not yet seen. Pass a dull shrub in the morning, and on the return trip in the afternoon it has exploded with blossoms, while its neighbors have closed up. All of this activity happens on a time scale we can witness, which makes it a sort of language the outdoors can use to speak to us. I believe the flowers express in their diverse dance the stories of other changes happening in the places we visit that are less perceptible to us. Changes that take place over days, weeks, years, and millenia are all underway during our visit, and all reflect the patterns shown to us by the flowers in some way. There’s always something new to learn from them, so I’m always inspired to get outdoors this time of year to see the wildflowers, and listen to them as well!

by dylan

Volunteer Backcountry Bridge Builders

July 23, 2008 in Inspiration, Trail Builder

I was climbing at the popular Las Conchas trailhead in Santa Fe National Forest when my curiosity was piqued by two 45-foot beams on a truck near the highway. When I saw what they were for, I had to document the way these huge beams were being moved into the backcountry:

The bridge builders were from Reineke Construction, spending their weekend doing more of what they love, building better trails. Mark Reineke was kind enough to answer some of my questions about their work.

What do you think the benefits of your volunteer work will be?

As avid mountain bikers and owners of a small business, we have very tangible connections to the benefits of our work –- great trails to use. On the less tangible side, we want to enhance each person’s outdoor recreation experience through increased access via sustainable, well-designed and constructed, safe trail systems and trail access points. Volunteer work gives us a chance to give back to land owners (in this case, the U.S. Forest Service, who manages these public lands on behalf of all taxpayers) and helps protect and maintain the trails we enjoy using. We believe that volunteering encourages a spirit of “good will” and shows a commitment by mountain bikers to give back, thus, hopefully demonstrating that we are good stewards of these precious resources.

What other motivations do you have to volunteer your time & effort?

First and foremost, it is a lot of fun to see the physical improvements take place and to hear from other trail users how much they enjoy the fruits of our labor. In addition, our company’s vision is to create and continuously improve a self-sustaining, small business, focused on high quality services provided through cooperative, partnering relationships with its clients. Working both as small business owners and as volunteers, we show that we are serious about these cooperative, partnering principles.

What do you recommend to others who are inspired by you to volunteer?

Try it, you’ll like it!” In fact, you might get hooked. Call your local forest service office, open space office, or city/county land owner’s office and ask to speak to their volunteer coordinator about upcoming projects. Also, we encourage folks to contact IMBA ( to get involved with a local mountain biking group – many have trail maintenance groups.

Who else can we thank for the vastly improved bridges?

We want to provide credits to several key folks for the bridge building projects we have done in the Jemez District of the U.S. Forest Service. First, Phyllis Martinez of the USFS is the visionary and the person who made all this possible. Without her, these projects never would have happened. Secondly, Joe Hancock and his team of horses, Jake and Chester, made it possible to move the 45-foot long beams and tons of concrete to the construction sites without adversely impacting the natural resources along the East Fork of the Jemez River (a wild and scenic river). Lastly, Reineke Construction, a member of the Professional Trail Builders Association, offers its thanks to the many volunteers who helped build 7 (soon to be &8;) bridges to make this trail accessible to more of the using public.

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