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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

Outdoorism Lives

January 8, 2010 in Realization, Weekend Warrior

Greetings! True to my word, I’ve remained quiet but dedicated to outdoorism through 2009. I’ve continued to work toward independence in the Weekend Warrior mode by developing a clientele as a location-independent freelance software developer. I couldn’t have done it without solid support from my wife in her more reliable day job. After a year living in a home office, we’re now back in our camper and making plans to cut loose! The future is foggy but enticing.

I know a few underground outdoorists still make it to this site now and then. I believe we should keep track of each other and our lessons learned. I’ve made it easier to register for this site, and I’m totally open to letting others write and edit the site. As a WordPress developer, I know that the software running here will give us even more ways to collaborate in the coming year.

Happy new year all, from my 4-wheel-drive software laboratory!

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

Rock and Ice Lifemaps

February 8, 2009 in Lifemaps

The latest issue of Rock and Ice magazine has a feature article on jobs in climbing jobs that follows the Lifemaps format closely, and is based on a survey of 300 career climbers. You can read a good portion of the article online. There are some surprising contrasts in incomes and job satisfaction, but most of the participants said they were able to spend a good amount of time outdoors.

by dylan

Cartographer Bryan Conant

November 24, 2008 in Investigation, Weekend Warrior

Maps are a part of almost any outdoor lover’s life. For some of us, they grow from simple planning tools into an almost mystical art form. We start to feel the potential for endless new outdoor experiences when we look at the printed image of a map. As we use them, our maps can invoke an ever-deepening pool of rich memories. They become beautiful, and a few of us start to dream of creating them.

When I ran across Bryan Conant’s website, I knew I’d found a map-loving Outdoorist’s dream come true. Bryan has produced the definitive trail maps for the wilderness areas outside Santa Barbara, California. I arranged a phone interview with Bryan to find out how he accomplished this, and what it might mean to the rest of us.

Bryan Conant Interview mp3

Thanks to for the groovy intro music.

by dylan

Cyberhobo as Weekday Warrior

October 25, 2008 in Weekday Warrior

My outdoor values were being heavily suppressed when I lost my fashionable dot com software engineering job in 2001. I bravely set out on my own as a freelance developer. This allowed me more and more outdoor time as my contracts shriveled up along with the tech sector economy. I didn’t think of it as such, but this was my first attempt at being a Weekday Warrior. I took long mountain bike rides into the Denver front range in between short bouts of intensive coding. When I could no longer afford rent, I created a web site at, likening myself to a depression-era traveling worker whose profession happened to be software engineering.

It was not yet my time. I managed some traveling, but was mostly supported by my family along the way. Eventually I found myself lurking at my dad’s house, in limbo, unable to find work. When a job as a government contractor came my way, I returned to life as a Weekend Warrior, and not for the last time. My outdoor values continued to grow, though, and I never stopped updating my cyberhobo web site.

I’m now four months into another attempt at establishing myself as a Weekday Warrior. I’m freelancing again, and have a growing base of good clients. I choose my hours, and spend a respectable of amount of high-quality time outdoors. But I’m not yet making a living. My wife is currently a Weekend Warrior. As fortune would have it, she’s found the best full time job of her life here in Santa Fe, New Mexico. We find ourselves in a mixed marriage of sorts, uncertain which way to proceed. We are certain of the importance of the outdoors in our life, and our intention to keep pursuing it.

So even though I’m not yet a self-reliant Weekday Warrior, I have taken note of a couple of tactics that helped me get this far.

  • Establish a network through free labor. Independent, part-time workers all need some kind of network of clients or customers. I attempted a few entrepreneurial projects, and the one that ended up bringing me clients is an open-source product that I developed myself and make freely available to anyone. This is an old pattern of “paying your dues”, but I really had to see it work to believe it.
  • Be persistent. Some of my projects failed. Many ideas came and went. I had to keep my day job longer than I hoped. I got tired, and often felt I was making no progress. I still feel that way sometimes. But whenever I feel the least bit inspired, I plug away at whatever project seems to hold the most promise at the time.
  • Seek renewal outdoors. I can’t quite force it to happen, but sometimes I return from the outdoors completely refreshed and ready for anything. The more I go out, the more reliable a source of energy and vitality it is.

These are some of my lessons learned so far. My greatest liability is probably my tendency toward social isolation. The more people I can meet that share my values, the more opportunities I’ll have. I hope to meet Weekday Warriors more successful than I, and get them to share their secrets with us here…

by dylan

Land Manager Mike Dechter

August 13, 2008 in Land Manager

If I had to choose someone to take care of the lands I love to explore, I’d choose someone like Mike Dechter. He does a number of jobs for the Santa Fe National Forest, but found time to respond to an inquiry I made and give me an interview. Mike expresses how the outdoors inspires him in his work, how others can get started along a similar path, and how we as users of national forests can get more out them.

by dylan

Tom Hickey

August 3, 2008 in Retiree

It’s easy to underestimate Tom Hickey if you don’t get into a conversation with him. A retired tax accountant who lives in Santa Fe, I met him atop Desolation Peak above the Santa Fe Ski Basin on an afternoon hike. His stiff-kneed walk gave me the impression of an overambitious senior citizen. He was also on his way to Lake Peak, so I followed him towards the ridge, and was surprised when he clambered right along the spine of the rock catwalk rather than the easier, lower route. We chatted enough for me to realize he was intending to do a longer, better hike than I was. To my very good fortune he invited me to come along, and let me interview him. As you’ll hear, there’s far more to Tom Hickey than meets the eye.

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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