Backpacks - check. Sleeping pads, bags, tents - check. Check. Check. We're all packed up and ready to go. Two pre-teens, one teenager, two "adults" and thirty-one days on the road traveling the US. Our plan is to explore, at very least, 10 National Parks. Keeping in mind wildfires and weather this time of year, our itinerary is flexible. We've mapped out adventures in 24 different Parks for the "just in case" scenario. (Which, I'll tell you, has made us fall in love with each and every one of them!) For the most part, as long as we're heading in the direction to soak up some adventure in the great outdoors, we're pretty happy.
We'd planned on doing this trip a couple years ago, but our line of work can be a little unpredictable. We own an outdoors store and rental livery business in the heart of the Allegheny National Forest in northwest Pennsylvania. Our passion lies in helping thousands of folks plan and conquer paddling and backpacking trips in the Pennsylvania Wilds every summer. Record rainfall and flooding the last couple years made it hard for us to break away, causing our trip to be delayed. Then in July it finally happened... the rain stopped and the sun came out! After putting in a bunch of long hard days, here we are, packed up and ready to hit the road on an adventure of our own.
Being a family owned and operated business, my kids have grown up exploring the Allegheny River and National Forest, and know what it is to work hard. At our rental facility, they've gone from helping out in the "paddle and life jacket department" when they were just little, to being able to load canoes and kayaks onto trailers and up boat launches at the end of the day as pre-teens and teenagers. It's a grueling business. Tough, hot, exhausting - but rewarding. And because of it's seasonality, they've often sacrificed their summers to help others get outside. As excited as I am to embark on this grand adventure myself, I'm over-the-moon excited for them. Experiences, wilderness, culture, the unexpected little things along the way that every adventure brings... I am beyond grateful that we're able to experience such a trip.
We plan to bottle up all these experiences along the way, sharing them as time and connection allows. We hope you'll come along with us. Bookmark the blog, like our Facebook page, follow us on Instagram - however it is you stay connected. We spend our summers sharing our favorite spots in nature, and after this next month on the road, we know we'll have a few more.
Oh, almost forgot! Ukulele - check! Phew.