My Story – An Oklahoman
My story – I’ve spent my whole life as a flat lander. Growing up in the Midwest (or South, whatever you consider Oklahoma) you don’t have many opportunities to see mountains or beaches. The biggest thing to do outdoors is to spend time on the lake. In a way you are accepting of your surroundings because you don’t know anything different and living in Oklahoma you almost begin to believe that the world is flat. I did the normal teenager/young adult route after finishing high school in Miami, Oklahoma. I decided to leave home and see the world and enroll at Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, Oklahoma. After two years of racking up college debt and wanting to go on an adventure I decided to join the U.S. Air Force. This time I was going to travel and see the world! Finally I would have my adventure. After spending time in basic training and finishing my technical training in Biloxi, Mississippi I finally got my assignment. Finally I would start a new adventure. The Air Force sent me to the strange and foreign land of Enid, Oklahoma. This is where after finally being set on adventure and travel my adult life began only an hour from where I attended college. Some part of me thought I was just destined to be a good ole’ Oklahoma boy till the day I died. I accepted my fate of spending the next 6 years in my home state. My lust for adventure started to wane over the years and I was just happy coming home to spend time watching the newest episodes of Modern Family. My life changed when I met a woman, as most men’s lives usually do, with a thirst for adventure.
Alisha really only knows one speed and that is how quickly can we do something exciting. She had jumped out of planes, been to foreign countries, seen mountains, and ran Tough Mudders. Her life seemed to revolve around which bag was packed for her next adventure. I never thought a homebody Okie boy like me would ever be able to keep up. Things between Alisha and I began to develop quickly and before I knew it I had submitted 22 days of leave to my supervisor. Alisha talked me into running the Snowmass Village Tough Mudder in Colorado and we would spend 18 of those days before the event exploring Colorado. This was huge for me as I’d never submitted more than 2 or 3 days of leave just to have an extended weekend or spend time with my family in Oklahoma.
We started off driving through the pan handle of Oklahoma. I looked at the flatness and accepted this view as my state. Cows lined the road to my left and right as we sped on towards Colorado. We passed through the Glass Mountains and I looked in awe as Alisha made several jokes of, “Ooooh look it’s your first mountain range!”. I could only help but chuckle as I really had no idea what I was in for. We continued with our travels as we reached the now leaving Oklahoma sign. The homebody in me was devastated. “What are you doing?”, I thought. This was the first time I had willingly left my home state in years. We got closer and closer to Colorado making our way up through New Mexico. The beauty just hits you. As soon as you cross into Colorado you are floored. Alisha could see the amazement on my face and asked if I wanted to pull over. After seeing scenic pull out stops in Oklahoma I finally realized what these stops were meant for. I couldn’t believe my eyes.
In that one moment of seeing mountains for the first time in my story, I was in awe and at the same time felt so small. You don’t get to see things like this in Oklahoma. The next 22 days of adventure with Alisha changed my life. We spent time hiking at Pike’s Peak, rock climbing near Boulder, taking in the beauty of Breckenridge, and running the tough mudder at Snowmass (we even got engaged at Mount Evans).
I started this site with my father to try to give back that feeling, not just my story. I never would have found the beauty of a mountain range or the rush of rock climbing without Alisha. Joseph Gordon-Levitt said in Inception, “True inspiration is impossible to fake” and those 22 days left me with the inspiration to help others achieve the very inspiration I am feeling now. I have been involved with every fitness group around from running and bodybuilding to crossfit. What all these groups have is a strong community where you can be helped on any question from which running shoe is best to what’s the best exercise to build my chest? In my story, I want all the outdoors activities to have that same brotherhood that same community. If you want to know the best place for a beginner to start rock climbing in the state of Idaho I want you to be able to stop here. If you want to know a great off roading trail to take your Jeep on this weekend I want you to be able to find that answer here. If you want to hit the trails in Colorado and need a group to go with I want you to meet those new friends here. So whether you hike, climb, or drive I want you to find it all here at Trail Climb Nation where we can all see and be amazed. My Story…