A Modern Day Daniel Boone
My Wife thinks I must be Daniel Boone!
I created Mountaineer Outdoors because I am a Mountaineer, as in my whole family graduated from App State in Boone, N.C. If you want to talk about a mecca for outdoor play, Boone has it all!
The outdoors is truly where I am most comfortable. My company’s name represents 100% of my life but it took 50 years of outdoor experience for me to realize my dream and start an outdoor based company.
Summer camp was the beginning of my journey as an outdoor enthusiast. I stayed in screened-in cabins where I could hear rain on the tin roof every day. I basically grew up in the forest, and all I had to do was roam around on the mountains, creeks and rivers in Pisgah National Forest. My wife thinks I am Daniel Boone, but I can’t own up to that. What I do know is that my outdoor journey began early and my experiences have shaped my life, my personality and my attitude. All of the outdoor activities that are popular now, I was doing in my early years. I was hiking, mountain biking, rock climbing and paddling before it was cool.
I hiked the Appalachian Trail for about 2 weeks each summer with my fellow campers and for that reason have done most of it locally. On other trips, the campers would be dropped off and hike for 2 to 4 days to a designated pick-up point with food, a map and a compass. We just figured out how to get there. I was gifted my first mountain bike in 1984 for my high school graduation--A chrome plated Ross Mt. Whitney and no one knew what the hell it was. Many of my friends got a car or a trip to the beach. I just got on that bike and rode everywhere I wanted.
Rock climbing for myself and the other campers involved tying a knot (a bowline) in a hemp rope and climbing from a top belay. There was no hardware. I learned to rappel using a carabiner and if someone fell it would leave a wicked torso bruise. It taught me that falling sucked and to avoid it. We paddled in a canoes or an open boat. Kayaks were scarce, and were made of fiberglass so if you wrapped one around a rock it would break in half.
I know that the other campers and I felt special to be doing all of that cool stuff and we did not take it for granted. There was no great next year’s model unless you invented it! We were just kids having a good time like kids do. To this day I can still start a fire in the rain, or find a spring head that I guarantee has better drinking water than your faucett. While on the river or in the forest, we may or may not see another person for days. I can remember doing something daily that scared the hell out of me, but it taught me to be brave and that sometimes I might get hurt. I learned to keep going after bee stings, copperhead and rattlesnake sightings, ants in my sleeping bag or thunder and lightning that left me running for cover.
I once jumped off an 80 foot cliff into a lake. My knees buckled on impact and slammed into my chest and busted some ribs. I kept from drowning and threw myself onto the bank and gave the other 3 guys the thumbs up. They jumped with much better success than me. When they saw my condition they asked why I gave them the thumbs up. I said if I had told you, you would not have jumped. They told me jokes through my entire recovery and thought it was funny. That’s what friends do!
I am still friends with many of my outdoor compadres from my childhood and guess what? We are all still doing the outdoor thing in some capacity, and the equipment has gotten much better. The companies I represent are on the cutting edge of outdoor equipment. Sylvansport of Brevard, NC manufactures Adventure trailers for boats and bikes that also pop up to sleep 4 people. Eco-Outfitters manufactures cool outdoor coolers and cups, along with a pedal-powered fishing kayak and a clear lexan canoe so you can see the fish through the bottom of the boat. I am happy to make the outdoors my business.
Now go play outside - Life is calling!