January 20, 2017

It is amazing how quickly life can be altered by experiencing the outdoors. For all those not yet 'touched' by the influence, we wish that upon you at some point in your journey through life.

by Justin Riney on canoekayak.com

Nothing is static. Everything shifts and changes and evolves with the timing of seasons. A new year, unmarred and rich with possibility, presents us all with renewed opportunity to make adjustments in our paths.

My name is Justin Riney, and I was born in the rolling hills and countryside of East Texas. My family owned a modest home and small plot of land on Lake Jacksonville, and so my childhood consisted of skipping rocks, wandering through woods, searching for frogs and snakes, rolling in wheelbarrows, and swinging from tire swings. We lived simply and didn’t need much at all. Hell, we didn’t want much. And those early years, I now realize, have quietly withstood the test of time, buried deep within my subconscious and heavily influencing the man I am today.

At the age of 33, having never experienced mountains or the full cycle of seasons, last year I shed my belongings and ventured north to Appalachia for the winter and spring. I continued west to the Rockies in summer, and finally on to the lower Cascades of the Pacific Northwest for fall. My world had suddenly grown much larger, and I knew my standards would never be the same. I’d traded the suffocating buzz of society for the quiet, peaceful rhythms of wilderness, and I felt closer to the land than ever before. Closer to that simpler life I’ve longed for since childhood.

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