If you're picking up this magazine for the first time, you may not know me so consider this an introduction. If you have read YC before, welcome back friend, and let's catch up a little. It's been nearly a year and a half since the last issue was published, and I would like to take a moment to talk about Bill Henson who's passing put a temporary halt to this York County institution.
I met Bill when I was only 13 or so, and he sits in my personal pantheon of “Old Men” who mentored, encouraged, and shaped me into who I am. Knowing I was passionate about photography, he gave me an avenue to have work published in YC Magazine as a “photo of the month” and even featured me as the “Artist of the Month” once...an honor that I never deserved, but still draw encouragement from the confidence he showed in me. Later I was allowed to take over the article from the previous writer, opening a whole new avenue of expression that I now find immeasurable joy in. Putting up with the normal ramblings I'm prone to, Bill always edited my words with a light enough touch that never changed my meaning, but removed the gibberish to be understood. So enough of a the gibberish. Thank you Bill; you affected me more than I think you knew.
“The Great Outdoors” has been my attempt for nearly 8 years to try and share with others the massive amounts of knowledge I've accumulated from being immersed in outdoor pursuits. I'm now in my late 20s, but my life events have been tied to the outdoors since I was a child. My family started camping while I was just a toddler, then started backpacking at age 11, bought my first kayak at 12, and then I worked at my families outdoor store Old Town Outfitters (rest in peace) until it closed in 2009. The 7 years it was open was packed with more adventure, knowledge, and hilarious stories than I can ever put on paper. Since it's close, I started living a mostly normal life filled with a girlfriend, then marriage, jobs, buying a house, and paying taxes. No matter where I've been in life, my escape and solace has always been found in the outdoors.
This column is dedicated to sharing places and trips that are within an easy drive if not actually inside York County. How-tos, buyers guides, laughter at my expense, trip reports, and hopefully some high adventure to keep things interesting. Whitewater kayaking or rock climbing may not be your preferred way to cheat death, maybe you like driving under the speed limit in Charlotte traffic to get your adrenaline rush, but the hope is you'll be inspired to go outside and build memories. Even if you just go out and do the same hike you've done a hundred times, it's still time infinitely better spent than scrolling through Facebook or watching cable news.
A constant thread you’ll always find here is that the outdoors is a place for relationships to be built and maintained without any distractions or fluff. Sitting around a campfire after a day of shared experiences has built the foundations of my firmest friendships, and that is what I always encourage others to find. No matter your athletic ability or your threshold of fear, there’s always a niche for you to go and find something that fills you with wonder and amazement at this world around us, and those feelings grow exponentially when you share it with another person. And if you haven’t found a person to do that with, I hold fast to my statement that you almost never meet a jerk while out in the woods; talk to the people in the next campsite over, chat with that hiker on that trail, and help that person load their kayak. You may just make a friend for life.
So tie your boot laces. Tighten up your life jacket. Stretch your muscles. Let’s go on an adventure.
See you outside.
Amish in the sense that, at one point, my family helped others raise barns.
Now I build websites to help others build their businesses.