All Work, No Play... Kind Of

It has been a busy summer for me. With all sorts of new developments in my life the pace has gotten really fast. I am furthering my backcountry ski guiding work in preparation for winter, diversifying into summer outdoor industry guiding work, running rentals, and clearing my 17-acre property in rural Wisconsin. I have a lot of work on my hands, but it suits me. Fortunately for me, even though I work a lot, my work involves some elements of what most people consider play so I guess it's not exactly all work and no play entirely.

^As I talked about in my last post my latest home remodel projects in Utah are wrapped for now and tenants rolling in each. My young family and I drove back across the country, and set up in my wife and I's hometown in Wisconsin. Now, I am a lumberjack in training! Despite a life in tradesmen work I have little experience in clearing raw land. I have to clear a lot of trees and undergrowth on the rural 17-acre property I bought next to a highway in southeast Wisconsin. It's literally untouched in decades and maybe if ever in some spots. I have owned it for years, and was slowly chipping away at getting it ready for a little homestead we've come to call our, "Murphy Ranch". "Murphy" like our old golden retriever that my wife and I like to joke saved our marriage when we were young, as well as "Murphy", as in "small and tucked away obscurely" right behind a big highway, much like a murphy bed. After our son Amos' cancer battle my wife and I decided to spend more time in our hometown, and get ready sooner then later for an eventual home base there on this land.  

^There is an incredible amount of work to be done on this property to get it ready for a home, but the work suits me. I thrive on the variety and learning new skills. In this picture, you can see my old goldy, Murphy, assuming her usual spot as job site supervisor. Napping is part of that job description if you were wondering. She is good for job site moral too, even if it is just the sight of her as she naps.

^My young family is pictured above all on the site for the first time. For years the site was way too overgrown and littered with mosquitos, ticks, and critters for my wife and kids to come out and see much of it. However, I have gotten after it in a big way this summer. Now with fall beginning to settle into our corner of Wisconsin we have a clear build site, and everyone can come out to see it. 

^The clearing work really beats me up and makes me sore. It helps me to mix in office days, and also days when I have the kids by myself. I like to take my boys to the local lake near my parent's house to swim and chase pan fish up and down the shoreline. My hometown is littered with little lakes and it makes for a great way to cool of from the heat of summer as well as completely tire out a 3-year old boy and 5-month old baby full of energy plenty good.  

^Stand-up paddling is another sport that I have come to enjoy with all the lakes and rivers prevalent to the area. Baby Walt takes a little nap under a sun shade tent as his mom, brother, and grandpa enjoy a paddle around on another local lake.

^The mountain biking has been the biggest surprise of all for me though. I knew that trail systems were beginning to pop up all over my hometown while I was away, but I had no idea that I would like them all so much. I have been working my way through the local systems and I am super impressed. I don't charge crazy hard on my bike and I don't rally downhill jumps and the like, but I do love to pedal out some cross-country and rip some tread on flow trail. The area has flow trail in spades. The terrain is perfect for it too.  

^My wife, Christine, is also an avid mountain biker and the local trails have her singing praises to her friends as well. Many people around here are just barely being introduced to mountain biking on single track trail as it is still relatively new to the area. Mountain biking has been around here for years in obscure corners and underground trails, but the popularity has really picked up a lot of momentum here recently with more and more legal public trail systems popping up regionally. People are beginning to take to it as local trailheads are becoming among the busiest spots at local parks and resorts. As a result of beginning to stake out our claim in my wife and I's rural hometown, I went and got a mountain bike guide certification last fall, and plan to offer some tours on mountain bikes, hiking trails, kayaks and paddleboards in the local woods, hills, lakes, and rivers here. I launched a new website called, Heartland Outdoor Adventure, that promotes outdoor adventure recreation in the area, and I will offer tours in the area as well as trips to surrounding midwestern hotspots for outdoor recreation. The workload has been high, the learning curves steep, but I am so happy to be able to keep pursuing my life's work even after making moves towards a hometown where someone with a career built in the mountains would typically not reside, the rural midwest. I will still be going back to Ogden, Utah for my winter ski guiding work as well as remote mountain ranges around the world each winter, but I am so happy that I can also pursue fulfilling summer outdoor recreation work, and a certain degree of quality of family life in the hometown that raised my wife and I and is home to most everyone in each of our families. My ambitions are important to me, and so is my family and my hometown, which is why I am so grateful for the chance to build a life that includes at least certain degrees of it all. It is unconventional, it will be difficult at times, but for me... I am not sure if there is any other way.