I was invited to share my Appalachian Trail adventure at the Adventure Summit this past weekend. The Summit was held at Wright State University and was co-sponsored by WSU and Five Rivers MetroParks. This was the tenth annual event and the participation was rich. Every session/workshop that I attended was packed with standing room only (including my session!). The free event included exhibitors representing area clubs, like the Dayton Hikers, the Dayton Cycling Club, Miami Valley Geocachers, Ohio Paddlers, the Dayton Ski and Board Club, and Miami Valley Fly Fishers. There were practical demonstrations of kayak rescues (held in the university pool), opportunities to try your flippers with SCUBA lessons, and a front row seat to observe a bouldering competition. The Summit was alive with activity and I was happy to see the response from the crowds in attendance. My applause goes out to Amy Anslinger and her crew for presenting a well-organized and high energy event.
Cathy and I arrived almost two hours before my workshop to check out the event and to find the room where I would be presenting. After checking in as a presenter, a Summit representative guided me right to my room. Cathy and I were standing outside of Endeavor B when a young man called out my name. Turning around I saw a handsome young man with a well-trimmed beard and a friendly face. His name, Lance Smith, tag identified him a presenter as well but I could not put together our connection. Instead of trying to fake my way through a conversation until I could tactfully discern how I knew this guy, I just asked him straight up, “so, Lance, how do we know each other/”
Lance graciously smiled and told me that he was a 1993 graduate of Dayton Christian High School graduate and a good friend of my eldest son, Ben. Immediately the name and face came together and transformed the young man before me into the 18 year-old high school senior. After joking a bit on how much he had changed, I found out that Lance was doing a session on Hammock Camping but had come early to hear my presentation. I was honored and humbled that he would want to hear his old high school principal share anything. It was quite a special privilege to attend his workshop and hear a DCHS graduate speak with such poise and expertise while articulately sharing his passion for the outdoors. Cathy and I are seriously considering trying some hammock camping in the spring.
I got to see one of my heroes in the hiking community, Jeff Alt. Two years ago, just before I left for my thru-hike, I attended the Summit and heard Jeff speak. I had already read his book, A Walk for Sunshine, which planted the seed for the fund-raising aspect of my adventure. I was unable to stay for his workshop but I was able to talk to him beforehand and thank him for his input into my experience. I introduced myself to him and he responded not only with recognition but he remembered of my trail name (Rowdy) and the name of this blog, Hike It Forward. I was floored. He went up several notches in my “hero” list.
I think my workshop went well and all in all it was a great day.