Two years into a one year exploration of the continent and Rachael and I have managed to stay cozy in our diminutive home. In 2015 we put over 22,000 miles on Lil’ Squatch. As Rachael puts it, this was the best education on our country you could ever get. From the Desert Southwest, to Florida, Appalachia, the Nation’s Capitol, the Great Plains, the Rockies and a bumpy ride through Canada to Alaska with a sea voyage back this was an adventure to say the least. Some of our best stories are in these pages and we plan to have more of them forthcoming.
When we rolled into 2016 we realized we weren’t ready to settle down, but we did take the opportunity to live, work and volunteer in two National Parks. Getting to explore, learn and share these public treasures has been a joy and a privilege beyond words, though we do give our best efforts at expressing ourselves.
Rachael and I completed the UC California Naturalist program prior to hitting the road. This informs our experiences and shapes how we express ourselves. As Aldo Leopold put it “One of the penalties of an ecological education is that one lives alone in a world of wounds.” Our work is cut out for us and the future is sure to have its heartbreaks, but our vision is to celebrate the beauty around us in the belief that the value of wild things speaks for itself when one is willing to look.
“The Eyes of the Future are looking back at us and they are praying for us to see beyond our own time.” Terry Tempest Williams
Mission Statement (January 2015)
There is no better way to get to know a place than to get its dirt under your fingernails. Our intention is to do just that. America is still a place where many people feel a deep connection to the landscape. And that landscape, like it's people, is diverse. It is also still full of wide open spaces and pockets of wild nature, from the preserves of Alaska to the spacious deserts of the southwest to the weed filled lots in the forgotten corners of our cities. However, whether it's a relatively unmolested stretch of wilderness or a blighted chunk of urban open space, most of our landscapes could use a bit of help. Development pressures, poor land use decisions, invasive species and many more factors mean that all of nature needs advocates and many specific places can use active hands-on help. They say that the best place to start is close to home. For many years that home was San Francisco and the Bay Area, a place we love dearly. We put in years learning first hand the creatures, flora and history of that home. We also put in some time pulling invasive weeds and planting natives in a few hidden gems along the industrial bayshore of the city. In the process we were inspired not just by the ability for neglected habitat to recover and thrive when given an opportunity but also by the neighborhood people putting back a little love into their home and the shared positivity this creates.
It is time to leave that home though. Time to reset our lives and come to know other places. We've decided we need space, mental and physical space. Our hope is to find intimacy in the vastness of our continent. To find the wild places that the local people love and to find out why and chip in where we can. In the process we hope to come to know these places in the way you only can by putting in a little sweat and tears and by opening our eyes, ears and minds.