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About

Steven Smith at the top of the Continental divide in the Weminuche wilderness, Colorado

My dad never put me in sports growing up. As a result I have never had much interest in sports (watching or playing) and often feel like an outsider in sport dominated small talk . I once asked my father why he never put in sports. He simply replied: “I didn’t want to sit outside and watch you play.”

I like to give him a hard time about that…even though I now consider it a gift. And its ironic my dad didn’t want to “sit outside” because what my dad (and mom) did do…is take me outdoors. Every year in the summer we would take a trip to New Braunfels Texas to camp and “toob” or raft the Guadalupe and Comal Rivers. Every winter and spring we would head to Colorado to go skiing.  We didn’t know it at the time but my parents were instilling in me a great love for the outdoors. 

I remember a friend of my mom who would always talk about backcountry camping. I had no idea what that was so I asked. He told me it was camping where there was no running water or electricity (like the state park car camping I was used to). I longed to go backcountry camping but my parents weren’t comfortable taking me. 

Some time later as teenager we were on another trip to New Branfules when I saw a sign for Kayaking lessons. It was like a switch was turned on inside me. I thought, forget these inner tubes…thats what I want to do Is go kayaking. Not long after I bought my first Kayak and started taking it all across Texas paddling. 

My paddling trips gradually grew into multi-day trips. I slowly gathered up compact camping gear (i.e. backpacking gear) I could stash in the narrow confines of my kayak. Before long I had everything I needed to finally fulfill my dream of backcountry camping and found a new love for the outdoors in the high alpine environments where my favorite rivers were emerging for the first time. 

During this time I developed a interest in rock climbing but had no technical knowledge and no real opportunity to develop it. No one I knew climbed. Occasionally I would find a guide service and book an afternoon climbing. But I never had the access I needed to climb on a regular basis and develop the skills I wanted. A couple years ago a new rock gym opened near my home in Tyler, Texas. I started climbing (indoors) 2-3 times a week and fell in love just like I knew I would. I am still learning and growing, but love to climb both indoors and out (when I can). 

Now I take advantage of every opportunity I can. Weather it is hiking, backpacking, paddling, skiing, or climbing and write about it here. This is My Life Outdoors.