In 2009 I quit my job (and rainclouds cleared). For weeks before my professional exodus, a new camera was burning a hole into my soul. Maintaining the status quo was out of the question. Views of Mount Rainier's North Face from my office window were to blame. Moreover, years as a financial advisor had been a creative blackhole. Stock quotes and financial reports hardly inspire artistic inspiration.
Release was needed.
My cure-all was two-fold. First was that brand new (soul scorching ) Nikon D700 camera. Second was a year off.
In those short-lived, life changing twelve months, I found a new passion - photography. A burgeoning passion that has its seeds planted in the memories of my good friend, Ben Manfredi who sadly drown whitewater kayaking the breathtaking Grand Canyon of the Elwha, deep within jungle-like forests that make-up Olympic National Park. Upon his death, I took up his camera - my first.
I still think of Ben, at 25, as being on his way to accomplishing much in his life. Fueled by his drive, and boosted by my twin brother, Josh and my burgeoning idiocy, we pioneered dozens of steep descents and traverses in the Cascade Mountains in the early 2000s. I've carried on that tradition and continue to adventure and explore every facet of these mountains I call home.
Those adolescent adventures with Ben were a continuation of what began for me as a child with my brothers and parents. With them I learned to ski on the slopes of Mount Rainier before kindergarten, backpacked for weeks a year throughout the western United States, rode mountain bikes and rafted rivers - and never sat idle.
My life has always been defined by the outdoors, so much so I'm more comfortable negotiating a storm in the mountains than city traffic. Give me a lighter and set me in the middle of nowhere before dropping me in the midst of Seattle any day!
So that’s my story squished into a stuff sack, pulled from a heavy pack and pitched on the world wide web for all to see.
To read more, keep clicking the pages, read the stories (www.cascadeclassics.org (1998 to 2003) to www.cascadecrusades.org (2003 to 2013) to, currently, www.myadventurecrusade.org (2014- ) and join me on this great adventure. I promise, it'll convince you, as my friends joke, "...to never follow a Hummel," which I've come to realize is their loving way of saying, "We'll follow you into the gates of hell." I, of course, always promise that any bushwhacking leads to heavenly fields of fresh powder, of a quality the Snow God, Ullr would approve of.