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Go Forth And

Grand Canyon Badge

Grand Canyon

36° 7' 6.93'' N, 112° 2' 43.6'' W

June 2014

My freshman year of college I received a call from a longtime friend asking if I wanted to backpack the Grand Canyon with him come summertime. There were only two acceptable answers, “Yes” or “You’re coming whether you like it or not.” As I had only having car camped with my family before, I decided, “What the hell.” Six months and lots of planning later we set out across country taking plane, train, and automobile to arrive at the North Rim of the Canyon. With all of us eager to get our feet wet and start the hike, we set off. The next six days were tiring and tough, but the most fun any of us had ever had on a trip. The process was so simple and pure. The only objective was to make it from point A to point B in however much time it took. The distance and difficult elevation grade went out the window when faced with the incredible views we saw. Needless to say, I was hooked.

Yosemite Badge

Yosemite

37° 44' 45.31'' N, 119° 31' 59.52'' W

June 2015

By the end of the Grand Canyon trip, we were already making plans for the following summer’s hike. The next two semesters couldn’t go by fast enough. This time around we had the experience to know what worked, what didn’t and what was tasty enough to justify carrying the weight. The southwestern landscape of the Grand Canyon was beautiful, but we were excited to add some greenery into the mix. Once Yosemite was settled on, we planned a route that took us along the top rim, over El Capitan, across from Half Dome, and back down Yosemite Falls to the starting point. The hike was longer, steeper, and the cold, rainy weather proved to be a challenge. At the same time, we could make fires, which meant no more cold food, and there was never a need to ration the water. The geography of Yosemite was unreal. My photos will never do the views justice. It is truly something you have to experience for yourself.

Zion Badge

Zion

37° 18' 18.02'' N, 112° 56' 56.8'' W

August 2016

By now, not only had the summer backpacking trip become a given, but I had also developed an expectation of these grand western national parks. It was obvious that the next park to tackle was Zion. Though each park is completely independent from another, I liked to think of Zion as a hybrid of the two. Not only was the geography similar to the Grand Canyon and Yosemite, but we had also built a solid knowledge base of how we wanted to tackle these trips. Transportation to the parks themselves had become an adventure in and of itself; we had really gotten down what we absolutely needed and what weight we wanted to carry, and route planning was much smoother, or so we thought. The weather we had while hiking Zion led to a few rainy nights and flash flood warnings. Adaptability became the name of the game. Just when we thought we had it all down, Mother Nature humbled us real quick.

About This Project

When design meets discovery.

It has been a year since the last backpacking trip. I spent so much time gathering photos, making videos, and documenting the day-to-day in my travel journal, and I wanted to share all of these great experiences and the progression of the summer hike story. I’ve never been a big social media guy and the idea of a travel blog seemed so vanilla. During this year off I got very excited about my major course work and design in general. Coupling great design with something as rigid, but lending itself to creativity as code, is something I’m extremely passionate about. I wanted to pair the trips’ organic nature with a clean interface that can be viewed across multiple devices.

It was at this time when a co-worker of mine told me about an independent study he was working on with James Madison University’s Web and Interactive Design Professor, David Hardy. I shot David and email asking if there was a possibility of doing something similar during my last semester at JMU. Talk about going out with a bang, right? So we set up a meeting. From our first meeting I could see how excited he was with the idea, when I laid out a sixteen-week plan to conceptualize, design, and implement the site.

When September rolled around I started work on this project. David helped me with some of the very ambitious ideas I had and provided exceptional design feedback. I have learned more about code and digital design during these sixteen weeks than I ever did in standard coursework. I got to watch the process unfold as I coupled my love for design with unquenchable thirst to be outside. The goal is to continue my design skills and never stop exploring the beautiful landscape this country is blessed with.

I decided on the name Venture because this has been my proudest project, not only because it has taught me more about my craft, but because unknowingly it was years in the making. There is always room to grow as a designer, always more parks to explore, and always new ventures to tackle.

Thank you for visiting this site. Hike on!