Cleveland Zephyr Outdoor Academy

Reflections on Baja

Sailing in Mexico’s Gulf of California during high winds and heavy seas, I reflected on the importance of being present and (one of the reasons) so many lawyers are unhappy. Read More

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The British Are Coming (to Ski in New Hampshire)

For five days in February I had the pleasure of teaching British exchange students to ski at Attitash and Wildcat Mountains in New Hampshire. Most had never skied before. In fact, during the first two days, multiple students asked me if we were skiing on real snow. Read More

Leave No Trace for the Front-Country

Learn to Do Your Part to Protect Our Natural Resources for Future Generations

The genesis of Leave No Trace ethics was to preserve wilderness trails and backcountry campsites. Nonetheless, it’s possible to apply the Leave No trace ethic you embrace in the backcountry to your life in the front-country. Read More

What Does it Mean to Be a Good Leader?

Good Leaders Are Made, Not Born

Historically, a leader was someone who presided from on-high and dispensed wisdom, reward, and discipline.

The leader was the person in command or control.

The leader issued orders, and made sure they were followed.

The leader maintained a healthy distance from the people doing the work that needed to be done.

Yet as communities, workplaces, and schools have evolved, so too has the definition of what it means to be a good leader. Read More

Richard Louv’s Last Child in the Woods: A Reaction

I just finished Richard Louv’s Last Child in the Woods and am simultaneously overcome with the need to act, and paralyzed by indecision on how to proceed. Read More

The Edges of Your Comfort Zone

Before leaving camp for the day we talked about habits, competence, style, and life outside of our comfort zone. There’s tremendous transference in these ideas. In the front-country or the back-country, good habits form the basis of things we do every day, almost without thinking. Whether it’s packing your pack, setting up the tent, or preparing dinner, going to the gym, riding a bike, or writing, by making time to practice these skills  – even just a little bit every day – with enough time, we gain mastery of them.

I was reminded of one of my favorite quotes – “Learn the rules like a pro so you can break them like an artist.” Read More

Going Deeper

Opening Up

Today was a day of deep conversations. I was told that initially I was “hard to read,” which came as no surprise. It’s not the first time I’ve heard that, and I think it has something to do with having been a lawyer. The whole idea that you don’t want ’em to see you sweat. Read More

The Long and Winding Road

The trip became just as much a journey inward as it was a trek through the wilderness. Read More

Inside My Head

NOLS Coursework

The substance of a NOLS course has been astonishing. We’ve covered so many different topics, in such a dynamic environment. Our instructors have been amazing in their ability to tease lessons out of the day’s events, blending the day’s experience with education. And that, I believe, is the magic of experiential education. Read More

Into the Wilderness

I was the first one up after a full 8 hours of sleep. A parent of two children, I rarely get a full night’s sleep. I didn’t know what to do with myself. I waited for my tent-mates and the rest of our crew to wake, and looked up at the mountains that would be our home for the next 10 days, reveling in the peaceful tranquility of the forest. Read More

The Beginning

A Hard Night’s Sleep

I woke at 6 a.m. after a night spent tossing and turning. Nervous, I guess, about what was to come. Was it guilt about leaving my family for a week? Self-doubt? Just plain excitement? I’m still not sure. But I didn’t sleep well. Read More

On a Train

Boarding the train at 5am, I wasn’t sure what was in store for me over the next 10 days. I wasn’t nervous so much as I was excited. Excited for the unknown. Excited for an adventure. It had been too long.

But 48 hours before walking into the wilderness, my mind was clouded by fear, self-doubt, and a lack of confidence. Read More

Backpacking Trips Within 3 Hours of CLE

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – when you think of Cleveland, “nature” is probably not the first word that springs to mind. Nonetheless, I will continue to try to find places to commune with nature near “the 216.” Read More

Stepping Off the Precipice

I have once again stepped off the precipice and joined the ranks of the self-employed.

The last few months have been ones of seismic change for me. Read More

Twists, Turns, and People

This morning I was thinking about the twists and turns life takes, and how they have a profound effect on who we meet, what we do, and who we become. At the time, many of these events seem random, serendipitous even. But when we look back on them, they weave together the tapestry of our life: who we are, and who we become. In hindsight they take on more significance. We can tease out themes, discover what is truly important to each of us, and discover who we are, or who we are meant to be. Read More