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January 18, 2017 In Tennessee, all creeks seem to lead to the Cumberland River, but it is when you leave these mosaicked waters and head deep into the rhododendron wrapped forests that you find the true mightiness and potential of water.  Once a seabed hundreds of million years ago and...

Our day on the Cumberland Plateau

January 18, 2017

In Tennessee, all creeks seem to lead to the Cumberland River, but it is when you leave these mosaicked waters and head deep into the rhododendron wrapped forests that you find the true mightiness and potential of water.  Once a seabed hundreds of million years ago and now sitting 2000 feet above sea level, the Cumberland Plateau is a mecca for the most beautifully unique, yet perfectly carved rock formations this side of the Mississippi. Shaped by time's erosion and the persistence of water cutting through the sandstone, you would think the hand tools of man carved out each wrinkle, smoothed out each slab, and painted the rocks using the most beautiful palettes of purples, oranges, reds, and greens. However, the greatness of these rocks do not overshadow the other features of the land. A crystal creek flows over, around, and under glistening stones as the old growth frames the serpentine path, yet there is so much vastness. It is a rather delicate creek home to rather delicate creatures, yet here they flourish. Each bend in the trail leads to a furrow of rock herding us back into the gorge. In one corner of the rock wall, runs just enough water to create two tiers of falling water yet not enough to roar and rip through the canyon. Everything is coated with moss and beads of water, even the humidity captures rays of daylight giving this particular area a foggy glow. It immediately feels like we are in a far away rainforest, far away from human influence, and far away from the Tennessee we call home. Yet, home we are. 

(Click on one of the images to see more of our staffers Ethan and M.E.'s day)

My name is TJ Maurer,  I live in Chattanooga, TN, and I am a sales rep for Fayettechill. My wife and I moved to Tennessee 5 years ago not for a job or out of necessity.  We moved here because where we are now, while I am writing this, is...

One of our Sales Reps TJ Maurer, On Balance in Work & Play

My name is TJ Maurer,  I live in Chattanooga, TN, and I am a sales rep for Fayettechill. My wife and I moved to Tennessee 5 years ago not for a job or out of necessity.  We moved here because where we are now, while I am writing this, is exactly where we wanted to be – which is a whole other idea of serendipity we can talk about on a long drive or around a campfire one evening.

 

I climb rocks, I ride bikes through the foothills, I chase trout, I run about both visible and invisible trails through forests, I sleep in my truck, I have two chickens, and when I am not doing any of that, I rep for outdoor brands that I believe in.  I escape to the mountains as often as I am able, which seems to motivate me to work as hard as I can while in town, which then leads to anticipation and drive for more play. Both the love of home and the strive for balance in all facets of life seem to be two similarities shared with Fayettechill, myself, and countless other individuals.

Seeking balance in life is a simple idea, ancient and easy to practice, yet seemingly overlooked. I strive for a balance of work and play, of urbanscapes and natural environments.  A balance of encircling myself among like minded individuals and also those who think differently.  I see it pretty simply – I work hard and, thus, play hard.

 

 

 

But there is an imbalance in work and play that is two sided. On one hand, those who despise their job. Problem doesn’t lie with the 40-hour work week, but within the increasing number of people who settle for situations they detest. On the other side, those who deny jobs all together, a generation of social media enthusiasts quitting their job, living out of a van, and traveling to see the world. I’ve done this myself and I can assure you I would make the decision to travel and drop everything again, again, and even again. However, we have begun to romanticize people dropping everything and unsubscribing to the conventional way of thought previous generations laid out before us. If one thinks a bit more about the consequences of this lifestyle, especially if we all lived this way… we would not exist, the luxuries we have would not be available, and there would be absolutely no way to live in vans and chase adventure.

I hope I portrayed both sides of the equation fairly here.  The main point I want to make is that both ways of living are not mutually exclusive.  We can work a conventional job, even a 9-5 one, but find balance through habitual satisfaction of our wanderlust. I think the simplest way to practice this balance starts by appreciation of the zip code you live in.

Since living in Chattanooga, my concept of vacation has changed. Now when on vacation, I do not dread that last day or even the day leading to that last day of the vacation, the long road back home and the restart of daily life.  It could be because our vacations are adventures in the woods, the high desert, or lesser known coastlines – all generally without warm showers.  At the end of it all, our return to the daily grind is coupled with the return to our hometown of undulating trails, warm hued southern sandstone, overwhelming vitality of the Appalachian foothills, a community of some of our best friends, and warm showers.  

 

I imagine it to be no different for the folks at Fayettechill. They adventure all around the world, climbing mountains, fishing rivers, and surfing waves.  Despite their near utopian travels and weeks abroad, I can safely bet they long for Fayetteville at the end of it all.  They are motivated and inspired to realign themselves with their work and continuing to better themselves, the company and those around them upon returning.

Despite working a “real job”within the real economy, we can still attempt to inspire both ourselves and others through the other 80 hours a week. We can still take post worthy pictures, we can still embellish the already pretty awesome stories around the campfire. We can still strive to create – create photos, stories, climbs, trails, flies, gardens, and shiny new bikes. We can stop wasting time thinking about greener grasses and see the absolute best in where we are and where we are going.  We can love the home and community we chose to reside, grow, and learn within.  We can be involved a bit more than we maybe feel comfortable doing and meet a few more people outside our social circle. Hell, maybe have a beer with them. These are things we can do. These are things we should strive to do as people and organizations and collectives of people. As we do it, we motivate others to do the same. We play hard and work harder, all for an end goal to leave this planet a little better off than we came into it. We all take a personal responsibility to inspire ourselves and those around us. We aspire to be a collection of individual who value both the journey and the destination.

Words & Photos by TJ Maurer | @ticklejeans

Having fun is the point of the day.  Making memories is what its all about.  Today is not the day for a teaching moment.  Not the day for being critical about manners. Not the day to be a parent, at least in front of your kids.  Today is the day to  be a kid again.  Get on the sled.  Go faster than you are comfortable with going.  Make snow angels, then stay there and let your kids bury you in the snow.  These are quick cold moments in your day, but are unforgettable moments that your kids will hopefully remember for a lifetime.

How to Survive and Thrive During Snow Days

 

 

How to Survive and Thrive During Snow Days

 

Big Kids and Little Kids

 

By TJ Wilt 

 

Snow Days are one of the greatest memories as a child.  What about when you become a parent and you have children of your own?  They still are the best memories but responsibility gets in the way of you letting loose…completely.  Snow is not planned; snow is not forgiving and able to reschedule so being prepared prior to that phone call at 4am or the email the night before is tricky.  I am a little luckier than some, I have 3 boys so as one grows out of a winter jacket the next can grow into it.  This of course does not apply to the pre-teen that grows 5 inches in 6 months.  However, he can almost fit into my clothes and definitely his mothers. Below are some of my thoughts from experience that might come in handy. 

 

 

BREAKFAST

Always key to any big day of adventure are snow balls, snow men or snow women, sledding, crying,
freezing, a little bruising, a lot of laughter, some resting and a whole lot of fun is a good hearty breakfast.  EAT.  A lot of people skip this meal but it is critical to compete with your  kids energy.  Skipping breakfast should never be an option.  If there is ever a day for the full eggs, bacon, sausage, pancakes,  waffles, fruit, biscuits and gravy, OJ, cereal and oatmeal this is the day.  Go all out!! We all know the possibility of getting to another meal before the sun sets is not likely.  

 

Ready…Set…. SNOW

Its cold, wet and it finds itself into your kids clothes especially when they are having fun.  So expect to see some tears mixed with the smiles.  

 

 

 

 

SLEDS

Go round up your sleds.  Use anything you can get your hands on.  We had some old plastic saucers in the basement and still resorted to trashcan lids, trash bags and sometimes even cardboard boxes.  So don’t spend a lot of time stressing because the more creative you are the more fun for the kids.

 

SNACKS

Almost as critical as breakfast.  Being outdoors and being active is a choice and choosing means preparing.  Snack bars are the easiest most efficient way to be prepared.   Gels are an option, but honestly, there are not many kids that will take down a gel pack like runners and cyclists.  Just throw some meal or snack bars in a backpack and call it a day.  Water is critical too. Just as important as it would be for a trail run or ride on the bike.  Water bottles are light and easy to refill.  Just throw a couple in the pack.  

 

FUN

Having fun is the point of the day.  Making memories is what its all about.  Today is not the day for a teaching moment.  Not the day for being critical about manners. Not the day to be a parent, at least in front of your kids.  Today is the day to  be a kid again.  Get on the sled.  Go faster than you are comfortable with going.  Make snow angels, then stay there and let your kids bury you in the snow.  These are quick cold moments in your day, but are unforgettable moments that your kids will hopefully remember for a lifetime.  The two most important tactics for staying in good graces with your kids during these memorable moments: 

  1. Get involved 
  2. Let loose 

So basically if you can be a kid again, DO IT!!

 

 

SLEEP

Yes, they will sleep.  Maybe not before you fall asleep, but they will fall asleep right next to you in bed if you are lucky and that will be the finale of a day that was lived to the fullest. 

 Enjoy the snow and know next time you get that email, phone call or twitter feed letting you know that tomorrow includes an unscheduled day off… you will be prepared and ready to take on the FUN.  

 

My picks for the best snow day survival items:

  1. Patagonia Better Sweater - my go-to mid layer for any cold weather
  2. The North Face Summit Series - The L5 layer as your shell will keep the cold out completely
  3. Grab the Gold Snack Bar - Made in Tennessee, just like me
  4. Suunto Ambit2 -  A little overkill for a snow day but I have had a Suunto for almost 10 years now as my watch and would not choose any other
  5. Kammok Gear Roo Hammock - of course at some point you have to relax and why not strap onto a tree right by the sledding hill
  6. YETI 20oz Rambler - Who could forget your beverage, hot or cold, its hard to pass the Yeti Rambler