Adventure Journal Main Menu: Esper E-letter #1, Oct. 2005

This email goes out to all my peeps, long lost, though not forgotten!
Recently I have realized that I have been remiss in keeping in contact
with all you, and have decided to do something about it before you
give up on me as a friend completely. Because I travel so much, I
find it especially difficult to stay in touch with really cool people
that I've met in so many various great places in our world. So here is
my first 'mass email' (or as I prefer to call them, 'updates'). In
email updates like these, it kind of gets boring rambling on and on
about myself in the whole email (because I cant possibly include
personalized questions to you!), so I would love it if you ever so
often reply back to me, and I will be sure to email you back, if I
havent in a while. In fact, I am hoping that this will prompt me to
stay in better touch with each of you, so please help me out in this

I guess I will start by saying that this past May, as many of you
know, I graduated from Messiah College in Pennsylvania with a degree
in International Business. Looking back, I am really glad I finally
chose business-I love the both the personal and financial (hopefully
someday) freedom that it brings. I still dont know exactly why God
led me to Messiah of all the great colleges out there, but maybe
oneday I will see the bigger picture.

Anyways, right after graduation, I travelled up to New Brunswick,
Prince Edward Island, and Nova Scotia with my family on a road trip
for 3 weeks. I really appreciate the travelling heritage my parents
gave me, as well as their love for the outdoors. Also, the whole
family hiked up the highest mountains with me in New Brunsick (Mount
Carleton), Prince Edward Island (and unnamed hill) and Nova Scotia
(White Hill), because I am now working on a personal goal of climbing
the highest mountain in each of the Canadian Provinces and
Territories. White Hill was pretty tough because it is so remote in
the highlands of Cape Bretton Island, and there are no trails to it.
To get to it, we drove 70 km on logging/snowmovile roads, and then had
to hike around a lake, and through miles of dense shrubs. I am sure
we were the only family back there driving in a minivan-all the locals
usually say we need a high clearance vehicle, but we usually go ahead
anyways. (My family is just as crazy as I am). Anways, after that I
had the priviledge of being Best Man in my best friend's wedding, up
in Prince Edward Island to a wonderful Christian girl from that area.
It was really meaningful because he told me that in the time he got to
know me, I introduced a lot of outdoor sports in his life, and now
that is a focal point of their lives and ministry together.

A couple days after getting home from that trip, I headed to the
Dominican Republic with a group of other students from Messiah College
on a 2 week mission trip. I was a student leader, and along with one
other young lady who I don't know what I would have done without, we
held weekly meekly prep meetings, were in charge of fundraising...that
kind of stuff. Being a leader was a great opportunity for personal
growth and developement for me, and I learned so much about
leadership, about trust, about trusting God, and about looking out for
other's needs other than my own. I applied for the position on an
impulse decision, but am so glad I invested the time I did into it. I
also have to say I was priviledged to have an awesome team of 9 other
students. They had such great attitudes the whole time, both with the
physical labor we did in helping to build a church and the foundation
for another Compassion International project, and with being open to
developing relationships with the people there. I really love my
team. But if you didnt go on that trip, you are probably really bored
right now, so I will move on!

I actually stayed in the Dominican Republic, leaving my team at the
airport and with my co-leader, and joined two other fellow members of
an organization called Climbing For Christ. The organization is for
Christian hikers/climbers, and seeks to reach out to people in
mountainous areas that wouldnt otherwise be reached by other groups.
Check it out at . Well, the three of us took a
bus over to Jimani, near the border with Haiti, and then rode on the
back of motobikes across the Haitian border to the base of the highest
mountain in Haiti, Paine de la Selle. Of course, during that time was
when there was so much violence in Haiti, and while we were there, the
Peace Corps evacuated, and there was a US StateDept. warning to not
travel there. But we trusted God, and went ahead anyway, with no
trouble at the border (with of course some locals' help). We went
there to climb the mountain, and to hand out some Croele Bibles we
brought with us. It turned out we didnt bring enough food though, and
of course the townspeople are so poor that no stores exist, and they
wouldnt even have enough food to give us if we tried to buy some, so
we didnt make the summit. But we did make contacts with a pastor in a
remote village on the side of the mountain, and have plans to go back
next year and help the community to build a church building. Right
now, they meet in an open air, thatch walls structure. So we got back
to the DR safely, climbed the highest mountain in the Dominican
Republic (Pico Duarte), and headed home.

Then I spent a few weeks at home, working on my campground firewood
business I started years ago, and worked for my parents some. By this
time, it was mid-July, and I started driving out west for a solo 6
week road trip. The first two weeks of this trip I spent climbing the
highest mountains in the states of Montana and Wyoming, with 4
climbing partners I know from climing locally where I live in the
Adirondack Mountains. Both were multi-day bapckpacking trips, one was
a technical rock climb to the summit, and other was a 5 day/50 mile
round trip, including a glacer climb to its summit. I also spent a
few days climbing in the Tetons of Wyoming, and was amazed at the
vertical rise from the parking lots in the valley to the summits
(about 6000-7000 feet). By this time, I was pretty much
mountained-out, and couldnt wait for the sun and beach of Southern
California, where I headed to see Derek Dokter, a great friend from my
European study tour in 2004. We spent the week on the beach, learning
how to surf, shopping, looking at other people, you know, the beachy
stuff. I was really amazing at the how different that culture is from
say where I live. In general, I felt people were very concerned with
outward appearance, both with material things, and with how they
presented themselves. The people I observed down there just didnt seem
genuine. I guess its all in the image, they say. Anyways, I loved
my time down there, but I wouldnt want to live there! After that, I
flew back up to Spokane, Washington, and visited a university there I
am applying to go to next fall, for my masters degree. Then, I spent a
week on Mount Baker, Washington State, in an expedition training
course that helped prepare me for bigger mountains like Denali in
Alaska, which I hope to climb pretty soon. By the time I was heading
home, I must admit I was pretty lonely at times. I mean, I love being
independent and self-reliant, travelling solo across countries, but at
some point, it always gets a little lonely. I keep telling myself that
means I am getting closer to being ready for marriage. On the way
home, I stopped at two more mid-western state highpoints, so now that
brings me to 48 state highpoints out of the 50, with just Alaska and
Hawaii left!

Now, as I write this, I have been home for a month, working for my
parents, and earning a lot of money for my next travels-to New Zealand
in a week. I have had a great time here at home, and am not ashamed
to be living at home at all. I would much rather be somewhat poor and
free that rich and tied down to some job! While here, I have gone
caving (exploring in caves) a few times (we even rappelled down an 80
foot drop into another part of the cave!), climbed mountains, and
canoed 30 miles down the Raquette River from my town of Long Lake, to
the next town downstream. Thankfully for these adventures, I have a
trusty friend who faithfully follows me. I've been friends with her
(Kerlin-she's happens to be from the Dominican Republic) for years,
and its always nice to have friends to do stuff with when you go back
to your small hometown. So yep, I am leaving for New Zealand for
about 10 months. I have always wanted to go there and explore its
magnificant natural beauty, and this may perhaps be the last time I am
free enough to just take off for 10 months and go travelling to some
far-off place. The first couple weeks, I am spending with Jonathan
Nace and Tanya (my best friend I mentioned before), who are currently
living there doing full-time ministry. Then I am on my own-I hope to
buy a used car, and just travel around, hike, explore, meet other
people doing the same thing, and I have a work visa, so I can get some
temp jobs if I need to.

So, I will be in touch with all of you here and there, though of
course not as frequently since I will be living out of my car! If you
havent gotten bored yet with this monologue, check out my homepage
listed below, which has links to my albums which cronicle
my life in pictures pretty well, as well as my climbing trips pictures
on my "highpointing webpage". And of course write me, so we dont
lose contact. This happens so easily nowadays that we live in such a
mobile society and world.

Take care!