Featured Outdoor Blogger Series
I would like to introduce the featured outdoor blogger Big Dan. Dan writes over at Big Dan’s Ramblings.
Favorite Outdoor Activity:
This question is a tough one. I just love being outside. I describe myself as an outdoorsman who likes to be sideways. If you’re not into boardsports, that might sound funky. I love to surf, snowboard, kiteboard (don’t do it nearly enough) and wakeboard to get my ‘sideways fix.’ I used to skateboard, but being built like a linebacker means I went through A LOT of skateboards – and I was never any good at it! Besides being sideways, I enjoy being outdoors in a lot of more conventional ways. I love hiking locally on Long Island. When I’m not sideways or hiking, I also try to get as much camping and fishing in as I can. Having a young family (twin 3.5 year olds) means I have to get creative to do any/all of these activities!
Favorite Places for Outdoor Activities:
Because my interests are so varied, I have a ton of favorite places. Let’s break it down by sport/activity.
I live on Long Island so I have access to some of the best surf on the East Coast. I don’t live at the beach anymore, so I don’t get out as much as I used to, but I’ve surfed many spots on the south shore of Long Island and love them all. Long Beach, NY holds a special spot for me simply because I lived there for so many years and learned to surf there.
I went to school in Western MA (I’m originally from southeastern MA) and spent many, many days riding in the resorts of southern VT. Stratton especially holds a special place in my heart. I spent 50+ days per season there all through college. Lately, Burke Mountain in the Northeast Kingdom area of VT has been my favorite place – terrific terrain, awesome snowfall and no crowds. Got a chance to head out to Snowmass, CO a year ago and that was great too!
Again, I don’t do this much, but a buddy of mine has a great setup down in the Assateague Island National Seashore near Ocean City, MD. Awesome place to learn. Plus, they have the best crabs you’ll ever eat!
I used to run a national wakeboarding festival in college called the WICed Fest and have spent many hours behind a boat across southern New England and New York. My favorite spot will always be my home lake – Lake Pearl in Wrentham, MA but I’ve also enjoyed Lake Lillinonah and Candlewood Lake in Connecticut. Now, when I do get out (don’t have constant access to a boat anymore), I mostly ride on the Great South Bay on the south shore of Long Island.
Anywhere, anytime! Honestly, hiking is such an inexpensive hobby/sport to get into that I just go where ever I’m at. There’s nothing better than exploring the local nature of an area than by finding a few trails in the woods and getting going. I’m gearing up for an attack on the Greenbelt Trail here on Long Island. It’s a 32-mile trail that runs from the north shore to the south shore of Long Island.
I haven’t been camping in years, but I really do love it. I’m trying to get my kids into it this year with some backyard adventures.
I grew up on a lake, so I’m a freshwater guy. Largemouth bass to be specific. While my interest died for a while in my early 20’s – it was far too boring for a kid with a bug up his ass – I’m getting back into it the last few years. My favorite place to fish is my home lake with my dad. It’s something we both enjoy and it’s great to get out with him and just spend some time together. He actually just got a pontoon boat this year and is very excited to take his grandkids out fishing! In addition to the freshwater activities, I have gone on a few saltwater adventures down here on Long Island – hoping to get a shark fishing trip planned for this year!
When Did You Get Interested in the Outdoors:
I grew up in a blue collar town and being outdoors was an inexpensive way to have fun. My dad is a fisherman, so I learned how to fish early on. I also joined the Boy Scouts and was exposed to some awesome outdoor adventures – winter camping in Maine, summitting Mount Katahdin in early spring, more camping trips than I can count, hiking sections of the Appalachian Trail, etc. It was one of the best experiences I have ever had in my life. In addition, I grew to love being sideways and that love has allowed me to spend countless hours at the mountain, lake or beach. Sunshine and a breeze are terrific things to experience – much better than a heated house or AC blasting.
Are You Doing Anything to Teach Others About Your Activity:
I’ve always welcomed others to join me on my adventures. Being active in the outdoors is fun, but it’s more fun to do it with people you enjoy spending time with. Recently, my focus has been on getting my kids to love the outdoors and not be “inside kids.” Right now they love playing in the snow – they’ll be on a board next season – and can’t wait to get to the beach this year. Once they can swim, they’ll be pushed around on a surfboard. I bring them geocaching on a regular basis which gets them into the woods and hiking. They love it because they think it’s treasure hunting – they keep telling me we have to get to the treasure before Captain Hook (we love Jake and the Neverland Pirates in our house)! We’ll be doing some backyard camping this summer as well as fishing up at my folks’ house. The goal is to make my girls love the outdoors and not be the kind of kids who always want to be behind a computer or in front of a TV.
Dan’s Blog Information:
BigDansRamblings.com has evolved over the years, but it’s settled into an emergency preparedness and outdoor site that helps people get outside and be prepared for life’s little hiccups. Lately I’ve been writing more about prepper-type situations, but I try to steer clear of the gloom-and-doom, sky-is-falling kind of articles. The word ‘prepper’ has a negative connotation to it in no small part to shows like Doomsday Preppers. I have no delusions that the prepper community has more than its fair share of tin-hat folks, but there’s a much larger part that just want to be self-sufficient and prepared in case life has a hiccup. I’m in that latter group. I tend to write about avoiding bad situations and how you can be more self-sufficient through developing outdoor and homesteading skills. Recently, we’ve put together a series about Every Day Carry (EDC) items to help you be prepared for typically daily problems and I’ll be chronicling our backyard garden this year. Hiking, camping, gardening and fishing skills will also be highlighted through the year. We welcome everyone to stop by and let us know what you think! Hopefully we can teach you something…and learn something from you as well!
Here are some ways to hand out and interact with Dan over social media:
I would like to thank Dan for volunteering to be a featured outdoor blogger and I invite you to check out his site and social links.