Posts Tagged ‘Keen’
This years 3 day Browns Canyon expedition lived up to it’s billing. Browns Canyon is now Browns Canyon National Monument and we celebrated this new designation with our friends at the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Dvorak Expeditions, and 21 military veterans representing every service branch and every conflict from Vietnam to Iraq and Afghanistan. The vets on this trip served every role from guide to participant.
We had 2 long days of paddling whitewater, and one day of rock climbing in camp as well as art classes by Curt Bean and Art of War. Veterans were able to spend time together navigating boats and socializing in camp about the past and the future. “This trip grounded me last year and set me up for a great summer. I have been thinking about this trip, the vets I met, and the adventure we had together ever since. I have been looking forward to this years trip in a very big way, looking for more adventures with my brothers and sisters” says Navy veteran Jordan Daniel.
Vets on this trip once again prove that all disabilities and abilities can come together and explore together as a team. At VetEx, we only see ability as our vets show us this time and time again. Our trips and expeditions are for all vets, all eras, all service types. We run trips this way because we are all veterans. This is our community. We want everyone to be included. This journey down Browns Canyon is a good example of this. The river always providing us with adrenaline and life lessons. We will see you next year as we plan to grow our whitewater program and offer more trips, to allow more vets to experience the power of a veteran run and veteran led adventure and community.
As always, we must thank Keen for getting our vets on this trip in their awesome water shoes. Thank you Keen!
One of the VetFest Ice Climbing Groups this January in North Conway New Hampshire
This winter we ran snowshoe and ice climbing trips in New Hampshire, New York, and Colorado. Hundreds of military veterans attended our trips. Our 1st Annual VetFest in North Conway, New Hampshire kicked off the season with Ice Climbing for all abilities and a successful Mount Washington mountaineering summit attempt. VetFest saw vets and military from all over the Northeast. It was a great way to kick off the winter season with gear givaways, guest speaker Steve Arsenault, and so much more. Stay tuned this winter as we will make this years VetFest even bigger. Thanks to the VICE group and Cathedral Mountain Guides for teaming up with us and creating such a fun winter event for our vets.
Our Snowshoe trips in Colorado and the Northeast were also a big success with lots of first time and experienced backcountry travelers attending and enjoying these trips. Thanks again to Kahtoola for providing snowshoes and Keen for providing the boots for these trips. We could not do these trips without the generosity of our sponsors.
We plan to run a full winter schedule again in 2016 so stay tuned and get out with us on our snowshoeing, ice climbing, and hut trips. We will leave you with more pictures from our amazing 2015 winter trips.
Veterans Expeditions, a Colorado-based non-profit that reconnects service members to one another, the land they fought for and outdoor employment opportunities, will take its second Browns Canyon expedition June 21-23.The rafting and climbing expedition is in partnership with Friends of Browns Canyon. Dvorak’s Raft Kayak and Fish Expeditions will be the outfitter and will provide guiding on the river for 15 participating veterans of diverse abilities and eras from around the country. Lee Hunnicutt of Salida is the trip coordinator.
2013 VetEx Browns Canyon crew
“Our first such mission in June 2013 was an unqualified success, and we want to build on that,” said Hunnicutt. “Veterans Expeditions co-founder and friend Nick Watson and I share a belief based upon our own individual experiences recovering from the effects of combat and the difficulties faced while trying to reintegrate into civilian society. Each of us, and countless others, found the solace we sought in the outdoors. Wilderness provides an opportunity to view your life in relation to something far greater and can help you find or create a stable center inside you, one that you can revisit when needed. This concept has proven itself over and over, from Outward Bound to Veterans Expeditions. Lives are changed for the better by the wilderness experience.”
2014 VetEx Browns Canyon crew
According to the Department of Veteran’s Affairs, 22 veterans take their own lives each day. Many more struggle with post-traumatic stress disorder, lives upset by multiple deployments, financial difficulties and delayed benefits.
Watson, a former Army Ranger, recruited participants from the VetEx community. In 2013, VetEx ran more than 30 trips across the United States, getting hundreds of military veterans outside and earning the honor of 2014 National Geographic Adventurers of the Year.
“The time spent out with all these veterans and all these service stories is nothing short of awesome,” said Watson. “Veterans let their guards down with one another, and out came the stories of war and civilian life struggles and success.”
This trip is fully funded by donations at no charge to the veterans. 100% of funds raised go directly toward trip expenses, with no administrative fees or salaries.
If you know a veteran who might be eligible for Veterans Expeditions, or to volunteer or contribute, please contact Lee Hunnicutt at [email protected] or Nick Watson at [email protected]
About Veterans Expeditions
Veterans Expeditions is a veteran led, chartered non-profit in the State of Colorado. Veterans Expeditions has an independent board and operates nationwide. Their mission is to empower veterans to overcome challenges associated with military service through outdoor training and leadership. Learn more at www.vetexpeditions.com.
About Friends of Browns Canyon
For years, a local coalition comprised of recreationists, sportsmen and local businesses have been working to protect Browns Canyon. The Friends of Browns Canyon, along with bipartisan lawmakers, are working towards permanent protection of the approximately 20,000-acre area.
Learn more at www.brownscanyon.org.
2014 Browns Canyon VetEx crew
Our Pint Glass Sale at KEEN Happy Hour. VetEx logo looking good.
This winter a team of VetEx veterans went to the Outdoor Retailer Show in Salt Lake City. We went with big plans of new partnerships and quality time with long time partners. Keen set us up in their booth Wednesday through Friday of the show. We interacted with Keen staff, Keen customers, and show goers all day long in the booth. Things started to heat up for pint sales and happy hour. Keen donated all of the proceeds to VetEx. Thanks for the continued support Keen.
Keen and VetEx at the 2014 Winter OR Show
VetEx veterans had the pleasure of hanging out and talking with Wade Davis after his talk at the Conservation Alliance Breakfast. Wade is the author of Into the Silence, a spectacular book on World War I and the military veteran climbers who took on Everest, Mallory included. This book is a must read for the veteran climber. Mr. Davis writes of war in such detail and accuracy. The reader can defiantly draw comparisons to then and now. Those veteran climbers paved the way for VetEx today. Many of those WW I vets were unemployed and looking for peace and a future in the outdoors.
VetEx Leadership gets some wise words from a very wise man. Thanks for the time Wade Davis. A class act and avid supporter of veterans.
From left to right: Dan Wiwczar VetEx East Program Director, Josh Brandon heads up SCMO, Wade Davis, Stacy Bare Sierra Club Outings Director, Nick Watson VetEx Executive Director.
Wade talked with our group about his book, Into the Silence, and his current effort to save his homeland in The Sacred Headwaters. A story of the Stikine, Skeena, and Nass in Northern British Columbia. The knowledge, subject matter, and passion Mr. Davis has on these subjects is impressive. I have never spoken with a better speaker and story teller. We will make sure that VetEx vets will have opportunities in the future to speak with this amazing man and all he has to teach and tell us.
The VetEx Leadership with Secretary of Interior Sally Jewell. Sally heads up the National Park Service, Fish and Wildlife Service, BLM, and much more.
The VetEx leadership team had the chance to speak with Secretary of Interior Sally Jewell. It was great to speak with Sally about all her job entails. Fascinating woman working hard in service to this countries wild places and open spaces.
We attended the Mountain Hard Wear lunch and got updated on all the new designs and specifics for their new line.
We wrapped up the show at the Kahtoola booth. Kahtoola was our first sponsor in 2010 when most folks would not give us the time of day, Kahtoola wanted to make sure our veterans were in their snowshoes and microspikes. We will always be loyal supporters of Kahtoola as they have been very loyal to VetEx.
We attended the National Geographic Adventurers of the Year party on Thursday where Stacy Bare and Nick Watson (VetEx Co-Founders) were presented with the 2014 Adventurers of the Year honor. Thanks National Geographic for recognizing our veteran run, veteran led trips and expeditions nation wide.
It was a great show for VetEx as we got to meet so many new faces and hang out with old partners to talk about future trips and the future of veterans outside. Thank you once again Keen, Kahtoola, and National Geographic for making our show so eventful.
The 3 Amigos. Army, Marines, Air Force Veterans getting after it!
Sometimes you get to go places on expedition and words cannot describe how amazing everything is. The pictures from our time traveling and climbing in Washington this September 11th say a thousand words. These volcanoes, trails, rocks, and forests were such an honor to spend quality time in and around. Glaciers, waterfalls, and mountains were everywhere.
Look left and see VetEx Co-Founder Nick Watson taking in the magnitude of this vast landscape with Glacier Peak looming in the distance.
From the lush forests of the North Cascade to the moonscape of Mount St. Helens. We traveled, hiked, and climbed this land with our eyes wide open and smiles upon our faces. Three veterans and one non-veteran traveling around and enjoying every second. We hiked and climbed long, hard days and took none of it for granted. Army, Air Force, and Marine veterans all exploring this new world together as a team. If this sounds like fun to you, get on the next trip with VetEx. See you all outside very soon.
The summit of Mount St. Helens on 9/11/13
We couldn’t do it with out the Keens on our feet.
On August 15th a team of VetEx veterans set off to tackle the 5 peaks of the Northern Presidential Range. In all, 15 Miles and 8000 feet elevation gained climbing Mt. Madison, Mt. Adams, Mt. Jefferson, Mt. Clay, and Mt. Washington.
We started early and had a spectacular weather day. Conversations were had about future trips and what was coming up for everyone. One veteran was busy working and getting through college, another was starting up a guiding company, one vet was not a vet at all, but still on active duty, another was working hard at getting other veterans outside. We walked and we walked. Lots of conversations were had about the fun times had in uniform and some other conversations about the tough times had by all members of our group. What a day. It was like a retreat and an ass kicking all wrapped up into one long day spent outside with your piers. If you have never experienced such a day out with veterans, then you may want to join us next time.
So why do we do it some might ask? The reply is up to the veteran. For VetEx, we see the value in veterans accomplishing their outdoor goals together. Magic happens on these trips. Vets get to experience what they miss about the military and then take it all back home with them. The long days replicate the types of effort needed to summit big mountains around the world and provide good training opportunities for future expeditions. Many of our veterans enjoy and work well in this type of outdoor environment. Come get out with us and see for yourself.