“Go out and play!”
I guess that’s what my wife Jody and I must have repeated to our three sons when they were small. Or maybe we just let them be themselves, and they took to the outdoors without much encouragement.
After several years of moving from river to river, Thomas and Adana Martinez have settled in Terlingua, Texas, next to Big Bend National Park. They married in 2016 and work for Far Flung Outdoor Center, which offers Rio Grande River trips in the Santa Elena Canyon, as well as hiking tours in the RoadScholar program and Jeep and ATV tours in Big Bend National Park and Big Bend Ranch State Park.
He began hiking and camping alone in the Ozark National Forest of Arkansas when he was 15, in the heat of summer and the dead of winter. He just wanted to be outside, and if nobody wanted to go with him, that was not his problem. Our middle child, he was born in 1982.
He became an avid mountain biker and kayaker. He worked several summers as a rafting guide on the Arkansas in Colorado. As a geology grad student at the University of Arkansas, he volunteered for field work in remote places and ended up traveling around Nicaragua with high-precision GPS equipment and working at a research station on the eastern Caribbean island of Dominica.
In the summers of 2009 and 2010, as a doctoral student in geology at the University of Kansas, Richard traveled to the Himalayan Plateau of Tibet to begin his dissertation research. In the highlands of Tibet, the valley floors are as low as the top of Pikes Peak. Richard’s photos capture the beauty and desolation of this high and lonesome land.
Richard’s blog Rocks and Water provides a window into his world.
In 2013, he married Lydia Staisch. After a stint in Ann Arbor, where Lydia obtained a geology doctorate and Richard had a post-doctoral fellowship, they moved to Seattle in the fall of 2014, then to Saratoga, California in 2017. Lydia is a research geologist for the United States Geological Survey and Richard works for the GEM Foundation, a non-profit scientific organization that is engaged in providing seismic risk analysis.
Cole, born in 1980, attended college in Colorado Springs, where he enjoyed the Rockies.
Cole started rappelling when he was about 14 and was active in many sports in high school and college, including mountain biking, skiing, diving, trap and skeet and rugby. After college, he spent two years on the tiny Japanese island of Ikina, where he taught English.
While in Japan, he hiked and camped on Shikoku. He met Zoé Wilson in Japan and decided to live with her in London, where he attended law school.
While in law school, he started working at Itchy Feet, an outdoor clothing and gear store, and from there learned about another company that has several indoor climbing walls. Cole began teaching customers the basics of climbing. Soon Cole was climbing again, on the cliffs along the English Channel, in Wales and in the Italian Alps near Lake Garda.
Having finished law school, Cole was operations manager for High Sports Group, Ltd., managing its seven climbing walls in London. Zoé was manager of marketing and communications for AlphaSights.
In October 2013, they left England, and spent several months trekking in Nepal and India before spending a year in southwest Missouri. In April 2015, Cole and Zoe moved to Alaska, where Cole works for CH2M Hill’s well-servicing unit at Prudhoe Bay and Zoé became director of communications and marketing for The Salmon Project. Zoé is now strategy director for Element Agency, a public relations firm in Anchorage that primarily serves non-profits, including The Salmon Project.
In January 2017, our first grandchild, Freya, was born to Cole and Zoé, and Jody and I have made two extended trips to Alaska to enjoy our new role. Freya is as excited about outdoor life as her parents.