Day Hike in Gorges State Park


On Thursday, I went on a day hike with my friends Shawn, Sarah, and Abby the dog. It was my first trip to Gorges, the newest state park in the North Carolina system. It was beautiful! Simply a wonderful day spent with friends in one of the prettiest areas of the country. The highlight of the trip was 150 ft Rainbow Falls, and the great swimming holes that surround the area. If you are near Gorges this summer, make it a part of your day!

I made a short video of the day, hope you enjoy.

Update: Thanks to Mountain Xpress for sharing my video on their site! See it here.

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In Celebration of the Awesome


Celebrating the bottom of the Grand Canyon

I have an awesome life. Simply in the basic comforts of health, food, shelter, clothes, I am richer than most in the world. But for me, in my American plenty, there are plenty of other aspects of my life that are awesome! What are they? Glad you asked!

  • Coffee every morning. I can even go somewhere and pay someone to make my coffee! And buy fancy coffee! Awesome!
  • Living on 500 acres, with room to run, hike, camp, bike, swim, play, and so much else. Awesome!
  • Starlit nights. Awesome!
  • Sunrises (with coffee, it’s early man). Awesome!
  • 12 Bones BBQ, only get the ribs man, and corn pudding. Awesome!
  • Pad Thai is freakin’ epic. Awesome!
  • American Apparel Track T’s. Awesome!
  • A long, un-timed hike/run/bike in the woods. Awesome!
  • Any time I laugh. Awesome!
  • Rockin’ out with Mumford and Sons. Awesome!
  • Vacations, and that I make enough money to not have to work for a couple weeks and go just go do stuff hundreds of miles away! Awesome!
  • National, state, county, city, community parks. Awesome!
  • Yosemite, Great Smoky Mountains, Grand Canyon, Zion, and Rocky Mountain National Parks. Awesome!
  • Snow (except this winter). Awesome!
  • Fall colors, spring colors, and winter’s absence of color. Awesome!
  • Ice cream. Awesome!
  • Waking up today. Awesome!

I encourage you to take a moment (or several) during your day to appreciate the awesomeness of life. Our lives are pretty amazing, even the bad parts, meaning white-american bad. Times when Sunny Pointe is out of biscuits (AHHHHHHHHH!), my phone takes 15 seconds to upload a picture (the humanity!), or the ATM is out of order (why are you punishing me God!), everything is still ok.

Don’t take your awesomeness or happiness for granted, and don’t let jerks get in the way of it. They want to downplay your first 5k? Screw them. That arrogant music “expert” wants to tell you that the Avett Brothers have sold out to the man? Not friends anymore! Someone trying to tell you that your favorite restaurant is over-rated? You know they can do? STICK IT!

Your enthusiasm will rub off on others. Spending time with you and your happiness with the awesomeness of life will be awesome! I’m not saying you should be a pie-in-the-sky crazy person, but if we all can’t kick back and realize how good life is, then shame on us. Give someone a hug, a high-five, call a buddy and reminisce about your epically epic road trip, or plan a new adventure. There is a lot of awesomeness in the world!

You can find plenty of posts on this site about giving back and caring for others, but I wanted to celebrate the awesomeness that is day-to-day life and adventures.

Please join me in the comments and share what is awesome in your life! If you are a twitter user, tweet @mattragland and use the hashtag #awareofawesome.

[To feel even more aware of the awesomeness of life, go read Neil Pasricha’s blog 1000 Awesome Things]

Disclaimer: This essay was hugely inspired by Brendan Leonard’s post in Adventure Journal. High five! Also, Brendan curses in his post.

Writing and Rambling through Creation: An e-book release


I have enjoyed writing for as long as I can remember, and I have enjoyed thinking about writing just as much! In September 2010, my wife Morgan and I took a trip to Yosemite National Park, and I did some serious writing there. When you get in the tent at 8:00 pm for the night, it leaves a couple hours for reflection and writing. I thought about how often I would like to write and end up watching TV, because it demands less of me. So I made a commitment to write more, and also to let others see it. In March, I read Seth Godin’s Poke the Box, and it inspired me to actually set a date and “ship”. I’m a day late for the shipping, but I did finish yesterday and am ready to release. It’s a short book, with essays, poems, and photographs from the past couple of years. I have some more ideas to write on, but I wasn’t going to let that push me back from what I said I was going to do. So here’s the first book, enjoy it!

Writing and Rambling through Creation (full version 51 mb)

Writing and Rambling through Creation (lo-res 1.5 mb)

Thanks to: My wife Morgan, my family, Camp Rockmont, National Parks Service, Patagonia and Mountain Hardwear (apparel), Gregory Packs (backpack), Vibram Five Fingers and Chaco (footwear), Seth Godin, John Muir, CS Lewis, and God.