Joseph M Dehnert
“The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” -Mark Twain
My story begins like most, in a rural town most people have never heard of. Ahoskie, North Carolina had only one claim to fame which was being the birthplace of Muppet creator Jim Henson, that is, until I graced it with my presence in May of 1990. I came out the youngest of four with two older brothers and an older sister giving new meaning to the phrase 'last, but not least'. My oldest brother Craig didn't live with us at that time so it was up to my sister Rachel to keep her two younger brothers in check. Luckily she solicited the help of my older brother Ryan to assist her in looking after me when I evaded my parents watchful eyes. Evasive, that is a good word to describe me as a child. I was simply into everything at all times. Thus, having explored the entirety of my house by age three, I began venturing out into the unknown; the world past the front porch.
Having an inquisitive mind and curious disposition were invaluable traits when being raised as I was. Before the age of five our family had moved over six times in four different states. However, my character really began manifesting itself when we settled in a little town in Washington state. I was six years old and awestruck at the image of the magnificent Mt. Rainier visible from my back yard. The shear scope of that looming giant had more allure than my young mind could withstand. Therefore, the five years I spent in Yelm, Washington included countless camping trips on the mountain. I believe those excursions were crucial in forming not only my love for the mountains, but my appreciation for the outdoors as a whole. However, my family's m.o. held true yet again, and in the summer of 2010 we were Georgia bound.
At first glance, unimpressed. However, as time passes Statesboro, Georgia can begin to grow on a person. I am no exception. I quickly learned that the best way to pass time in my new town was to spend as much of it outside as possible. I had my weeks of hibernation from the sweltering summer sun, but with increasing frequency would find myself in the woods in whatever capacity available. Whether it was going to a party in the middle of a cotton field or camping down at the train bridge my place was in the woods. All throughout high school and college I took mini excursions into the wild. However, such adventures can only stay mini for so long.
It was spring semester of my sophomore year in college when one of my best friends orchestrated a not so miniature adventure. An extended vacation floating down the mighty Mississippi (https://2010mightymississippiriverrun.shutterfly.com/). Kayaks hoisted above inexperienced heads we embarked on one of the greatest adventures of my life. All other lessons aside, that trip showed me just how at home I feel in the woods.
There, an all inclusive summary of my life thus far, haha. I can't even begin to put into words all of the things that inspire, guide, and propel me up into the mountain or down on the river. Simply stated, it just feels right!