All posts by Seth Pepoon

Celebrating Our First Trip!

Avid primitive backpacker gets to teach his honey all things outdoors…becomes more civilized and loves every moment. 

Come share our adventure!

Let me celebrate! Now that I’ve shared what I learned to say and not to say, let me tell you a little about our first hiking/camping experience. We started early on a Thursday IMG_2302morning in July. We drove two and a half
hours of beautiful road to the Savage Gulf in Middle Tennessee. We stopped first at Greeter Falls and took the short trip to the beautiful water falls and had a fun photo shoot.

Then we drove a little further to the Ranger Stone Door camp site parking lot. The camp site was .3 miles from the parking lot so it felt primitive enough for me but was close enough for her. She wasn’t too far from a real bathroom and I could easily make a few trip to the car to carry enough gear to make our first night comfortable. We set up a large 6 man tent that I dug out of the closet and I fixed her a dinner of Packet Gourmet. I built us a fire and we enjoyed its sound, flicker and warmth. We slept well on a blanket pad and really enjoyed our time in the tent.

The next day we used out camp as a base and first hiked .9 miles to the Stone Door and climbed all over it. Then we hiked about 2 miles total out and back on the Big Creek Rim trail. We stopped at each over look and marveled at the grand vistas of green tree tops in the valley. Then we finished up with another short hike behind the Rangers station to Laurel Falls. IMG_2328

This first trip was the result of much conversation trying to merge what we each liked about being outside. I got her and enough primitive camping features to feel like I went on an adventure. She got enough comfort features to sleep well and have fun in lots of beautiful settings.

Over the next few days I’ll share what we learned from that trip. Hopefully it will help you have some good times on the trail too.

Save the war stories

2012 Seth smoky mountains Jan 2Avid primitive backpacker gets to teach his honey all things outdoors…becomes more civilized and loves every moment.

Come share our adventure!





My wife really does enjoy going on adventures with me…honest! 

Here is the numero uno don’t – don’t tell hiking war stories—especially the ones about snakes. War stories are for the guys who love overcoming raw nature like you do. You can share your coldest most painful adventure with them…your worst time in the rain…the long distances and fatigue…the time it took an hour and a half to get a fire started…don’t brag to her about those things.

It is no small wonder however, because I did talk the wrong talk.

We were with another couple around a patio fire and I started telling stories. I proudly told about the time I slept under the stars by the fire when in was 13 degrees and the snow was falling on my face. I told about the time it was 20 degrees and I fell in up to my chest in ice cold water at a creek crossing. Sloshing up on the trail, I had to take off all my clothes, wring them out and put them back on. I laughed about standing there wet and naked. It was funny and one of the most painful experiences of my life.

When the laughter died down she shared how impressed she was with my toughness in the cold but that she did not want to go with me.  My heart broke like dried out asphalt—2013 Asphalt heart June I had stuck my foot in my mouth. I wouldn’t have asked her to go on harsh and primitive adventures (unless she wanted to go) but I had made it all look ugly and painful. They were great adventure stories but they did little to attract her to what most adventure are: fun and beautiful.

I suppose that she gained some sense of security by knowing that I could take a punch or two from mother nature and still have fun. Perhaps she knew by the stories that I could be counted on in a crises if she needed me. But I had some work to do to over come those stories to get her out there.

So, guys, save the war stories!

Share them sparingly during a very brief but meaningful conversation about safety and security. We don’t want to deceive to entice but there is no point in focusing on the painful stuff. She will be drawn to what you use your words to paint beautifully.

Brag about the Beauty

Do you want your girl to go with you on your out door adventures? I wanted it so badly. I longed for the companionship of the woman who loves me and am so thrilled that she is happy to “go with.”  In case it might work for you, I want to share what I did.

Let your desire for adventure be a natural part of life.

In the course of normal life, I showed my interest in hiking, the outdoors and adventure. I found that when I let my girlfriend and now wife know what I wanted to do that she has found a way—because of her love for me—to do the things I like to do. Your Honey may not always respond to this just because you like it but give it a shot. I had to learn how much to say so that I didn’t bore or annoy her with the topic but let it show as a part of me that was permanent. You have to do the same for your honey as well. You have to let her know that you have a passion for it. I shared pictures and stories with her; I talked about equipment for comfort, and mentioned adventures and hikes I wanted to take.

Be willing to do what she wants that might be uncomfortable for you.

On the flip side of the talking I did about what I liked, I listened to her talk about her love for dancing and I have gone to many dance fitness classes with her at the YMCA. I have often been one of the only men in the room. I started out awkward and somewhat wooden but learned to loosen up. Just like she may have some difficulty getting used to and having fun with you on the trail, you may have some dues to pay. Do what she wants to do and talk about what she likes. Then, the trading and participating lovingly begins. You might be surprised—like I am—about how much you like what you have learned to do with her.

Talk about the beauty.

When you share stories with her of where you’ve been and where you are going, make it about the beauty. I told my baby about the beautiful places I wanted to go and beautiful sites that I had seen. I talked about the warmth of the fire and cozy times. I told her about how we could wrap a sleeping bag wrapped around us both. Tell her about the waterfalls, the refreshing clear clean sound of the splash and the cool breeze that blows up for the cave where the water disappears below. Share how you can sit and eat your lunch together with the sound of the wind singing in the tops of the trees. Paint a picture about how you can watch the water fall as you talk about your dreams. Tell her about the time you sat on the top of a mountain and saw the sun rise as the fog lifted or describe what it will be like. Recall the time that you sat drinking a hot cup of coffee from your jetboil stove and listened to a dozen different bird calls as the forest woke up. These are the kinds of things to talk about. Tell her the parts of the adventures that you know that she as a girl will like. Study her and tell her what she will appreciate about the adventures.

Tomorrow I’ll share what not to say…

Come on this adventure with us!


When I was a child, I spent every minute I could in the woods. As I have grown older it has become harder to find the time and less enjoyable with my sweetheart at home. This is a journey we are on trying to find what works for us and meets our yearnings for the outdoors. I hope that you will find some ideas to help you get outside with the love of your life and make your memories together like we are.