Living the Dream
As an instructor at Yosemite Institute, I feel very privileged. Not only do I get to work outdoors teaching children, but I also work with an amazing group of inspiring people.
One of those people, Matthew Baxter III, was an instructor at YI for a few years before tragically dying while climbing El Cap. In his memory, his family has set aside a fund that allows instructors to go on life changing adventures. Every year, instructors dream up wild and crazy adventures and apply, and every year a few get picked .
I am honored to be one of the instructors who had their grant proposal picked.
Ya, thats right! This summer, thanks to the memory and family of Matthew Baxter, I will be receiving $2500 to bike tour from Prudhoe Bay in Alaska to Vancouver B.C.. That’s 2600 miles spread out over a 70 day bike tour.
Right now I am overcome with anticipation, nervous energy and a little fright. This is a HUGE stepping stone for me and I am ready to take the plunge.
I would like to thank the Baxter family for allowing me to embark on this wonderful adventure and I am honored to ride in Matthew’s memory.
I have so much to say but instead I will let my grant proposal do the talking. enjoy.
Mathew Baxter III
As an educator working for Yosemite Institute and NatureBridge, I have been very fortunate to have worked with so many inspiring people. This organization has been a constant source of happiness and motivation in my life, largely due to the great culture we as an organization have created through the years. One of the more exciting aspects of our organization is the sense of adventure we both teach and live by. To this end, the Matthew Baxter Award is a fitting and exciting part of our program. I have been at this organization for 6 seasons now and Yosemite Institute has become a part of who I am. It is for this reason that I am applying for the Mathew Baxter Award in order to embark on a bike touring journey through Alaska and the Yukon Territory.
Through my life I have always been engaged in various outdoor pursuits, however cycling has always held my attention stronger than most others. The pure and simply joy of rolling along on two wheels has been a familiar feeling of passion throughout my entire life. As a child I can remember sitting on a baby bike seat attached to my dad’s bike and riding around our old neighborhood. As I grew older, I went through various BMX and mountain bikes, always wandering out for hours on end exploring the places I have lived. As I got older, my interest in cycling grew and finally, as an adult last summer, I embarked on a bike touring adventure. I had always been interested in bike touring and after a little motivation from a friend I decided to head down to Central America and just do it. I ended up cycling from Guatemala to Costa Rica over the course of 4 weeks and fell in love. I gained a great sense of confidence in myself and experienced Central American culture in a way most people don’t. Along the ride I made a vow to myself to continue touring throughout my life. To this end, I told myself that over the course of my life I would cycle from Prudhoe Bay, Alaska all the way south to Tierra del Fuego, Argentina; the holy grail of bike touring. This 19,500 mile tour often takes people almost 2 years to complete and I decided to make it my piece by piece lifetime goal. Later that same summer I did another “mini” tour from San Francisco to San Luis Obispo and I remember watching waves crash along Big Sur and feeling that longing for a longer tour. This is where NatureBridge and the Mathew Baxter award can help.
I am hoping to embark on a solo bike tour from Prudhoe Bay, Alaska to Vancouver, BC over the summer of 2011. This 2,600 mile tour is very important to me in that it would be the largest bike tour I have ever embarked on. In addition, large portions of the road are either unpaved or so removed from civilization that I will need to be totally self-sufficient for extended periods of time. I would love to have Yosemite Institute and NatureBridge be a part of this major milestone in my life by supporting me in my tour through the Mathew Baxter Award.
Having already built up my touring bicycle and acquired my touring specific gear, I am relying on the Baxter Award for monetary assistance along the way. I have been reading bike touring blogs religiously hunting down information on this route. Based on what I have been reading, I feel confident in my ability to succeed in this adventure. My previous experience bike touring will allow me to adequately challenge myself on this tour while feeling still operating close enough to my comfort zone to feel secure at all times. Finally, my choice to do this solo will allow me to ease into the challenge at my own pace.
I would require 70 days for this expedition; including travel, riding, rest and “buffer” days. As a food per diem I set myself $15 per day, totaling $1,050, which from my experience is sufficient. In addition, I accounted $150 for lodging costs, $200 for possible bike repairs, and $100 for unforeseen emergencies. Finally, $1000 was budgeted for the airfare (San Francisco to Deadhorse, AK and Vancouver to San Francisco) to which oversized luggage fees was added. The grand total I have budgeted for this trip is $2,5000. While this may not seem like a lot of money to most people, it is hard to not work for almost 2.5 months and spend that much money. Therefore, I am asking for $2,500 for my Mathew Baxter Award.
As previously stated, this bike tour is a very personal and meaningful goal. Support from the Matthew Baxter grant would allow me to fulfill this part of a major lifetime goal. In addition, knowing I was riding in memory of a fellow colleague and adventurer would fill me with great joy. I thank you for considering me for this grant and wish you the best of luck in your decisions.
“It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.”
Here’s a rough idea of what my route will look like.