Growing up in the Arizona desert over a half-mile from the nearest neighbor, my sister and I would spend a lot of time exploring. On occasion, we would bring various critters home, and our mother would immediately make us return them to their natural habitat with the admonition: “That is where they belong.” As I look back at memories like this, or camping trips with my dad, or the hike to Havasu Canyon with my mom, sister, and a group of unruly Boy Scouts, I think about my parent’s sense of adventure, their wisdom, and their deep love of open and undisturbed lands.
Later in life my dad did admit that while he loved being in the outdoors, he actually hated sleeping on the ground—which makes me think even more fondly of our adventures together, knowing that even though he endured this particular hardship, he wanted me to know and experience nature.
Both of my parents have since passed away, the land around the old family home is completely developed, and the descendants of those critters my sister and I found have long since relocated to the desert much further out, away from humans. But when I am out in nature, watching a beautiful sunset, paddling down a river, or camping under the stars, I think of my mom and dad and the positive effect they had on my self-reliance and spirit of adventure.
I have been a TLC member for just over a year now, and I have enjoyed hikes, camping weekends, drinking beer for Texas land and water, and absorbing as many nature facts as I can from not just the staff, but other TLC members and volunteers. Nature keeps me connected to both of my parents, and I am so grateful for all the opportunities I have had with TLC to strengthen that connection!
Gary Sertich has been a TLC member since September 2017. He recently became a Ned Fritz Society member and has been to almost every TLC event since joining (see photos below).