top of page

Carli Rides A Horse

You can keep Hazel Findlay, Killian Jornet, or Courtney Dauwalter. My wife, Carli, has it over all of them. 

During my days working for outdoor industry brands I encountered many folks in their 40’s, 50’s and even 60’s who talked about how they had "their time" in the outdoors during their 20’s and early 30’s. They either no longer pursued outdoor activities or if they did, they did so on a much more limited basis. The pressures of career and family had pushed the fun part of their lives to the side, and in order to cope, they claimed that they were comfortable with the memories of adventures past.

And while science suggests that the idea of zombies or the living dead can’t be anything more than fantasy, my old coworkers who had retired from a life of outdoor fun are about as close as you can get to undead movie monsters. Though they may have convinced themselves that they’ve outgrown weekend mountain bike rides or summer camping trips, the hollowness in their eyes tells a different story. Deep down, they know they’re lying to themselves.

And this is why Carli rules.

We both got into outdoor sports around the same time but eventually our paths diverged, as I started to pursue some more aggressive backcountry goals while she was more of a casual fan of going outside.  And while some outdoorsy couples may have the need to align their outdoor pursuits, we have found that our individual approach to recreation has helped our own personal growth; as long as we still get together for the occasional bike ride or surf session.

Neither of us have been immune from the life forces that impacted my aforementioned zombie-virus inflicted former workmates. During the height of my corporate life I had to dial back my adventure plans but I always felt it was important to keep that element of my life alive.  I didn’t want to become an old outdoor poseur; drafting off the fumes of 20 year old adventures and trying to keep up with those who were still getting after it.

The author navigating his way through a sea of outdoor industry zombie executives.

Similarly, through her 30’s and early 40’s Carli finished her Master’s degree and started a company. Forcing plenty of personal aspirations to take a backseat to her business and the needs of our three kids. But even though she didn’t have the perceived pressure of outdoor industry colleagues to guilt herself into not playing outside, she continues to find ways to stay active and even expand her horizons.

We still go on bike rides and head out for that fun inside shore break surf session, but Carli has also started riding horses.  One of our daughters started taking riding lessons and before too long Carli decided to join her.  And now, she’s gearing up for her first horse show.  

Trying something new, setting goals, meeting new people, expanding community, staying active. Aren’t these the tenets of an outdoor lifestyle that we all truly care about beyond the PR’s, peaks bagged or bucket list places that we’ve visited? The foundational fundamentals of what playing outside offers us?  

It’s cool to see uber-athletes break records and achieve feats in their particular sports; but my 48 year old wife, who owns a company, has three kids and decides to pursue something new and fulfilling to keep her own adventurous spirit not just alive but thriving? That’s much more impressive.

Happy Mother’s Day, Carli.


Drips & Dregs is the weekly column from Rock Fight Founder Colin True. Sometimes outdoorsy and always outdoor adjacent, check in weekly to see what is on his mind.


bottom of page