Cotopaxi – A “Do Good” Outdoor Adventure Company

When building relationships and affiliations, it has become important to me to locate companies and associates that have a “Do Good” attitude. Those that have taken an active role in making the world a better place in their own way. With so much negativity throughout the world, it is refreshing when I find something positive.

I had made one such connection in early 2016 that I was extremely excited about. Over the past year, that excitement has grown into a passion, and I like to consider myself an unofficial ambassador of this amazing company. Cotopaxi is an outdoor company that funds sustainable poverty alleviation, moves people to do good, and inspires adventure through innovative outdoor products and experiences. With a catalog of incredible outdoor adventure products, as well as a commitment to sustainable product design and charitable giving, Cotopaxi fits the description completely of the type of company I wish to affiliate with.

Cotopaxi only selects high-impact organizations to work with. Those organizations that collaborate with local communities to build sustainable solutions. They target key needs by partnering with non profit organizations that they have researched, and have demonstrated measurable success. Beyond the work they are doing, Cotopaxi remains transparent in their actions by providing details on their impact to the Cotopaxi community and customers. All of this has put Cotopaxi in a position to recently become a B Corp Certified company.

With a wide range of outdoor products including clothing, backpacks, gear, and accessories, matched with their “Do Good” attitude, Cotopaxi products are the perfect match for anyone looking to buy outdoor gear, and help make a positive change throughout the world.

I am pleased to continue building a relationship with this amazing company, and with the recent launch of The Super Trips, my family and I are excited to continue working with Cotopaxi on our new family adventures journey. One way in which we are working together is by offering our visitors a special 15% off full priced items by using the special code CHADARMEL15 at checkout.

To find out more, or to shop Cotopaxi -> CLICK HERE

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A Two Day Super Trip Along The NC Coast

Day 1: There are alarms going off on several cell phones throughout our bedroom. An alarm on my work phone, on my personal phone, and on May’s phone, buzz with the annoying sounds that tell us it is time to wake up, and roll out of bed. On most day’s, that ear piercing sound is telling us it is time to go to work, but on a Saturday morning, it is usually giving us the sign that it is time to hit the road for a Super Trip. On this particular morning, as we swiped the cell phone screens to turn off the alarms, we were waking up to head out to the North Carolina coast for a two day road trip.

With most of the items packed the night before, and a hotel booked for one night as our base camp, we only had to throw a couple of bags into the Kia Soul, then head out on the highway. Over the years, we have managed to become pretty light with the luggage we take on our trips. We learned on an earlier road trip to Key West, that packing an abundant amount of clothes for a trip is not as necessary as previously believed. I personally found that a couple pair of shorts, and a few t shirts is all that is needed. In Key West particularly, A couple pair of swimming trunks, and a pack of white v-cut t shirts does the trick just fine for me. With everything packed, and the three of us in the Kia, we headed off on the short road trip to the North Carolina coast.

As we pulled into Emerald Isle, a 29-mile stretch of island on the lower Outer Banks, which is one of our favorite places along the NC coast, we planned to drive the entire stretch of the island to Fort Macon. The drive through Emerald Isle, Indian Beach, Pine Knoll Shores, and Atlantic Beach is a very enjoyable 15+ mile drive, with many public access beaches along the way to visit. Our previous trips to Emerald Isle have all been beach stops only, so we planned to visit Fort Macon, as well as the NC Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores.

For anyone visiting Emerald Isle, Fort Macon is a must stop attraction. Exploring the fort is an amazing trip through history, and the time commitment depends on how much you dive into the areas of the fort. We explored just about every square inch of the fort, as well as the many displays throughout, but still had time to visit the beach just over the dunes from the parking lot, before visiting the Aquarium, and another beach to end the first day. After climbing to the top of the Fort, we discovered a wonderful 360 degree view around the fort, including an overlook view of the beach and coast. With sunny blue sky’s, we captured many amazing photos from the top of the fort, before entering the interior to tour through the many informational displays and rooms available.

After finishing up our self tour of Fort Macon, we began our voyage back to Emerald Isle with a stop by the NC Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores. Considering the size of the island, we did not anticipate a very large aquarium, and were not sure what to expect, but we were pleasantly surprised at this fantastic aquatic odyssey. With many sea life and reptile displays, as well as additional play areas for the kids, the aquarium has enough to fulfill your families water life entertainment needs. Little Minnows play area will keep the toddlers busy in between the exhibits, while Tree-Mendous Nature Play Area can entertain the entire family with slides, a climbing net, a tree house platform, and a swinging bridge.

After visiting the NC Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores, we spent the rest of the evening at one of the many public access beaches along the route back to Emerald Isle. Throughout the entire island, you will find beautiful, quiet beaches at every public access, as there is very little commercial development on the island.

With late evening coming upon us, we finished up our journey back to Emerald Isle, then crossed the bridge back to the inland, and began driving to the hotel, our base camp in Jacksonville. Since we were all hungry, we decided to make a food stop in Swansboro, and enjoy some casual dining at the Icehouse Waterfront Restaurant. With live entertainment near the front entrance, and a great picnic table overlooking the nearby waterway, the evening was perfect to relax and enjoy a laid back meal. We then finished the evening with a short stroll down Front Street to Church Street, eventually ending our evening at an awesome sweet store name Candy Edventure. This candy store is a treat for young and old alike, as it has tasty treats that would satisfy any preference.

The evening was getting late, and all storefronts were closing for the day, so we decided it was time to call it a successful day, and continue on to the hotel we had booked in Jacksonville. After getting settled into the hotel room for the night, we ended day one of our trip with our usual flipping through the many great photos we had captured.

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Day 2: With an extremely packed day one completed, we decided not to let the alarm clocks wake us up. Instead, opting to have our six year old son Kaleb dictate when we would wake up for the second day of our adventure. After packing our bags, loading our car, and checking out, we grabbed a quick breakfast in the dining area at the front lobby, then headed out on the road to Surf City on Topsail Island. With a visit to the Surf City Ocean Pier, some beach hopping, and the occasional stop at the beach shops along the island, we spent the majority of the day exploring the island coastline.

After an afternoon of beach hopping along South Shore Drive, we headed back to Surf City to cross over to the main land, and find our way back to route 40 west. With another adventure of memories to add to our collection, we made our way back home, closed the chapter on this journey, and began laying out the plans for our next Super Trip.

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Base Camp – Greensboro

It’s Friday night, and the clock is rolling near 11:00 PM as I flip through the latest issue of Backpacker Magazine. After a long and mentally exhausting work week, I had full plans to come home and relax the entire weekend, but from the moment I walked through the apartment door, even as tired as I am, the desire to stay home all weekend is diminishing by the minute. This lifestyle that our family has built is addicting, and keeps us searching for the next great Super Trip. From the first trip that May and I took together in Pennsylvania, through countless miles of shorelines and mountain trails, through our recent move south to North Carolina with our son Kaleb, The Super Trips are definitely an important part of our family culture.

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The move last year to Greensboro North Carolina was a calculated move that plays an important part in providing amazing weekend adventures. Greensboro is located in the North Central part of the state. It is a short few hour trip to the coast, as well as a short trip to the Blue Ridge, Appalachian, and Smokey Mountains, which makes it the perfect base camp for adventure, and the perfect base camp for our families Super Trips.

With a perfect view of the central swimming pool just off of our back balcony, a few beach chairs, a palm tree, and a Victoria Skimboard placed on a cooler for a makeshift table, it gives our apartment a permanent vacation feel. Apartment living also gives us the freedom to hit the open roads more often. A freedom we almost lost when we purchased a house in Pennsylvania. After 6 years of home ownership, it was time to pull back , regroup, and continue doing what our family does best, weekend road trips.

As our new base camp, Greensboro has provided many amazing cultural events to compliment our outdoor adventures. If we don’t feel like traveling far, we can explore the outdoors practically in our back yard with hiking, kayaking, SUP, biking, etc. all within a few miles drive, or a short bicycle ride away.

Base Camp – Greensboro has quickly become home to our family, and the starting point for The Super Trips. We are truly stoked to be able to share our adventures with you, and bring you our tips on building your own family adventures.

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The Beginning

It was our first overnight trip together, and little did we know the amazing direction this one simple two day trip would point our relationship in. As we traveled out of Pittsburgh, toward what we later affectionately named the North Coast, we had the windows down, cruising the highway with anticipation. While the radio played the first of many songs that would, over time, create the soundtrack of our life together, we enjoyed each others company for our first road trip.

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As we entered Presque Isle in Erie PA, we had no idea the love that would grow so deep in our hearts for this body of water, and the beaches that line this Great Lake. Our first steps onto beach 6, dipping our toes in the sand and water on this day, was significant, but at this time, we really had no idea exactly how significant this particular beach would be in our relationship, as well as our future together. As one might guess this was the beginning of an amazing romantic journey that spans 14 years, as well as many coastal miles, with a sound track of love, life, and summertime fun that has transformed itself into a lifestyle.

Walking hand in hand along the shoreline, breathing in the fresh air, we took in the beauty of our surroundings, and knew this was the life we wanted to build together. We also knew in that very moment, this was definitely only the first of a lifetime of memories that would be made along coastal waters. Today we are becoming known for our amazing family adventures, but on that day, in the beginning, while we watched the sun set into the horizon of Lake Erie, it was only a dream that we began to envision.

That vision of road trips and outdoor adventures has taken us to many amazing coastal destinations, as well as the most breathtaking mountaintops. Our love for the weekend adventures has given us a lifetime of memories, and the passion keeps us searching for more journeys. As the sun dipped into the horizon that first evening, we had no doubt that we would watch the sun rise and fall many times in locations like this small local paradise that we discovered together. This was the beginning of The Super Trips !!!

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