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The Adventure Speaker Series 2017

Check out this winter’s great line-up of talks sure to inspire every level of outdoor enthusiast. The series includes local and national outdoor adventurers, who have lead exciting expeditions through natural resource gems of Ohio and on more distant summits. This five-part series covers the gamut of outdoor adventures and is a partnership between Five Rivers MetroParks and Wright State University.


Jordan Hart: Bike Touring the Underground Railroad

7 PM, February 9, 2017 | Wright State University Student Union, 3640 Colonel Glenn HWY

Description: In the fall of 2016, Jordan Hart rode his bicycle more than 2,000 miles along America’s legendary route to freedom. From Mobile, Alabama to Owen Sound, Ontario, the Underground Railroad Bicycle Route traces the path many slaves took to freedom from the Deep South to Canada, passing points of interest and historic sites along the way. Learn about the trials, tribulations and high points of the journey!

Speaker Bio: Jordan Hart is a local photographer, cyclist, scout leader and all around outdoor enthusiast. Starting at a young age he got hooked on the outdoors and adventure. In 2003, he rode to Lake Erie with his scout troop and fell in love with long-distance cycling. After several week-long tours, he set out in the fall of 2016 to ride across the county.


Todd Soprych: Bikepacking the Great Divide

7 PM, February 15, 2017 | Wegerzyn Gardens MetroPark, Auditorium

Description: After cycling across the trans-America bike route from Virginia to Oregon, Todd Soprych wasn’t ready for the trip to end. So he hooked a right to Canada, switched his tires and kept pedaling all the way to Mexico on the world’s longest off-pavement cycling trail, the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route. Join Todd on this +2,700 mile trip of epic scenery, camping in America’s greatest national treasures and exploring it all on two wheels.

Speaker Bio: Todd is an over educated adventure dirt bag that chooses to sleep outside more than he does inside. He has thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail both northbound and southbound, thru-hiked the Pacific Crest Trail, and has professionally guided and instructed outdoor education programs for the past 10 years.

So when most people hit a mile stone birthday some get a case of the “ho hums” others spend it as regular day, and even some take that point in time to make a change. Todd decided for one of his milestone birthdays to ride +7,000 miles across the country from east to west then north to south and spend six months trying to finish what he started out to do.

Todd’s goal was to ride (a bicycle) on the Tran-American Bike Route and Great Parks North Route to Banff Canada,  enter the Great Divide Mountain Bike Race and pedal through grizzly bear territory to Mexico. Now, granted, he has no bike-touring or bike-packing experience, but why the heck not try and do something bold.

chasingsummitsGarry Harrington: Chasing Summits

7 PM, February 16, 2017 | Cox Arboretum MetroPark, Auditorium

Description: Garry Harrington is a peak bagger, whose determination to climb every high point in the United States and beyond became a journey of self-discovery and reclamation of a healthy life and attitude. Ultimately the drive to climb ever-onwards and upwards, leads to the pursuit of his childhood dream, climbing the Matterhorn. Listen as his story unfolds of finding fulfillment in hiking mountains and an unconventional life.

Speaker Bio: While New England is home, for Garry Harrington, the world is his playground. After turning 40 and realizing a career as a sports writer was no longer what he wanted, Garry found inspiration and a new path on the trails of New Hampshire’s Mount Monadnock. After racking up 1,000 ascents on the mountain, he broadened his sights to peaks both locally and abroad. Garry is now in rare company, being one of the few people to have not only High Pointed the continental U.S. but also summited all 67 of the Lower 48’s 14,000-footers. Garry is also an outdoor adventure film promoter, a trail ultra-marathoner, and the author of the book “Chasing Summits”.


Chuck and Beth Hewett: Backpacking the Buckeye Trail

7 PM, February 23, 2017 | Wright State University Student Union, 3640 Colonel Glenn HWY

Description: Follow the blue blazes around the 1,444 mile trail that circumnavigates the Buckeye State, with Chuck and Beth Hewett as your guides. This pair of experienced long-distance backpackers are literally writing the book on the nation’s longest loop trail. Hear tales from the trail, stories of misadventure, must see spots and more.

Speaker Bios: Residents of NE Ohio, Chuck and Beth Hewett have an extensive resume of long distance hiking, including a thru-hike on the prominent Appalachian Trail as well as hiking the John Muir, parts of the Pacific Crest, and the Colorado Trails, in addition to hikes in other countries.

Chuck holds a Master of Environmental Compliance degree and retired from American Electric Power in 2010. Since taking up hiking, Chuck, who goes by the trail name “Kayak,” and Beth, aka “Wildflower” have logged 5,000 and 3,000 miles respectively. Beth formerly worked in language translation being fluent in both Spanish and Lithuanian. The pair began hiking as a way to explore nature and stay fit after reaching retirement. The Buckeye Trail, which they hiked for 76 days this past spring and summer, was one more awesome trek through nature including 100 small and historical towns along the way.


Chad Ingle and Jeremy Cox: The Great Great Miami River Expedition

7 PM, March 2, 2017 | Wegerzyn Gardens MetroPark Auditorium

Description: Follow the journey of three local paddlers as they make their way from the headwaters of the Great Miami River to the confluence of the Ohio. Join Chad Ingle and Jeremy Cox as they tell stories from their 160 mile thru-paddle adventure. Learn what it takes to plan a multi-day kayak trip, from the gear needed, to coordinating the nightly camping. And most importantly get ideas on how you can plan your next kayaking adventure!

Kayaker Bios: John Donnelly is a dedicated husband and father of three young children. He works for the City of Tipp City serving as Engineering Director. John and his wife have traveled the world to engage in various mission trips.

Jeremy Cox is a dedicated husband and father of two young children. He works for the City of Kettering as a surveyor. Jeremy is actively involved in his kids sports and playing lead guitar in a local rock band.

Chad Ingle is a dedicated father of two young children. He works for the City of Kettering as an engineer and surveyor. Chad is actively involved in his kids sports and is an assistant coach for his son’s 4th grade basketball team.

All three explorers have a passion for the outdoors and sharing their stories to encourage others to get out and play!