Learning to understand the Wild, Experiencing the World deliberately and hoping to inspire and be inspired by the human spirit.
You’ll like this blog if…
- You love and respect the Wild and the natural world.
- You think “personal growth” has very little to do with “growing up”.
- You’ve never described yourself as a spectator on life.
- You want to see what your body and mind are capable of.
- You don’t accept that genes or upbringing or culture can dictate who you become in this life.
- The term “comfort zone” makes you yawn.
- You know that listening is ok, knowing is good, but doing is where the magic happens.
- You love to Explore and Dream about pushing your limits.
Who are you guys?
We are Leigh & Spring McClurg.
We’re storytellers, outdoorsy nuts, photographers, happy campers, wanderers and sometimes adrenalin seekers. We believe in moving softly across the Earth with a respect for our wild places and their future protection. We’re driven by curiosity and personal growth. We feel all warm and fuzzy when we stand on top of a new Mountain summit with friends.
We’re introverts at heart but we will talk all night about our favorite trails, the scariest summits we’ve reached, or our future goals. We don’t see time in Months on a Calendar but rather the changing of Seasons.
We’d rather eat frozen sandwiches on top of a windy Winter Mountain than dine in a fancy downtown restaurant. We’d rather sleep under a tarp by an Alpine lake than rest our heads in a snazzy 5 star Hotel.
Born and raised in Ireland, Leigh loved the patchwork quilt of green farmland and medieval stone Castles of his home but always dreamed, from a young age, of snowcapped mountains, hidden log cabins with crackling wood hearths, encounters with Grizzlies and other wildlife. He followed a path paved by others though, into his late 20’s, getting a Bachelors Degree and working in Offices. The economic recession of 2008 hit Ireland hard but was a blessing in disguise, it gave Leigh the motivation, along with his wife Spring, to finally start the lives they had been dreaming about. Two years later, in 2010, he moved to Canada and felt air enter his lungs for the first time. He started to live!
Raised in the foothills of the Rockies in Alberta, Canada, Spring always thought the mountains were nice to look at but never once thought about climbing them. She didn’t grow up in an outdoorsy family, except for the odd small lake hike or short runs on the local trails around her house. She moved to Dublin, Ireland in 2004 and started a comfortable life in the city, with a good job and plenty of disposable income; but something was missing. In 2009 she got the desire to start long distance running, although at the time she couldn’t run a full minute without gasping for breath. A few road races and one year later she was on a plane with Leigh to the West Coast of Canada to start a new adventure. She hasn’t looked back since and life is now about trying to push past mental and physical barriers to see what is really possible.
What’s your story?
In 2010 our lives had come to a standstill. We were living in Ireland, Leighs home country. Everything was comfortable. Our jobs paid well, our apartment was scenic. Leigh had been steadily gaining weight, up to about 300lbs, from little to no activity. Spring’s energy was at an all time low from such a sedentary lifestyle and had gained weight herself. There was an itch that couldn’t be scratched, we felt the need to move! We sold everything save for a few suitcases of clothes and immigrated to the Wild West Coast of British Columbia with little to no knowledge of what we’d do when we arrived, we just knew that we’d rather a life lived deliberately than one merely lived comfortably.
Since arriving in Canada in the Spring of 2010 we’ve had a lot of firsts and feel we’ve grown a lot. First time learning the words gaiter or crampon. First time backpacking and camping overnight. First time putting on a variety of different shoes and boots (mountaineering, rock, snow, ski, trailrunning). First summit hiked to. First rock route climbed on lead. First time riding a berm on a Mountain Bike. First backcountry Ski trip. First waterfall climbed, when frozen, and rappelled, when not.
The community of people who love the outdoors in BC is amazing, like the members of hiking and mountaineering groups who took us under their wings to show us how to be better in the Wilderness. We’ve taken courses to better understand Avalanche conditions and terrain, how to set up technical systems for rock, alpine and ice climbing and how to properly Ski as a beginner.
We didn’t move to Canada for the Mountains but we know now that we’d never leave here because of them. The urge to visit high places can’t easily be explained, but we were bitten with it regardless. We started with the simple wish to start moving and the outdoors affords us this, in many different ways. As one quote says:
“Mountains… have so much to give and give it so lavishly to those who will wrestle with them”.
We’ve been moved, both literally and figuratively, by our past three years in Canada and we want to share our journey with you, both the lessons that were learnt easily, and those that took time and real effort. We hope that through our stories you can find something to draw inspiration from in your own life.
What is a “pebbleshoo” exactly?
Have you ever had a pebble in your shoe? Sure you have. How difficult is it to focus on the grand spectacle of life when you have a minute little stone between your toes? How crazy is it that such a small little thing can consume all of our attention?
When out on a hike in the wild one day, one of us felt a pebble in our boot and could feel it underfoot. What we realized was that how you choose to react to it can send ripples across how you perceive everything in life.
Those pebbles are like all the little trials in life that trip us up. They’re all those little doubts we have, those times we feel scared about change, worried about if we’re good enough. When we think our ship has sailed or when we’re running out of steam to reach our goals. In an instant those little pebbles can consume our attention and take our gaze away from the bigger picture.
We stopped, took off our boot, let the pebble roll out and said “pebble… shoo!”. After that we became aware again of the grand vista surrounding us that we had been distracted from.
It’s a philosophy that we’ve applied to every aspect of our lives. There will always be little pebbles in life, but they’re just part of the journey, learn from them, accept them and when you’re ready, tell them to “shoo!” and refocus your attention on the goal ahead.
Why we’re different:
When we moved to Canada our motivation was to start exploring and learning quickly. We wanted to read the stories of others out there doing the same. What we found was a lot of blogs about people traveling the world visiting places. While we enjoy reading about their trips we’re not globetrotters. We wanted to learn how we could move into a new environment and learn all the abilities that the locals have to enjoy their time there.
We weren’t born doing any thing you will read about on this blog. Our parents weren’t Outdoorsy, we weren’t on any sports teams in school. We don’t come from a lineage of Athletes.
All too often, when you see people doing exceptional things in exceptional places they tend to come from a long line of others that paved the way for them or they were born learning the skills they would put into practice as they became adults. It can make you imagine that this is a necessary element to doing likewise, that to be exceptional and to do what the majority won’t, that you need to have been raised in that environment.
Well we’re here to turn that notion on its head. Whether you’re 15 or 50 you can start learning today how to be exceptional. The only qualifications you need is motivation and a willingness to love being a beginner again. Summon that unabashed curiosity you once had as a child when everything was new in the world.
In our blog we’ll show you our journey of learning new skills, trying to master them and exploring the Wild places that surround us. We will document our struggles, our successes, what inspires us and the preparation we do to achieve our goals (e.g. training, nutrition, equipment… etc). Hopefully this will inspire you also on your own path.
We are NOT a travel blog, there are plenty of those already. While we enjoy traveling, we’re more about collecting life skills then stamps in our passports. We believe richness is not just experiencing an activity, but mastering it. We don’t merely want to be guided up a mountain for example, we want to understand how we can do so ourselves. We want to learn the skills necessary, and then tell you how you can also.
We love the Wild and specifically, we love exploring the Mountains of our current home in British Columbia, Canada. Here are some of the skills and activities that we love that you will read about in our blog:
Tourism British Columbia: Instagrammer of the week: @pebbleshoo
Arc’teryx: Meet Leigh and Spring
Now that you know a little bit more about us, how about reading some of our stories, click on the “Start Here” link to find some of our popular ones and our own personal favorites:
Feel free to send us a message with questions or comments:
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We look forward to reading your thoughts and comments on our stories.