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Interview with Aaron Wolf, Founder of Adventures Accessed

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Meet Aaron Wolf, a business owner and one of Lewis N. Clark's brand ambassadors. Aaron is someone who took his love of nature and transformed it into a business. As Owner and Lead Guide at Adventures Accessed, he regularly goes backpacking, rafting, camping, and more. We sat down with him to learn a little bit about how he got his start.

How did you fall in love with the outdoors?

I think everyone has a love for the outdoors, some are just a bit more aware and respond differently. Humans are animals and we used to have that connection to the earth when we had to survive off of the resources around us. When I'm outdoors I like to think I'm just another animal in the forest, getting by and living. Now people are foreigners in the very place we come from.

I always enjoyed spending time outside as a child and was often bored toiling about indoors. I've always been real curious about nature and would wonder what was in the forest or in the lakes and ponds we drove by.

I remember going through a phase when we'd drive past a body of water and I'd ask my father how deep he thought it was - I had this wild imagination that some of those lakes had to be insanely deep and held ridiculous secrets from the past or enormous fish. I'm just curious and enamored by the breadth of life that surrounds us.

Why did you start Adventures Accessed?

I didn't like working in downtown Chicago and simply wanted to be outside away from noise and filth. I knew I wanted to run around the woods all day every day but most of the time a few issues stood in my way. Those were: No one else had gear to join me and I had no way to leave the city. So I took those issues and purchased a ton of gear, a 12 passenger van, got outfitter and guide permits and am trying to eliminate the stigma that there is nothing to see in the Midwest.

There's a ton to see out here but no one knows about it because there aren't sky-scraping peaks or anything of that sort. There's thousands of acres of forest, some old-growth even, hundreds of rivers and lakes, etc. You just have to be informed.

I started Adventures Accessed to help Chicagoans get out of the city and connect with the outdoors. One of my goals is to help people see what I see when spending time in nature.

What kind of trips do you take?

I've done everything from single night outings that feature meteor shower watching to multi-day backpacking through a national forest. I've led day trips that vary from whitewater rafting and sustainable farm tours to horseback riding and brewery tours. Anything that gets people outdoors, being active and actually connecting and learning.

Why is the Midwest great?

We live in a naturally historic area that has been pulverized by an incredible natural force. There's prairie and savanna, hardwood forests, rivers lakes and waterfalls. The Midwest reaches the foothills of the expansive Appalachians but no one knows that. I guide in such an area.

I also guide in a forest system that spans acres in the hundreds of thousands with more trails and lakes to see in a decade but no one knows that either. Bears, eagles, otters, fruit and herbs are abundant in areas of the Midwest but no one really thinks to look here for them.

I always find wildlife and edibles because the Midwest is the land of plenty.

Find more of Aaron's writing at Adventures Accessed!

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