My Adventures Outdoors


I’ve loved being outdoors from my earliest years. Some of my first memories are hiking the California Coast Range with my father. He also introduced me to Scouting, where my love of outdoor adventure grew. When I was 14, I travelled to Philmont Scout Ranch for two weeks of backpacking in the remote Sangre de Cristo Mountains of northern New Mexico. I’ll never forget the clear mountain streams and rocky, windswept summits. Soon I was trekking the Appalachian Trail back East with friends. And, not long after, I discovered rock climbing at Carderock, Maryland.


Darrow Climbing

As a future engineer, I was fascinated by the gear: ropes, carabiners, pitons, bolts, chocks, cams, and more. But soon I fell in love with the vertical dance: being on rock in high and beautiful places. I married a climber, and she has been my regular companion on numerous adventures for more than 25 years. Now my son leads the hardest routes. I’ve climbed extensively in the eastern and western U.S., including multi-day routes on the face of El Capitan in Yosemite Valley. I’ve done first ascents in the Shawangunks of New York, and around Chattanooga, Tennessee. But my highest honor is to be friends and partners with some of the great climbers of my generation, and to have a first-hand appreciation for their accomplishments.

Mountain Biking

Darrow Mountain Biking

My son introduced me to mountain biking, and it quickly became my second outdoor passion. There is no feeling like riding to a beautiful summit, then swooping down through aspens on serpentine single track. Or setting off down an abandoned mining road in canyon country, self-contained, prepared to spend a day exploring the backcountry under your own power. Compared to climbing, I’m a neophyte mountain biker: you’ll find me at the back of the pack, walking my bike around obstacles. But I’ve spent many happy days in places like Moab, Fruita, Crested Butte, and Pisgah — and I still go riding every chance I can get!


My outdoor adventures relate to my interest and passion for saving, investing, and personal finance on many levels:

  • Sufficiency: you learn to be prepared, live simply, and take care of yourself when you’re hours or days away from civilization.
  • Freedom: having everything you need to survive and thrive in your own pack, you are free to chart your own course, without the pressure of another’s agenda.
  • Prudence: technical rock climbs are particularly unforgiving of arrogance and errors in judgment — you learn humility, and the need for a margin of safety.
  • Conservation: saving provides the wealth you need to enjoy life on your own terms, and caring well for the earth ensures it will be here for our descendents to enjoy.

*Note: photography courtesy of Caroline Kirkpatrick, Alex Kirkpatrick, and friends.