Another year come and gone… and what a great year it has been! From Connecticut to Hawaii, from Baja to the Himalayas, we have been blessed with some amazing journeys! The entire team here at Trails of Freedom is extremely thankful and excited for all the photos, videos, stories, and support that have been shared with us in 2011, and we encourage you to keep sending more! Below is a quick look back at some of this year’s top moments for Trails of Freedom – perhaps you will remember them as well. Browse through the highlights of 2011, and be sure to take a look at what’s to come in 2012!
2011 began for us in New Haven, CT, where we once again joined other brave souls for the Polar Plunge for Parks. We are convinced that even though running into the ocean from a snow-covered beach may seem crazy, there really is no better way to start the year. Revisit this year’s Polar Plunge by watching our video here.
As the winter season continued, Connecticut was hammered with storm after storm, dropping some of the most snow that the state has ever seen! Stepping up our cold-weather survival skills, Trails of Freedom constructed an igloo using the time-tested style of the Inuits. You can check out our team’s igloo masterpiece here with a time-lapse video of our efforts.
As we slowly transitioned into the spring season, Trails of Freedom released our first ever feature-film documentary on the Mianus River Gorge Preserve in Bedford, NY, which can be seen here. We would again like to thank the Mianus staff for taking the time to meet and interview with us so we could together showcase this beautiful preserve.
Trails of Freedom certainly covered quite a bit of ground this year as well. We enjoyed receiving updates from John while he was in Nepal, and his photo album from the Annapurna Trek is definitely worth revisiting. Avi also did quite a bit of traveling, recounting his fantastic stories from his epic surf trip to Baja. Read through his narrative here, which is presented in three parts.
While ToF President Leigh Anne Crocco traveled to Georgia to receive her Wilderness First Responder (WFR) certification, VP Jordan Coleman participated in his second Tough Mudder event, this time held at Mount Snow in VT. Both Leigh Anne and Jordan returned to CT to work the Trails of Freedom booth at the 2011 Urban Oaks Green Faire in New Britain, Connecticut. This was a great community-building event and we are so glad we could be a part of it! The busy month continued with the launch of our “Take a Hike” series, where we led nature hikes at three different locations in Coventry, in cooperation with the school system and Coventry Parks and Recreation. Thanks to all those who could join us for this educational series – we hope you enjoyed it!
This summer we sponsored our first ever Summer Photo Contest, and participants sent in their photos from all across the country! Be sure to check out the 2011 Winner’s Gallery. Trails of Freedom also greatly supported the fight to save the Long Wharf Nature Preserve in New Haven, CT, which thankfully ended in victory!
Trails of Freedom was proud to officially launch the Connecticut Hike Database this past July, Each listed hike includes quick facts, a brief overview, ToF photos and videos, trail maps and more! We are excited for this to be a helpful guide for our visitors, and it is still growing!
Making the move back to Hawai’i, ToF President Leigh Anne Crocco rejoined the staff members on the island of O’ahu. The first guided hike that she led upon her return was to the top of Makapu’u Point for sunrise, one of her favorites. Check out the beautiful photos from this amazing group hike here.
Continuing to lead more group hikes on the island, Leigh Anne guided a group of fifteen up the Three Peaks of Olomana, one of O’ahu’s most challenging hikes. Hikers climbed their way along the narrow trail, pulling themselves up the peaks by a series of ropes hanging off of the rock faces. The epic photos from this trip do not even begin to do the trail justice, but they are definitely worth the look. In late September, Trails of Freedom also released our first multi-seasonal video on the Cathedral Pines Preserve in Cornwall, Connecticut. Incorporating footage that was filmed throughout the year, we were able to capture the towering white pine forest in all its glory. Be sure not to miss this second look at Cathedral Pines, the largest old-growth forest in the state.
Here at Trails, we encourage others to share their travel stories with us, as it is our love of adventure that binds us all. We were fortunate enough to receive photos from contributor Ingrid Crocco, who captured the majestic beauty of the Himalayas from the window of her mountain plane tour in Nepal. Thank you for sharing, Ingrid!
We firmly believe that getting in touch with the environment is not only about knowing your surroundings, but it is also about knowing the history and culture of a place. In November, we visited Pele’s Chair on the Ka’iwi Coast of O’ahu, an ancient site in Hawaiian mythology. Click here to learn more about this beautiful landmark.
As 2011 comes to a close, Trails of Freedom is busy preparing what is sure to be an amazing 2012. This December, the Hawai’i staff began working on a time-lapse project from the top of Tantalus, one of the most beautiful overlooks on the island. We are excited to complete this project in January, so stay tuned!
And coming in 2012…
Get ready for some serious breakthroughs for ToF in the coming year. Upon the completion of our Tantalus time-lapse project in January, founders Leigh Anne Crocco and Avi Duckor-Jones will embark on a three-week journey across the island of Kaua’i. The footage and stories from this trek are sure to be epic, and you will not want to miss the documentary from this trip. The Hawai’i team will also be releasing the O’ahu Hike Database, which is very similar to Trails of Freedom’s existing CT Hike Database, but will provide information for the hikes all over the island. Look for more nature preserve documentaries in the coming year, as well as a full schedule of group hikes in both Hawai’i and Connecticut. And watch our Someday Starts Now campaign reach a whole new level, as we hear from our viewers on how this philosophy has changed their lives.
On behalf of all of us here at Trails of Freedom, thank you for your continued support throughout the year. We wish you all a wonderful New Year, and we look forward another year of amazing adventures with you.
Until then, Happy New Year!