Friday, August 26, 2016

An Eye Candy Of A Hike

I hiked those mountains....I actually hiked the entire ridge line behind me!!!  It was a long hike up and down, but it was absolutely beautiful and challenging all at the same time. I love being out there...carrying everything I need on my back, filtering my water, making my food by fire, sleeping in my hammock underneath the beautiful sky, spending time in God's amazing creation, and hanging out with some of the most positive and encouraging people I have ever met. 

It's an experience unlike any other, an experience I hope everyone gets to have at least once in their lifetime. I'm ready to go back...but it will have to least until November when we head to Arizona to hike part of the Grand Canyon called Havasu Canyon and hike 10 miles to Havasu and Mooney Falls...(100-200ft falls) to sleep along side a teal blue River and explore the incredible sites and enjoy the remote area called Supai. 

It honestly is a feast for the eyes...giant red rocks, teal blue waters, breath taking waterfalls, and enormous canyon walls.  

I'm getting excited just talking about it...the amazing part is GTD has reserved a limited number of spaces to take others with us so they too can experience this majestic place (they only allow so many reservations a year and we were blessed to get them). 

If this sounds like something you'd like to do, send us a message.  We provide all the gear, we will help you prepare, and we will even provide you all the encouragement you need along the way!  

Don't miss out!  For more info click on the Havasu Falls link to the left of this page. 


This is a candid picture I captured at the end of our last event. This picture says it all. They didn't want the trip to end. They didn't want to say goodbye. Teenagers praying for each other. Teenagers embracing each other, embracing God, embracing a better way of life. A life with FULLY HEIGHTENED JOY because that joy was not being detracted by the baggage and consequences that naturally results from disfunctional life choices (many of which choices are constantly reinforced in our culture as the "norm" such as sex outside of marriage, getting drunk, getting high, getting wasted, being lazy, avoiding hard work, playing hours of video games, complaining, cursing, being negative, putting others down, peer pressure to conform to shallow standards or mediocrity, and the list goes on). It was just 7 days before when 23 people met-up to embark on a Christ-centered backpacking adventure. Most of them were teenagers. Almost all of them were complete strangers from different parts of the US. In less than 24 hours we had already become a tight family. Over the course of 7 days we had a blast! But it wasn't like what many people today refer to as "fun". It was pure. No obscene language. No course joking. No disrespecting of adults or leaders or even fellow peers. No cliques. No one left out. No hangovers. No "coming down". No impatience. No complaining. No arguing. No drama. No STD's. Not even a hint of negativity. Many people would read that and think, "Wow, it must have been real boring!". Au contraire, mon frère. It was anything but boring. In so many ways it was so much like the way life was inteded to be. Every fiber of my being agreed with what was occuring. It was not just right, it was SO right. And it left no bitter aftertaste, no ill side effects, no regrets, no bad conscience, no disappointment, no feelings of missing out. In the words of Goldilocks, it was "just right." It was such a beatiful thing! It was a God thing. I'm so blessed to be a part of a ministry that sees this kind of result trip-after-trip (to God's glory!). I'm so blessed to meet so many high caliber people who are striving for more in this life than personal happiness. It's an incredible thing to see. I want to thank Tom & Jen Henriksen and Landry Academy for the wonderful opportunity to work with your students. I also want to thank the many supporters of GTD who support, encourage, and pray for this ministry. God uses you to enable these life changing events to happen! From the bottom of our hearts, thank you so much!

Sunday, August 21, 2016


We made it back home safe & sound a couple of hours ago (Praise the Lord!). We ended up stopping at a rest stop outside of Lake City, FL for a few hours of front seat "sleep" before finishing the trek this morning. The truck and trailer did great! Now it's onto unloading and cleaning up the gear in the truck and trailer. Giddy up!

Saturday, August 20, 2016


Roadside stretch! The 2 longest days of the year for me is the day I drive the trailer up to the mountains and the day I drive the trailer back home. Today is the drive back home. Keep us in your prayers as we travel southbound. Yip! Yip!


We've finished cleaning, sorting, and restocking GTD's rock climbing, rappelling, and backpacking gear. PJ!! GTD owns enough high quality gear to outfit 30 climbers and 20 backpackers. We cache the gear in a God-awesome location in north GA where we are within 2 hours of 5 different airports and centralized to tons of hiking and climbing spots. All of this gear is used to introduce people to outdoor activities in God's creation along with the greatest adventure of all - following Jesus!

Friday, August 19, 2016


We spent the day at the laundromat washing & drying 25 sleeping bags plus several loads of food bags, compression sacs, pillows, towels, clothes, etc, etc. We spent about $125 in quarters... that's a lot of quarters - LOL! Well, they say, "Cleanliness is next to godliness." ;)


Yesterday we started our end of the summer clean-up. Outdoor adventuring can be messy business. To keep our gear and equipment in great shape and to extend its lifespan to maximum length we have to work hard to maintain it. In years past we didn't have time to stay on top of our equipment like we wanted to as we would rush from event to event with a skeleton crew of workers. Over the past year we've been striving to do a better job with the equipment we've been entrusted with (taking into consideration our small staff along with limited time and resources). We have to be back to FL on Aug 20th so we are scurrying to "get 'er done!" :)

Saturday, August 13, 2016


They came, they hiked, they conquered!! 23 backpackers from all over the United States came as part of Landry Academy's annual Appalachian Trail Backpacking Trip in Hampton, TN. All 23 participants literally poured their sweat, blood, and tears into conquering this challenging ridge hike. And they did it!! We've had a lot of GREAT groups over the past 20 years, but this was one of the BEST! I wish everyone could meet and spend quality time with this group of teenagers and their parents. Their depth of character, love for Jesus, positive attitudes, and zest for adventure is 2nd to none! We quickly became more than a group of individuals, we became a family. Sometimes it's hard to say goodbye to such wonderful people. This is one of those times. I'd go anywhere with this group of incredible people. We are so proud of them and their accomplishment! Tonight we eat, celebrate, and hopefully have a well earned deep sleep. Glory to God!


We are on our last leg of our AT hike. Today we will cover 7.3 miles in order to complete our 4 day 22 mile backpacking quest! Love this awesome group of people!! PJ! (Praise Jesus!)

Friday, August 12, 2016


Downed trees (also known as "blow downs") was the name of the game today. We hurdled, crawled under, squeezed between, scrambled over, and traversed around 30+ downed trees during our hike today. It added about 2 hours and a lot more sweat onto our quest today, but we made it to our camping spot for the night. Everyone kept positive Christ driven "can-do" attitudes throughout our hiking obstacle course. We love this group and their depth of character! We are overcoming each challenge and soaking up this adventure!


We are taking on another physical day on the Appalachian Trail! Bring it on!

Thursday, August 11, 2016


We are having a BLAST hiking a 22 mile section of the Appalachian Trail!! (Landry Academy AT Backpacking Trip 2016)


This is more than just a backpacking trip. It's a God-awesome backpacking trip that is focused on seeking Him first! We start each morning with daily devotions from the Bible. This morning we focused on Philippines 2. There is no better way to start each day than feasting on God's Word! (Landry Academy 2016 AT Backpacking Trip.) =)


One of the precautions we have to take while backpacking is hanging all of our food outside of our campsite area so that we don't attract unwanted midnight visits from wildlife such as bears. All food should be hung well away from camp (usually in a tree) at least 10' off the ground and at least 5' laterally away from the tree. It was quite the adventure and a great source of laughter as we hung 250 lbs of food last night!! I love how much fun this group is even when it comes to doing our nightly "chores". Can't wait for today's adventures!!

Wednesday, August 10, 2016


We kicked off our 22 mile backpacking trip on the Appalachian Trail today with 21 fantastic students, teachers, and family members from Landry Academy. We split into a few groups before hitting the trail. 4 days of hiking in God's amazing creation is already off to a great start!


Jen & Tom Henriksen along with Laurie Finger did a fantastic job teaching, preparing and equipping the Landry Academy crew for our upcoming AT backpacking trip that starts later today!

Tuesday, August 9, 2016


Yesterday we kicked off our 2nd Annual Appalachian Trail Backpacking Trip with Landry Academy. The first 2 days consist of trip prep including teaching workshops, distribution of gear, and a whole lot of fun - especially this 60' tree climb with a breathtaking view of our base camp!! Tomorrow afternoon we start our 4 day 22 mile trek on the AT. This is one of the most amazing groups we've ever worked with... we already feel like a big family!! Can't wait to start this hike! Praise God =)

Sunday, August 7, 2016


Our goal was to pack up all of our backpacking gear yesterday in 4 hours for our next event. We did it in 12 hours! Classic overachievers. LOL!

Full day of final prep today. Then trekking towards Hampton, TN!

Friday, August 5, 2016

Hiya Hiawassee!

We have arrived to our Gear Cache location in Hiawassee, GA. We've set up our camping hammocks on the beatiful shores of Lake Chatuge. Tonight and tomorrow we will be packing up all the gear for our A.T. backpacking trip with Landry Academy. Everything kicks off Monday! Can't wait!

Last Flight of the Summer

We barely made it in time to board our flight for our last event of the summer. I was able to get an hour of sleep last night... at least it's progress!

Thursday, August 4, 2016


We are excited about how God has been developing our GTD WEST DestiNATION Trips! There is so much raw rare beauty and thrilling adventures located in the western United States and GTD is honored to take you there! Check out these 3 amazing adventures scheduled for this fall. Our UTAH Trip is sold out, but we have some spots available for our Grand Canyon (North Rim) Adventure and our Havasu Falls Backpacking Trip. Click on the links below for all the details! Hope to see you on one of these Christ-centered God-awesome adventures!!



Wednesday, August 3, 2016


One. of. the. BEST. PHOTO. BOMBS. EVER!!


SLAMMED Pics Uploaded

Nearly 3000 pictures, videos, and GIF files from our 21st Annual SLAMMED Adventure Trip in TN have been uploaded to our online photo album! 

Click here to see all the God-awesome Christ-centered fun we embarked on!


Tuesday, August 2, 2016


"You can choose courage or you can choose comfort, but you cannot choose both." 

This past week these ladies chose courage, and for me it was a privilege and enjoyment to be a part of their rock climbing experience!  I loved seeing their courage take them outside their comfort zones and push them to new heights. It was a real difficult climb and you did it!  I'm so proud of you girls!  You totally went for it!!! -Laurie

Monday, August 1, 2016


"For God has not given us a spirit of fear..." - 2 Timothy 1:7a

Pastor Rob Beswerherick and several others take on Top Gun's 40' cliff jump!!




ANSWER: Absolutely, on a GTD trip!!

Bridge Jumping - SLAMMED 2016