His Gorge(ous) Life

Sean kiteboarding in the Columbia Gorge Photo Christin Couvreux
Sean kiteboarding in the Columbia Gorge Photo Christin Couvreux

My son, Sean, has found his peace and piece—of paradise—in a tucked away valley of the great Northwest. He thrives in the great outdoors and it is, literally, right at his front doorstep. All he has to do is step outside.

With a majestic view of Oregon's Mount Hood that fills his living room, Sean calls the Columbia Gorge home. Surrounded by the Cascades; the desert plateaus of The Dalles to his east; the windswept Columbia River that ribbons through a lush dramatically-hewn ravine below his perch—a swath of blue highlighter marking the border between the states of Washington and Oregon; insanely picturesque waterfalls that punch through the Gorge walls and pour over cliffs; and the whole tableau punctuated by Mount Adams to the north; Mount St. Helens, Mount Rainier, and the cities of Portland and Seattle to his distant west, Sean has found his haven and made his nest.

Unlike his brother, who would be happy to be a hermit, Sean is a very social person. He loves people, events, groups, and conversation. Sean nevertheless is like his brother in that he needs the outdoors, he needs adventure, and he needed to incorporate this into a regular, ongoing part of his life. Living in the Gorge, he has found ways to weave in doses of the outdoors into his daily regimen.

From his Tuesday night extreme mountain bike rides to kite boarding, kayaking, skiing, sailing, white water rafting, swimming, paddle boarding, hiking, and camping, Sean and his family do it all. Winter, summer, spring, and fall, there is a season for something, and they attack it all with gusto.

Granted, given his career as a professional sailor, he has no lack of daily contact with the outdoors, open doors to adventure, and constant traveling. But when he is home between trips, he is no couch potato. I can't help but think that his foundation of his 10 years' childhood life on Cowabunga must have helped mold him to this mindset. Living on our sailboat, Cowabunga, Sean was always surrounded by water, and the big outdoors was never far.

Sean's wife, Christin, is a well-accomplished sailor in her own right. That's how they met, competing at a regatta in their own class of boat. That Sean's DNA, influenced by the spirit of Cowabunga, incorporates his childhood into his adult persona was a given. That he found a soulmate and together they found their peace and piece of suitable outdoor living is not only a bonus but a natural part of the puzzle that fell into place. It couldn't have been otherwise.

As Sean builds his life with Christin and their two children, the spirit of discovery and adventure of Cowabunga is with them. And although Sean is always on the move, traveling for his work as a sailor, he comes back to his own safe harbor, forging new adventures in his Gorge(ous) life.