Bob Doucette: ambassador for the wonderful outdoors

READ OUR interview with Bob Doucette who runs, hikes, backpacks, climbs, skis and does whatever else he can outdoors.




ARE YOU inspired by the outdoors? Want to get away and experience a new place, a different culture or throw yourself into an adventure?


Bob Doucette is passionate about doing all of those things and his enthusiasm to see others connect with the outdoors is accentuated through his website Pro Active Outside which, through words, encourages others to get active and explore the limitless possibilities nature has to offer.


Where did you grow up and what influences around you encouraged you to be active and get involved in outdoor pursuits?


I grew up in the Denver area, but moved to Oklahoma when I started high school. Growing up in Colorado gave me a deep love of the mountains and nature. My parents had a small cabin in a town called Bailey where we went often, and my brother-in-law and I used to fish for trout around Eagle and Buena Vista. My oldest brother Mike also got into the act. Those early trips into the mountains, the hikes to get to the good fishing spots, and just seeing these huge mountains really stuck with me. I may live in the Southern Plains, but my heart will always be in the mountains. I owe a lot of that to family influences.


What activities are you mostly involved in and how much time do you have to get out and enjoy them?


In terms of an outdoor life, a lot of what I do outside my job is interconnected. I run a lot – on the streets and on trails – and I do a lot of strength training, and I do it in a way that they complement each other. In turn, I try to design these activities to help me be stronger when I’m out on a hike, and ultimately, when I’m hiking or climbing a mountain.


On a day-to-day basis, I try to get outside every day, whether it’s a run or a hike. That might be a short two-mile run outside my doorstep or a three-hour run on my local trails. Either way, I believe it’s key to get moving, and as often as possible, do it outside.




What places have outdoor adventure taken you to and what and where have been some of the highlights?


Great question. A whole lot of wonderful places. I’ve been all over the Rockies – Colorado, Wyoming, New Mexico and Montana. Some really beautiful places in my home state – the Kiamichi Mountains, the Wichita Mountains and Black Mesa in Oklahoma. Overseas, snorkelling in Mexico and Belize, hiking in Huang Shan in China and checking out a massive cavern in Krabi, Thailand.


As far as highlights go, the summit view from Colorado’s Mount Sneffels/Yankee Boy Basin is tough to beat. So dramatic. Same could be said of Chicago Basin, also in Colorado. Wetterhorn Peak maybe the most beautiful mountain I’ve ever climbed. The perfect silence and wide open views atop Black Mesa really stick out. And as far as the tropics, I’m not sure there is a more beautiful place on earth than southern Thailand. Hard to choose one!


Could you give us a bit of information about www.proactiveoutside.wordpress.com and how did the site begin?


I used to do an outdoors blog at a former employer, and when I left that job, I realised how much I missed writing about that topic and interacting with readers. So when I took a new job and moved to a new city, I thought about what I would like a blog to be. I wanted to write about the outdoors, about fitness, and do it in a way that encouraged people to get outside and moving. I also wanted to give myself some room for storytelling and become a resource for readers, whether that be fitness tips or trip reports from my favourite places. That was a little over three years ago. Since then, I’ve had so many great interactions with people. As a writer, I think this is the best personal project I’ve ever done. It’s never been a burden.




What advice would you give to someone who wants to get out and explore more of the world and its beauty?


What I tell people is the fitter you are, the bigger your world gets. Pick a goal. Big or small. Learn what it takes to accomplish it, make a plan and then just do it. Whether it’s a marathon or a 5K, a local backpacking trek or climbing a mountain – the process is where you grow so much, and the eventual accomplishment is a foundation for even bigger things. Surround yourself with people who can help you get there, but also realize that getting it done rests on you. But chances are, you’re way stronger than you think!


In terms of travel, don’t be afraid of ‘different’ and remember that anywhere in the world, people are basically the same – they love their families, they’re curious about others, they are more than willing to be kind and generous. Try to learn some of the local language and be courageous when it comes to trying local cuisines. You’ll be pleasantly surprised!


Do you have any exciting plans for the coming year?


Busy year. But my hope is to return to Chicago Basin to knock off a couple more peaks there, and maybe join some friends on some tougher mountains this spring and summer. Additionally, I’d like to get out and explore North West Arkansas, get back to the Wichitas and step up my trail running game.

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