Allow me to introduce myself; my name is Chad Swope, pre SOKO I was known as the “Chad of all trades” teaching environmental education at the University of Iowa for the Wildlife Camps and School of the Wild programs. I’m a husband, father to three wild boys, track and cross country coach and someone who likes to adventure! I’ve been fortunate to be able to do a fair amount of adventuring in my lifetime and am excited for this new one with SOKO Outfitters and sharing my experience and knowledge with you! I’ve climbed over 200 mountains, have worked in Glacier National Park, completed the Outdoor Educators course through NOLS as well as there Wilderness First Responder. Adventured on every continent except Antarctica.
Top 5 favorite things I’ve done:
- 30 day African Safari
- Scuba diving in the Great Barrier Reef
- Any time spent in Glacier National Park
- Epic adventure climbing Mercedario in Argentina
- Standing on the summit of any mountain!
SOKO has brought me on to coordinate adventures and events for them, they always wanted SOKO to be more than just a store but an opportunity for those seeking adventure and maybe needing help getting there. My goal is to arrange 1 international trip and 4 domestic trips a year as well as 1-3 local events a month.
Here is a taste of 4 of the big trips I’m working on for next year, all these domestic trips will be 5-6 days including travel.
First off, is a very unique opportunity!
Redwood Tree Climbing Adventure
One of my favorite activities I got to lead for wildlife camp was recreational tree climbing. I was fortunate enough to be trained by one of the world’s most sought-after tree climbing experts Tim Kovar. Once a year, Tim takes small groups up an old-growth redwood tree in Los Gatos CA. It’s nearly impossible to legally scale any of the old-growth redwoods in national or state parks, but this redwood known as Grandfather is on private property. The owners of which sought out Kovar to bring adventurers and scientists up the big redwoods. Fewer people have scaled an old growth Redwood than have summited Mt. Everest – now it’s your turn!
Tim has secured us 8 spots for a day of climbing 250ft into the over 800 year old Grandfather!! Along with tree climbing, thought we’d hike through some of the other old growth redwoods in the area to Berry Creek Falls and some kayaking in Monterey Bay and Elkhorn Slough. This trip will head out the last week of March or first week in April!
Utah Glamping Adventure
Another one of my favorite places to explore in the spring before it gets too hot is southern Utah! For the last 12 years I’ve led backpacking trips for the University of Iowa to that area for spring break and am excited to show you some of the best parts! This trip won’t be so rugged as Aimee from Destinations Unlimited is helping me put together a “Glamping” package that will get us out adventuring during the day and camping in styld each night! Day hikes through Zion and Bryce National Parks as well as surrounding areas. Early May is when we’ll be Glamping in Utah!
Backpacking Glacier Peak Wilderness Area
When I took my Outdoor Educators training through NOLS it involved a 20-day backpacking trip through the Glacier Peak Wilderness Area and definitely one of my favorites! This trip starts out with a 2-hour boat ride up Lake Chelan where we get dropped off at the little town of Stehekin (that’s the only way you can get to this town!). From there we’ll take off on a 4-day backpacking journey through some of the most beautiful mountain valleys I’ve been through! Great time of year for this trip is going to be early August.
Baja Sea Kayaking
Last big trip of the year will be Sea Kayaking in Baja Mexico. What better way to end the year paddling up the coast and camping on the beach along Mexico’s 775-mile long Baja Peninsula! Best time of year to do this trip is October- December.
These are just the big trips we’re planning! I plan on exploring around here as well, whether we paddle down some of the great waterways like the Upper Iowa, backpacking in the Yellow River State Forrest, even building snow quin-zhees and winter camping!!!