Young adults across Utah Valley are making friends and challenging themselves thanks to a new online outdoor adventure group.
After visiting 41 of the 50 states and traveling more than 35,000 miles in the year of 2013 alone, William Taylor decided he wanted to focus on doing outdoor activities closer to home with friends. Taylor, 27, from Provo, started Adventures With Will (AWW) in September 2013.
“I wanted other people to come and enjoy the beauty that is all around them,” Taylor said.
The AWW Facebook group serves as a virtual gathering place for more than 200 members. Typical events include hikes, rock climbing trips, canoeing, weekend visits to national and state parks and occasional backpacking trips. Land-based activities are currently the main focus of AWW, but Taylor says other sports like wakeboarding and waterskiing will be offered in the future.
“The main activity in Adventures With Will is currently hiking. We do a lot of (it locally),” Taylor said.
While some AWW activities occur in other nearby states like Arizona or Nevada, most AWW events take place within three to five hours of the Provo/Orem area.
“The theme for 2014 has been ‘My Own Backyard,’ and I have definitely lived up to that theme this year,” Taylor said.
Jeralyn Cook, 27, from Pleasant Grove, has actively participated in AWW hikes and get-togethers since the beginning of summer 2014.
“I love the adventures and fun, friendly company,” Cook said. “Even if you don’t know anyone you still feel (like you’re) part of the group even on your first adventure.”
Derrik Jenkins, a junior from Minden, Nevada, studying manufacturing engineering at BYU, attended the first-ever AWW activity: a midnight hike to the summit of Mount Nebo in the Wasatch Mountain Range. Ever since then, Jenkins said he has attended almost all AWW events.
“I like to be outdoors. I crave adventure,” Jenkins said. “This is a great way to have planned activities that I can look forward to and have people to go with.”
Taylor said anyone is welcome to join AWW; its membership grows weekly.
AWW activities are often well-attended, but recently Taylor decided to assemble a more daring group of explorers. For people interested in more intense activities, Taylor created a group in June of 2014 called Adventures With Will Type II.
“Adventures With Will Type II is for … those who will be dedicated and are in-shape enough to accomplish the tasks required,” Taylor said.
The “tasks required” are typically similar to the adventures that take place in AWW, but they often require more time, physical effort and endurance. For those who prefer to watch the intense activities, Taylor said he has created a Facebook page to document all the AWW Type II adventures.
Taylor hopes to see AWW and AWW Type II evolve from being online groups of adventurers to actual businesses.
“AWW will still have free events, but we will start organizing more and charging fees for people to come,” Taylor said. “We plan on being a one-stop shop for any and all adventures.”
Students who want to participate in Adventures With Will or Adventures With Will Type II activities can get involved by joining the Facebook groups.