Appalachian Outdoor Journal is a blog for storytelling, journalism, photography and videos focusing on backpacking, camping, fishing, rock climbing, nature, wildlife, survival skills, and gear repair and modification.
AOJ was born nearly a decade ago out of a discussion with a friend serving in the Army in Iraq. The blog’s original name — believe it or not — was “Zebra Balls.” It’s a long and booze-filled story. Over the years, it was a hodge-podge of random ramblings and had no real direction other than a place for the author to scribble things he thought people were interested in. Long story short: few people were interested.
Eventually, the name was changed to Riverside Hooligans, a nod to the three river valleys I’ve lived in over the years (Hudson, Delaware and Susquehanna). I wrote a lot about soccer at the time and so of course every soccer fan has an over-romanticized view of hooliganism, hence the second part of the name.
In 2012, I reorganized the blog to be an outdoor sports and adventure blog focusing on my travels with friends and family. Holy crap, people started reading what I was writing. But I retained the RH name because at the time it fit. Much of what I was writing had a sort of Gonzo, experiential journalism to it anyway, so why not Hooligans?
New Trail Names, Same Ethics
In 2014, I felt that the blog needed a more honest name for what it had become: an outdoor journal of my exploits in the eastern United States’ mountains and forests. However, the blog’s ethics and dedication have not changed since 2012.
AOJ, while primarily a journal of Jim T. Ryan’s adventures with friends and family, is also an advocacy for Americans returning to their roots as frontiersmen and adventurers. In that respect, AOJ believes America’s immense wild spaces are precious not only for their aesthetic beauty and diversity of wildlife, but also as important portals into our history as a people.
These environments — including the mountains, forests, waters, air, prairies, farmlands, deserts and towns that dot them, are worth protecting as homage to those who came before us, as the ecosystems and local economies that will sustain our life and soul today, and will do the same for generations to come.
In that regard, AOJ is not against the use of nature for recreational or economic reasons. But it abhors the abuse, misuse and unsustainable pillaging of the public trust to feed the coin pockets of the few today at the expense of ours, our families’, our communities’ and our nation’s future.
To protect your family, your community and your nation by protecting the natural world in which they exist and that sustains their life is a great patriotic act. We love this country, including its environment.
Nature is a cathedral and the blood of our soul, as much as it is a resource store.