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Interests

Backpacking

[Backpacking]

Hiking and Backpacking are favorite hobbies of mine. I started hiking frequently when I lived in Texas for exercise. I started backpacking back in 1997 when I joined the Texins Outdoor Club. I was one of this club's original members and served as it's Backpacking VP during the early years. I'd have to say that some of my best friendships have come from the participation in the club events. Backpacking is a fairly gear-intensive sport; here is the equipment checklist that I use when packing for a trip. Take a look at some of my Backpacking trip reports complete with photos.


Genealogy

[Genealogy]

This is a hobby that I somewhat inherited from my Dad. He took the initiative years ago to get basic information for my family lineage from my great-great grandfather, Wesley S. Willis. While in Dallas, I used vast resources from the Dallas Public Library, the Mormon Church, and other contacts to find over 700 of my relatives. Take a look at the honored list of people who are my ancestors.


Desert Plants

[Desert Plants]

I won't raise any plant that ain't capable of defending itself! Back in Junior High, I completed a science fair project that dealt with desert plant characteristics. Since that time, I have continued to grow and collect these plants. In Mississippi, I grow close to 100 different cactus species and I am always looking for more. Until recently, most of my plants were acquired during my annual trips to Tucson, Arizona. Back in late 2001 my dad and I decided to purchase a commercial-sized greenhouse to house my collection and help in the upstart of a nursery business. My plants have found fame of their own; they are featured on one of the best cactus sites on the Internet: CactusMuseum.com. Here are photos of a small sampling of my cactus species.


Wilderness Survival

[Wilderness Survival]

This interest grew out of my hiking and backpacking hobby. I continue to seek the wilds for solitude and fun. If you choose to go out in the wilderness alone you need to know how to take care of yourself in case of emergency. I read wilderness survival, first-aid and other outdoor-focused books frequently. The concepts of primitive living and improvisation are interesting to me. I think that our society has become too sheltered.


Fishing

[Fishing]

This was a favorite childhood hobby of mine. It started with catfishing in local ditches around my hometown. Cassidy Bayou and Horseshoe Pond in Marks, MS were favorite haunt for me and my friends. Some of the best fishing that I remember was to be had at my Uncle Ward Dawkins' ponds in Sardis, MS. Bass, bream, crappie, catfish: you name it, these cattle ponds had it. Our uncle sold his land a few years back and we lost fishing rights to the ponds. My brother and I and some friends still get together on occasion and seek out a farm pond, but, we have slacked off in the last few years. Just can't match the legacy of Uncle Wards' place.


USA Travel /
Photography

[USA Travel / Photography]

I've been fortunate to travel to 48 of the 50 US States. Florida and South Carolina - your time is going to come. Photography is also a big hobby of mine so I always take a camera with me when I travel. Take a look at my collection of state welcome signs and travel photos.

 
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