It’s My 40th B-day

I was born on April 18th, 1974. Today is my 40th birthday. That means one thing to me right now.

I’m getting DAMN OLD!

Newborn John Garret - Tree

I debated writing a big philosophical post for my birthday. Reflections and lessons of 40 years walking the planet Earth… something like that. But, I don’t really feel like I have much to say, and I wouldn’t have time to write it if I did.

Instead, I threw together a bunch of childhood photos. As I get older, I find myself looking back and wondering where all the time went. This sure is a quick trip.

Birthday #1

Tree, 1st Birthday, Prospect, OR

Tree, Birthday cake "All done"

Birthday #2

Tree turns 2

Birthday #4

Tree turns 4

Birthday #5

Tree blowing out the candles

Tree's Birthday

Birthday #6

Tree turns 6

Birthday #7

Tree turns seven

Birthday #8

Tree turns 8 - party

Birthday #9

Tree turns 9

Birthday #10

Tree turns 10

Not sure, but looks like #14

Kids' photos in Salem, OR - 188Looking back at old photos always brings back so many feelings, right? Some of my first memories are of my sister. Early on, it was just the two of us. Below, hanging out with Dad…

John with Tree andd Mariah

Tree, Sun and Mariah, 1975

Below, me climbing a toddler V5 boulder problem up a camping table and cooler, just like Soleil does today. Guess the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree..

Always a climber…

Tree climbing coolers in Madras, age  1+

Mariah and Tree by the hay bales

It wasn’t much longer before my little brother showed up and completed the picture…

*Mariah, Adam, Tree, Prospect OR

What a gift he’s been in my life. My best and most loyal amigo, for life…

*Adam and Tree saying prayers

And, since he arrived, the three of us have been pretty much inseparable.

Boogie, Super Chick and the Kid, 1978

Tree 2nd Birthday presents

*3 kids playing by the fire

Below, planting trees with Mom…

Ang and 3 kids, planting trees

Below, me throwing down my best moves on the neighbor girl while my brother shows off his state-of-the-art record player. Real OGs.

Tree, Cindy Pidgeon, and Adam

Fun fact, I actually grew up on a large farm in Madras, Oregon. Looking back through the lense of a parent now, I have to say that my parents nailed the grow-up location. We had a great childhood exploring the outdoors and the wilderness.

Tree age 4 on Sandy

Tree w his Big Wheel

Showing off my new Huffy bike, one of my favorite presents to this day…

Kids' photos in Madras OR - 302

Below, what can I say? John Travolta cool, right down to the Pittsburgh Steelers belt buckle…

Tree and Rachel at Candy's wedding

In case you’re wondering, the half-shirt is making a big come back. It all started here.

Tree caught a fish!

No, it’s not halloween. This is just what happens to kids when they don’t have iPads, computer games, or TV. They do crazy shit, like use their imaginations.

3 kids playing in the house

In the mountains riding with my bro and sis…

Corraling the horses while camping

Kayaking in the early days on the Deschutes River in Oregon…


Screen Shot 2014-04-18 at 6.08.04 AM

Getting tatted up in Mexico…


A proud moment with family after winning the SBA Young Entrepreneur Of The Year award, a couple years after starting Outdoorplay.

Kids' photos in Salem, OR - 486

Me and my boys. 1993…

Kids' photos in Salem, OR - 312

Looking back on my life so far, I can’t help but feel incredibly lucky. It’s been a good go so far. I’m 40 now, so I figure the ride is about half over. The first half was amazing. Now, as I look forward to the next half, I’m most stoked about watching my daughter grow up and sharing with her everything that I’ve learned so far.

Venezuela, 2011


It’s funny. My #1 goal in life was always to do whatever it takes to keep myself traveling, and doing rad shit. Now, as I’ve entered into a new phase of life, my number one goal is to do whatever it takes to keep Soleil traveling, living on the road, visiting new countries, and experiencing rad shit.

Oddly enough, it creates the same outcome for me and , yet,  is noticeably different in some strange way.  I think, better. 

Happy birthday to me,


 IMG_3182 IMG_3184




  1. Three things:

    1. SR. had some nice hair.
    2. Angela and Indra have always been beautiful
    3. You’re a rock star. Happy Birthday.

  2. Nonituyas says:

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY…to my mischievous, adventurous, loyal, fiercely loving son. Ah Tree, you have come so far! Climbed so high and searched so deep for your meaning. And you have brought me so much love and pride, watching you grow into the amazing man you are. Over the years your determination, courage, and fierce spirit taught me the joy that comes from exploring the world, and now I embrace that too when I can. I thank you for that gift, and for all the laughter and loving times we have shared.

    I hope your Birthday is a celebration of all that is Beautiful in your life, because, as you know deep in your heart, there IS so much to celebrate. If I were there I would look into your green eyes and tell you how very much I love you- always have, and always will.
    May you be happy Tree.

    Love always,

    • Angela, your words made me cry. Your family is such a beautiful testament to love; it can’t be contained, it spills over into all of our lives.

      Tree, your life is bright light to all of us. May you shine brightly always. Happy Birthday Beautiful.

  3. You guys are adorable! Happy 40th birthday, Tree. Cheers to your great life!

  4. Happy birthday, Tree. Have a wonderful day!

  5. Me parece que hay un trasfondo filosófico, que puede convertirse en mensaje, para quien lo tome.
    Feliz Cumpleaños!!

  6. Auntie Alex says:

    Funny; I woke up this morning and I coulda sworen I smelt something funny. Like something old. Sure enough I did! I can smell ya from here! Happy Bday!!

  7. Happy B-Day Son. Thank you for the reflections on your pic’s. Thank you for the many adventures you provided me: The Deschutes River, working out, Mt. Hood, The Colorado River…and the most rewarding…watching and being part of your life these past 40 years. I am so happy and proud of you son.
    Love you so very, very much…see you next Wednesday in Cozumel.

  8. Cathy Fanandakis Alexander says:

    Happy Birthday Tree!!!!!! Time flies when your having fun!!!!!!

  9. Patrick O'Keeffe says:

    Happy Birthday ! hope its fun the just keep coming faster

  10. Teri Hogan says:

    Happy Birthday Tree!

  11. Happy Birthday Cousin! Hope you all are having a wonderful time!

  12. says:

    Have fun! Happy 40!

  13. Even though I tried to lock you in the toy chest, squish you with the door, and ignored you on the playground (all completely appropriate given you are my little bother) – let’s remember, you are the one who 1) told me Santa Claus wasn’t real; 2) taught me how to drive a stick shift (thanks to Simko we both learned), 3) introduced me to my first “smoke” (which I didn’t inhale btw); 4) dated pretty much all of my best friends; 5) taught me that living your dreams is possible.
    I love you little bro. Believe me when I say, it keeps getting better!
    Love- sis

  14. A beautiful reflection on an amazing life & your loved ones in it…helping to create the person you are….a wonderful tribute to your first 40…and here is to many many more….a very Happy BD wish to you Tree!

  15. Happy Birthday Tree. You sure know how to celebrate. Let the festivities begin!

  16. Hey Tree,
    just wanted to say Happy Birthday!
    Wow does time fly.. It seemed like an eternity to become 21 and the other 19 years just became a flash.. Wow. It still seams like yesterday that were wondering around Turrialba bare foot and chasing rivers.
    Think about you all the time.
    Love ya bro.

  17. Neili Smith says:

    Happy Birthday! Cheers to another year down & more to come!

  18. Laird Davis says:

    oh to be 40 again! 2nd best decade ever.

  19. Janet Cizek says:

    Soliel sure looks like you when you were little.

  20. hope you have many more…

  21. Greg Lavespere says:

    Happy birthday brother!! Welcome to club 40!

  22. Walter Burkhardt says:

    Go buddy! Happy 40th Birthday!

  23. Andrea Greever says:

    I Love all the pictures…but 7 & 9 are my favs

  24. John Rich says:

    Happy birthday old man!

  25. Shinpaugh says:

    Awwwww, so cute!

  26. Happy Birthday Tree!

  27. Aunt Candy says:

    Happy Birthday Tree….. I sure do love you a bunch!

  28. Tony Salecki says:

    Welcome to the 40’s. It’s awesome here

  29. Lorraine Chittock says:

    Oh geez, another Aries….

  30. Maria Wingens says:

    Happy Birthday, Tree! It’s my birthday, too!

  31. Happy birthday, enjoy your journey!

  32. Jene Fielder says:

    wishing you the continued time of your Life, Living Large,,Happy Birthday Tree, and a Happy anniversary of your life to your MOM…….XOXO J.

  33. Benny Tadeo says:

    Happy Birthday Tree. Kinda hard to figure out a gift when you already have it all. Enjoy your day and your Family.

  34. Mindy Tucker says:

    Happy Birthday, my young friend! I’m 2 months behind you on that milestone. Remember, you are only as old as you feel!!! Some days I’m 21; and others I’m 100!

  35. Brian Thomen says:

    Happy Happy Birthday tree miss having you around here and hanging out at Sano hope Cozumel is fun thats one of my favorite dive spots.

  36. Tanya Shuman says:

    Happy Birthday!!!! Hope u have the best birthday ever-u only deserve the very best!

  37. Joe Pulliam says:

    Happy birthday buddy!

  38. John Hart says:

    Happy birthday amigo!

  39. Melinda Casady says:

    Happy Happy Birthday the 40’s will be awesome!

  40. Rachel Woods says:

    Grammy would be proud of the month long celebration. Give everyone big hugs from us and drink a shot for me. Happy 40th you old man!

  41. Eleanor Kelley says:

    I hope this year is the best yet! Cheers!

  42. David Walker says:

    Happy Birthday – youngster. I remember turning 40 (11 years ago)…

  43. Audrey Kranz says:

    happy birthday tree. much love


  45. Tamara Suarez says:

    Happy birthday!!!!

  46. Kelly Breathe says:

    Happy birthday Tree

  47. Ferdinand Steinvorth says:

    Cheers bro… have fun!!!

  48. Troy Giancanelli says:

    Tree, Stevie will keep you young due to the fact that she is just a big Kiddo herself, Happy Birthday, I hope you get some sick barrels at the point , it looks like there is a lot of swell out there????

  49. Heather Acevedo (Dougherty) says:

    You are a good man. Happy 40th.
    PS I’m younger than you


  50. Sarah Leith Bahn says:

    My dearest Tree – we love you and wish you the happiest birthday!!! 40 – that’s crazy. I swear we were teenagers just yesterday. XOXO to one of my favorite big brothers.

  51. Courtney Lynch says:

    Happy happy birthday!

  52. Happy Birthday Brother!!!!!!!!
    Grandmas cake looks pretty darn good!
    Your family looks great!
    Look forward to meeting them!

  53. Layla Morrell says:

    Happy birthday!!!!

  54. Rafael Avila says:

    All the best for you my friend!

  55. Elizabeth Beaumont says:

    I wish a happy 40 years ahead

  56. Tas Kai Fleer says:

    We wish you happy birthday!!

  57. Tree,

    So, you are 40 and we all wish you a very happy time. However, you forgot to thank what should be the most important person in your life…Your Mother, who I am sure had a handful with you around.
    Why I say that….It is so obvious after seeing the number of Birthday cakes you devoured all these years.

    All the best young man and always take care.

  58. Lilian Mayer says:

    Happy Birthday!!! have fun! Enjoy, at 40 life is starting!!! Peace, health and love!

  59. Carolyn Rose Ward-Schulman says:

    Happy birthday, Tree.

  60. Duilio Vellutino says:

    Feliz cumpleaños compadre!! Un fuerte abrazo y a seguir disfrutando la vida

  61. Luc Fortier says:

    Happy birthday. I’m 58 today! I’ll be biuyong my sprinter soon. Closing my office in May and going mobile. Met someone who went to school with you.
    Be well!

  62. Happy birthday, dude. It’s always a pleasure reading your blog. You and yours are truly an inspiration… It’s great when people figure out the shit that is truly important. Later.
    P.S.- Have a great 4/20:)

  63. Amy Dingle says:

    Happy birthday Tree! It’s crazy! Glad you have had so many amazing memories and many more to make!

  64. Great blog!! Happy Birthday to you!! Cheers

  65. Steve Scherrer says:

    happy birth month!

  66. Happy Birthday from of us here in Lima!

  67. Paul Lyttle says:

    First happy B day buddy and who took that pick of you getting the tattoo in Mexico , was that me?

  68. Just the beginning Bro,
    You have an extraordinary life and are surrounded with abundant love and laughter.
    Carry-on and keep the blogs coming.

  69. Happy Birthmonth, Tree! Thanks for continuing to live your dreams and share your journey – what an inspiration y’all are. Cheers!

  70. Thanks everyone for the great birthday wishes. 🙂

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