FAIR LAWN, N.J. — A 50-mile canoe trip wasn’t the relaxing getaway that Fair Lawn’s John Vanni had in mind.
It was 2000 and the leaders of his son’s boy scout troop had asked him to come along as a chaperone.
Vanni, 51, recently returned from climbing Pikes Peek — the highest summit of the southern Front Range of the Rocky Mountains — all because of his trip with Troop 53.
“I would’ve eventually found adventure again,” Vanni said. “But that was the push.”
He’s always considered himself an outdoorsman but marriage and parenthood dulled that a bit.
Vanni’s involvement with his now-25-year-old son’s troop back in the early 2000s was the turning point, he said.
He can't see himself living life any other way than on the edge — literally.
“I could have very easily taken a nice easy vacation and relaxed on the beach,” said Vanni of his recent Colorado excursion. “But that’s the easy way out and I chose the adventurous route — the unexpected.”
Vanni has hiked his way to the tops of mountains in the Catskills and Aiderondacks.
He’s carried canoes and kayaks along highways and winding roads, only to get back in the water and row for dozens more miles. A trip to Mount Washington is in the works for August.
But most of all, Vanni’s reconnection to adventure has brought him closer to his loved ones.
“You’ve got to stay active with your kids,” said Vanni, whose daughter is an aspiring police chief and son a U.S. Navy reservist.
“The three of us go to the shooting range for target practice. It’s expanded our horizons to things we all like to do together.”