I have been hiking since childhood. Growing up, my parents took the family on regular camping trips into Central California’s breathtaking Sierra Nevada Mountains. I went on my first solo overnight backpacking trip in Yosemite National Park when I was 23. Getting cold, I drove back home shortly after nightfall. From a motley caboodle of hand-me-downs and Wal-Mart knickknacks, my gear evolved over the years to include more professional brands and usages. I did not love every trip at first. I was often uncomfortable and afraid. Aren’t there dangerous animals? What if I get lost? Why didn’t I feel that rock under my tent until after I started to fall asleep!?

An unwilling pose snapshot somewhere on the John Muir Trail

Tired, unbathed and a bit hunchbacked . . . somewhere on the John Muir Trail

I am now a seasoned backpacker and hiker. I usually go on two large trips (5+ days) and many smaller trips each year. Sometimes I take my dad or a buddy, but I frequently go alone. I do not take a GPS device or any other electronics. A handy compass and topographic map are ample navigation aids and offer a welcome respite from technology. Everything I have learned about commonsense hiking and backpacking I have learned by doing. It’s not rocket science . . . it’s really just walking on a designated path for a predetermined distance. Easy as pie.

Until recently, weekends were spent exploring the mountains and deserts near my native San Diego. I now live in Provo (Utah) with my wife, eager as ever to explore the Far West’s innumerable special places. As much as possible, I thru hike life.

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