1. Please tell us a little more about yourself.
Short answer: I was raised in Eastern Idaho, Southern Utah and Northwest New Mexico.
I’ve enjoyed hiking my whole life.
My family camped quite a bit when I was young, and I joined the Boy Scouts when I was older, where I got more outdoor experience.
I worked on scout camp staffs in my late teens, where I first learned how to share my love of the outdoors with others.
In college, I earned a B.S. degree in Forestry with a minor in Wildlife Management.
I worked for the US Forest Service for 5 summers on timber and fire crews.
Once my family started to grow, I needed something more stable, so I ended up with a career in Information Technology (IT).
Long answer – see this link, starting with the 3rd paragraph.
2. What is the story behind your site? What was the trigger for starting it?
Short answer: The shift from me working on a Forestry degree and in the woods for the Forest Service to sitting at a desk maintaining servers left an outdoor void in my life.
I found myself hiking more and more. When friends joined me, I enjoyed teaching them what I knew about the environments we passed through.
One suggested I create a website, where I could share my knowledge and experience with a larger audience.
I did just that, over 5 years ago.
It grew from a few visitors a week, to the current average of 400 hikers a day.
I enjoy helping others experience the joy and satisfaction I’ve gained from outdoor experiences.
I don’t have a platform agenda (environmentalism, land development) I’m trying to push, and I’m definitely not in it for the money.
Long answer: see this link.
3. Your slogan is great. Can you give us a little insight into “Learn the Basics – Discover the Benefits – Experience the Adventure”?
When I started the website, I decided the driving force behind every decision I make concerning the site would need to align with at least one of two main goals: 1. teaching people the basics of day hiking, and 2. providing information on Wasatch area trails, trailheads and destinations.
As for the slogan, it’s a process I hope new hikers follow.
They should learn the basics, both through online research and joining more experienced hikers.
Once they get started, they will discover the benefits.
I’ve heard people say things like “hiking recharges me”, “my depression is reduced”, “after reaching that peak, I’ve proved to myself I can accomplish anything I set my mind to” – the list goes on.
Once they get hooked, they realized there is a lot of adventure in hiking.
They have excitement, they are rejuvenated, and as a bonus, they get more physically fit.
4. Please give us 5 hiking basic tips.
- Happy feet = happy hiker – if you’re wondering where to invest your money on hiking equipment, get comfortable shoes and socks.
- Let the slowest hiker in a group take the lead, especially if they are new to hiking – you want them to think they’ve found a new form of pleasure rather than a new form of torture.
- Know your abilities and stick to them. Don’t let others in the group talk you into doing something you’re not comfortable with. For example, if you hike in mountainous areas, you might encounter parts of the trail where there is exposure to big drop-offs, where a fall could be tragic, such as knife edges or rock bands. If it’s beyond your skill level, turn around and try it another day (or year).
- Watch the weather closely, so you are not caught unprepared. For example, don’t plan a hike that puts you on a ridge top when a thunder storm moves in, or in a snow storm with shorts and a tank top.
- Be prepared to stay overnight, even if it’s just a day hike. I’ve heard countless search and rescue news reports where a hiker gets lost or hurt, and they weren’t prepared for an extended stay in the backcountry, making a bad situation worse. Be sure to carry extra clothing, food and communication devices.
- Switchbacks not only help minimize erosion, but they also help you conserve energy needed for longer hikes – think back to the physics lesson of pushing a block up an inclined slope; the steeper the slope, the more energy it requires to push your mass up it. Switchbacks always reduces slope, and there’s usually less obstacles such as bushes and rocks.
5. What was your all-time favorite hike?
The vast majority of my hikes are day hikes – picking a favorite is hard.
The hike that means the most to me is when my two oldest sons and I hiked to the top of Mount Timpanogos.
They were 12 and 14 at the time.
The hike is 16 miles round trip with 4500 feet of elevation gain.
I was proud that we were able to do that together. (by the way, that link says I only hiked 135 miles with 50,000 feet in elevation gain in 2009.
From 2010 to now, I’ve hiked nearly 1400 miles with over 500,000 feet of elevation gain, mostly in the Wasatch – yes I track this stuff)
6. What is your hiking/backpacking gear of choice?
- Day pack: Osprey Stratos
- Summer boots: Merrell Moab Ventilators
- Winter boots: Merrell snow boots
- Trekking poles: Leki Makalu
- Socks: thick merino wool; year round
- Layered clothing
7. What tool do you most often take with you and do you own a multi tool?
8. What is your favorite hiking site?
Besides WasatchHiker.com, my favorite hiking site is SummitPost.org. It’s a great place to go for new ideas, route descriptions, stories and photos.
9. A message to your readers.
Hmm, this is the hardest question. Here are a few thoughts:
- Stressed about the struggles of everyday life? Go climb a real mountain and feel yourself being recharged.
- When you get out in nature, your mind will clear and you will have pressure-free time to work out issues.
- Hiking makes you happier and healthier, what is there not to like about that?