I grew up in northwestern Montana bordering Forest Service property which served as my backyard. My brother and I tore all over the woods and let our imaginations go. Early on, I had aspirations of being a biologist of some kind, but as I got older, my love of computers and desire for a larger income headed me down to Phoenix to get my bachelor’s in Computer Information Systems.
Nothing makes you appreciate Montana more than four years in the desert. Whenever I would come back to visit, I’d realize all that I’d taken for granted from the deer to the forest to the peaks. When I moved back in 2000, I decided to take a more intentional approach to the woods and purchased my first round of backpacking equipment and started getting out.
Parallel to backpacking was the beginning of exploring videography which I stumbled upon. With each project, I would try something new and it was a great way to remember trips such as a weeklong backpacking trip in the Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex or climbing Mt. Rainier. For the next 10 years, hiking and backpacking as well as videography would continue to grow alongside a more and more suffocating corporate life.
Fed up with working in a “Dilbert cartoon strip”, I saved up money, got out of debt, sold my house and quit my job with a two year plan to make my video career work. My plan was two years where I’d spend the first year really trying to figure out what I wanted to focus on within videography and the second year was to kill it. About 8 months into that first year, I came across an idea that turned into a project for the next year. In 2011, I was going to try and be the first person to hike all 734 miles of trail in Glacier National Park in one year.
I contacted the Glacier National Park Fund and partnered with them, started planning and on May 17th, 2011, I started hiking. My goal was to make it an interactive project where people could hike with me in person or virtually, so I posted my hiking schedule, communicated with people via Facebook, Twitter and my blog. Folks that couldn’t hike with me, could keep track of me via my Spot Connect device and my social media updates. I hiked with my Canon 7D and a couple of lenses and documented the entire effort with the secondary benefit of creating the first video library of every trail in the Park.
On October 15th, 2011, I crossed the finish line after an overnight trip to Lincoln Lake. Since then I’ve been out giving presentations, finishing up all of the trip blogs I was unable to get to and helping people have great trips to Glacier (as well as making them really really want to come back).