I was born and raised in the suburbs of Cincinnati, Ohio. Growing up with a large field and forest in my backyard fueled my obsession with insects and plants as a kid. I wanted to know what every single one of them was. Every birthday and Christmas meant more field guides and nature books about every subject you can imagine. When the Crocodile Hunter came to TV in the mid 1990’s my idol was found. Steve Irwin instilled in me the passion to share what I was already obsessed with: the natural world. Soon I was begging my parents to drive me places where certain species of snakes or lizards lived. I’d search all over and find these beautiful animals and photograph them with my little disposable cameras. Like Steve, I loved finding and promoting the beauty and fascinating facts about the world’s lesser loved wildlife as well as the cute and cuddly.
Although no mountains are nearby Cincinnati, I was always outside hiking and camping. Boy Scouts introduced me to a new level of my love of the outdoors. I was fortunate to be in a very active troop with an exceptional Scout Master, Lill Morris. She was even on the reality TV show Survivor: Pearl Islands! Our troop always did one camping trip a month and one “high adventure” per year. It was on my first high adventure, while rock climbing a popular spot in Kentucky, that I caught my first venomous snake, a copperhead, at 13 years old. Of course none of my scout leaders were too pleased with this, but I did manage to relocate the copperhead to a lesser frequented area. It was on my second high adventure in 2004 that I experienced my first major backpacking adventure: Philmont Scout Ranch in the Rocky Mountains of New Mexico. We backpacked 100 miles up and over high alpine mountaintops, desert, and meadows over the course of 2 weeks. A 40lbs pack on a 110 lbs, 14 year old. It hurt so bad during the trip, I didn’t initially like it at all. I had encountered type 2 fun. Sucks while doing it, but character building and fun in retrospect. I was so happy to get home from that trip, but after about a month, all I could think about was backpacking again. 5 years later I returned to Philmont as an Eagle Scout and had 100 miles of type 1 fun. Fun to do, fun to look back on. While out there the second time, one of my best friends from scouts proposed that we thru hike the Appalachian Trail in 2012 when we graduated from college, and that’s exactly what we did.
The AT is where I caught a thru hiking addiction, the incredible people, sights, wildlife and flora feed my soul. The Pacific Crest Trail was an inevitability after that. 2017 I’ll thru hike the Continental Divide Trail. It’s my goal to share the beauty, wonder and knowledge of the diversity of all life along the long trails of the world.
Pacific Crest Trail (2014)
Arizona Trail (2015)
San Diego Trans-County Trail (2016)
Continental Divide Trail (attempting 2017)
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READ MORE ABOUT MATT:Woody's Adventures>
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