The title gives it away, I’m dead and writing this from beyond the grave; you could even say I’m ‘ghost’-writing. *waits for laughter to die down*
It’s been quite some time since I’ve updated this old thing. So, just a few highlights to catch up my (remaining) readers:
- I’ve finished my hike in NZ this past January
- I volunteered for DOC in New Zealand
- you can click through HERE if volunteering in New Zealand sounds flippin’ amazing
- My mate Luke and I were featured in Backpacker mag’s gear guide while I was testing gear
- I got WFR certified with NOLS.
- I’ve become a Garage Grown Gear ambassador
- I finally bought a ‘real’ camera, hello α6000, how do you do??
Completing Te Araroa as my first long distance hike is a learning experience I’m grateful for. Having limited thru-hiking experience, I really tossed myself into the deep end on one of the world’s most challenging hikes, there was a rather ‘steep’ learning curve. Now my brain is primed for tackling technical terrain and unpredictable weather in the Northern hemisphere! Having all that time in one’s head, I began the process of self-actualization, something I’d always struggled with, the trail gave me direction. So after finishing the trail the 12th of Jan, I took my remaining time in NZ and decided to give back to DOC for their service, I volunteered as a hut warden.
What does it mean to be a hut warden?? Well, what that means is I got to hang out in a backcountry hut in one of the most picturesque countries, with hiking enthusiasts from all around the world, in the mountains, for a week. Within that week, I would move from hut to hut maintaining the grounds, the toilets, the hut itself, and a bit of trail maintenance when it was needed, a labor of love if you will –the best part of it was hearing people commenting on how clean the drop toilets are. Some other things you’re required to do is give a “hut safety talk,” detailing what the dos and don’ts are, pointing out where fire exits and meeting points are, providing some background about the surrounding area, and check guests for backcountry passes/ tickets, this is how DOC maintains these huts and huts are expensive! DOC provides volunteers with accommodation in the huts, their own cooking utilities, they even reimburse you for the costs of food! Are you asking yourself by now “where in NZ can I do this?” Thankfully DOC has plenty of volunteering ops spanning the North and South Islands. Click through HERE if volunteering sounds like something you’d be interested in.
While on the trail, I was testing a set of hiking poles for Backpacker magazine, they were stupidly light. My hiking mate at the time, Luke, had a proper camera and we decided to snap a silly shot from our climb. I received some correspondence regarding a chance to be featured in the magazine, I didn’t really think anything of it and threw in a submission, I find out a few weeks later Luke’s photo got printed along with other submissions, that was fun.
Ya mad, ya bastard..
Having backpacked in some tough terrain, I figured that having some practical medical skills would be handy to have. Taking a NOLS class was something I’ve always wanted to do and it timed up perfectly when I arrived back in the U.S, so I signed up for a Wilderness First Responder class. It was a 10-day intensive course consisting mostly of lecture and scenarios, I love doing scenarios. I was particularly good at reinacting head trauma patients; unconscious upon the first encounter, then showing signs of a deteriorating A+O×X, disoriented, combative, ataxic, that shit was great. It even got me a new nickname, “Headtrauma.” Meeting more people who’re into the outdoors, I felt right at home. I made some new friends, some connections, and even managed to score a job in Steamboat, Colorado this summer working with the Rocky Mountain Youth Corps. This summer should be interesting.
If you know me, I’m fairly involved with Instagram, my partner Rad always gives me shit about it. I managed to catch the attention of an outdoor startup company that markets up-and-coming cottage industries that make handmade outdoor gear and are U.S based. Having GGG’s support makes getting out that much more accessible, thanks Lloyd! Now that I’ve started all this, it’s time I started documenting it, so I went and got an α6000, “hide yo kids, hide yo wives.”
Until next time kiddos!