My love for nature and adventure was born at a young age in the woods and hills of Michigan. As a boy I was often found hiking through the woods in the footsteps of my grandpa or walking beside my dad next to a trout stream. My dad often got a little frustrated because as a boy I remember always wondering what was around the next bend in the river more than what was swimming around under the water. Thus began my passion for exploring the unknown.
Jump ahead a few years and I graduated High School, unsure of what exactly my next step was I packed up my truck and headed west ending my journey in Colorado. I pretty much knew that’s where I was headed, when I was 10 years old my family had taken a vacation to the Rocky Mountains of Colorado and I had looked up at my mom and told her, “…someday I am going to live here.” So there I was, living my childhood dream, unfortunately my first run at freedom didn’t go so well and I ended up moving back to Michigan for a short time to try my hand at college. I began a course of study in my new found love of Photography but I couldn’t stand being away from the mountains. I knew that my heart lay out west in the vast and open expanses of wilderness and I felt like a caged animal needing to get out. So once again I packed my truck and headed west, once again ending up in Colorado.
This time I found a good job selling cameras and teaching classes at a Camera Store in Boulder. Life was good, I was able to make a decent living and I enjoyed being able to get away to the mountains on the weekends. One trip I remember well, I decided to spend four days in the desert of Utah, one of my first real desert experiences. This trip opened my eyes to a whole new world that I really didn’t know existed. Going to the desert I remember was like coming home for the first time. The connection that I felt to the dry and desolate land was incredible, the twisted rocks and scorched earth, the dark canyons and red rock, it spoke to me in a way that I had never felt before. I decided that although I was in love with the mountains, I was having a passionate love affair with the desert.
At the same time as all of this was going on in my life I also felt the need for more adventure, a change of pace, something different and exciting. I joined the US Army and not long after found myself stationed in Alaska. I ended up spending about seven years in Alaska where I discovered a different passion, climbing, which distracted me from my photography for a while but definitely gave me some great experiences exploring the mountains and glaciers of the beautiful North Country.
After a brief but rather overly exciting tour of duty in Iraq I returned back to Alaska, left the Army and got my Paramedic License. It was at this point that my love and passion for the desert started to overwhelm me. My dreams were being haunted by the smell of sage and cool sunlit mornings waking up on the edge of a mesa overlooking a broken and desolate wilderness of rock and sand. I made up my mind and packed up my truck with all of my worldly possessions (yes, they all fit in my truck) and headed south down the Alaskan Highway my destination was, as it always has been, Colorado.
This time however my stay in the Front Range was short. Denver is a great city if you like cities, but I couldn’t handle the hustle and bustle. The desert was calling to me and I decided that the Four Corners area would be my home, Durango, to be exact.
At last I had found it, my Shangri-la. Durango is as perfect of a place as I have ever been in terms of cities that I have called home, truthfully the only place that I have ever truly felt was home. The deserts of Utah and New Mexico sit within a stone’s throw away and the rugged desolate peaks of the San Juan Mountains sit at the back door. For me there is no better place to raise a family and I am proud, humbled, and grateful for the opportunity to live in such an amazing area with beauty surrounding me every day.
“All we have, it seems to me, is the beauty of art and nature and life, and the love which that beauty inspires.” ~Edward Abbey, The Journey Home: Some Words in Defense of the American West