A Little More About Me
Hello! I'm Mike, I run this place, and I love the outdoors. I am from Michigan, which has a wide array of outdoor activities available to residents and visitors. I grew up hiking (but just called it walking?), cross-country skiing, swimming, and camping. During college, I picked up a habit of taking road trips and it sparked a whole new fire within to see the country. For four consecutive spring breaks, friends and I would explore the country in search of new scenery and adventures. After graduation, I moved to Texas for a job and adjusted to life in the south and to the chaos of the Dallas-Fort Worth metro area. Since the city has limited natural areas, I've adapted and started exploring statewide to fully appreciate a new kind of outdoor lifestyle. I've learned to love the deserts, grasslands, hills, and forests that cover this giant state. Follow along with me and we'll explore together.
52 Hike Challenge
In 2017, I embarked on the 52 Hike Challenge. The basis of this challenge is just to get out and hike once per week for a year. These hikes really got me out of my comfort zone and out of the DFW metro area to see the beauty Texas has to offer. My hikes needed to be at least one mile and mostly on natural surfaces. For 2017, I hiked 212 miles. In 2018, I didn’t complete the challenge but I am working on it again in 2019. For me, it’s not about the miles or the stats, it’s about getting outside and getting away from the hustle and bustle of the city.
My Ideas on Public Lands
I explored public lands before I knew what they really were; in Michigan we just called it state land and it never resonated with me that they were open to all. I visited my first National Lakeshore as a teenager and didn't quite grasp what that meant in terms of protection and designation. In college, I saw the Redwoods and Death Valley and was hooked on the idea of public lands and truly began to understand the importance and purpose behind designating and protecting these areas. Today, I fight the good fight to ensure public lands are available to ALL, properly funded, and preserved for future generations.
Gear Forward takes used gear, new gear, money, and volunteer hours and gets gear to kids that couldn't otherwise afford it. If you know of any kids, or group of kids (scouts, youth groups etc), that need gear but can't quite afford it. Go check them out and if you have gear or money you want to donate, there are links on the website. www.gearforward.org
A Little More Personal
I live in Dallas-Fort Worth with my other half, our dog Chewy, and our two cats Meatloaf and Dealbreaker. The cats usually stay indoors, but Chewy and my partner will often accompany me on adventures. I prefer to travel by car, but will gladly get on a plane and rent a car to see the scenery. I am a morning person which means I prefer early hikes, quiet sunrises, and cool mornings at the campsite. If wine or beer are involved, my preferences tend to be the darker the better. I'm the type of guy that will eat breakfast foods all day without shame and drink coffee well into the night. This, is life with Mike.
Below is a collage of our pets. The chubby black & white cat is Meatloaf (Lord Meatloaf), the skinnier black & white cat is Dealbreaker, and the handsome dog is Chewy! Life wouldn't be complete without these guys by our side.
Chewy is an Australian Shepherd-Rottweiler Mix. We adopted Chewy in February of 2013 and he was just over a year old. We are attached at the hip and I don't know what I’d do without him. He loves treats, walks, the snow, cold weather, and of course any attention he can get. He dislikes long hikes, swimming, FedEx trucks, and school buses. His bark is tougher than he is, which works well for solicitors but not so much for the delivery people.
Dealbreaker was originally my partner's cat from college, but I swear he loves me more now. He is missing most of his tail from a pre-adoption incident as well as part of his ear. He loves taking your spot on the couch, snuggling in bed, and meowing just because.
Meatloaf was adopted in the summer of 2013. His last vet check claims he weighed 24 lbs, but I think he's losing weight. He loves back scratches and wet food. He will not move if you accidentally nudge him in bed, and often asks to go outside to enjoy the porch.