When Bobcat was 10 years old he went on his first multi-day backpacking trips. He was a camper at Camp Catoctin in the Appalachian Mountains of Maryland. Memories of those first adventures include heavy packs, hot humid days and blistered feet. But what is even more memorable are the helpful older teenage campers and counselors who cheered him on, carried some of his gear and befriended him. These amazing mentors helped him through his first 20 mile day and one of the proudest moments of his young life. He learned powerful lessons about determination and refusing to quit.
19 years later, Bobcat completed a thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail and realized an almost to decade old dream. The next year he thru-hiked the Pacific Crest Trail, Southbound. On the long trails, Bobcat has usually hiked solo but absolutely loves chatting with hikers he meets along the way.
The wilderness isn’t the only place where Bobcat has done extensive hiking. In recent years he has also become quite involved in the growing sport of Urban Hiking; finding connection in all environments he explores:
“It’s through the liminal space between urban, rural and wilderness that the biggest lessons reveal themselves. I love walking on High Sierra granite. I love dusty dirt roads. I love sandy beaches and paved city streets and railroad beds and walking just about anywhere. Any time a car passes or I catch someone’s smile I feel like a superhero and a time traveller; walking without insulation, as naked to the world as possible in a land and time dominated by vehicles. I feel like a coyote trotting along the seams of civilization, free to sleep just about anywhere. I know I can survive in just about any circumstance. This is freedom! Walking is my way of life, it heals me spiritually, emotionally and physically; it provides balance and perspective. Walking is not just some activity I do to complete a long trail. Walking brings me the deepest joys and sorrows; it is love.”
When he isn’t hiking long trails, Bobcat is still hiking. He teaches 5-day environmental education programs for San Francisco Bay Area 5th and 6th graders at Exploring New Horizons Outdoor School. During these programs, students learn about redwood and coastal ecology through direct experience. It’s easy for Bobcat to see himself in the shoes of his students exploring the wonders of the natural world for the first time.
Home: Loma Mar, California
Outdoor Organization Involvement: Teacher/Naturalist at Exploring New Horizons Outdoor School
Favorite Training Grounds: The Santa Cruz Mountains, Henry Coe State Park and Mt. Diablo