Jon's Adventure Biography
At my high school, there was a requirement to take at least one art credit to graduate. I had grown up convinced that I was not good at art, and that I hated it because of that, so I just took Photo 1 because I thought it would be the easiest route out. This ended up snowballing into me taking photo classes every year for the rest of high school, spending most of my days buried in the dark room, developing film. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with this passion, but when I came to Colorado for school, I found that it was more than just an outlet. The adventures I was experiencing and people that I met were all stories that captivated me. I realized that I didn’t care about art if it didn’t connect me to people and their stories. I realized that storytelling can change lives if it’s done well. Along the way, I had to leave behind the insecurity that I wasn’t and couldn’t be an artist. I came to the realization that to make art, or to tell a story, requires vulnerability always. There is no such thing as the perfect picture, poem, story, sketch, design, song etc. And people will always notice the things that aren’t perfect in your work first. At a certain point I had to be ok with that. To put this in cliche terms - the journey is more important than the destination. And that is why I use art as an excuse to take me to places I’ve never been before. To mountains I never thought I could climb, countries I never thought I’d see, people I never thought I could have a connection with. I have found that my adventures are as much internal as they are external, that each new experience takes me to a place inside myself I’ve never been. The wilderness will always be my home. It’s where my favorite connections happen, where I truly experience my personality in its fullness. I intend to find ways to serve people through my adventures, whether that is through storytelling over a long period of time, or just lending a hand for a minute.
Backpacker, Snowboarder, Surfer, Minimalist
Lone Eagle Peak
This was a three day backpacking trip in the middle of the Summer. Me and five friends hiked up to Mirror Lake on a Friday, climbed Lone Eagle Peak on Saturday, and hiked back Saturday. I had actually seen Lone Eagle from the top of Apache, a 13er right next to it, and wanted to do it for a while. The peak is crazy, just a 30 or 40 foot walkway (2 feet wide) with a ton of exposure on both sides.
Northwestern Corner of Colorado
My friend Jordan heard there was a pack of wild horses in a wildness area north of a tiny town called Maybell in the far North Western Corner of Colorado. We drove up in a truck pulling a camping trailer, accompanied by two friends on off-road motor bikes, and spent the weekend looking for these horses, as well as cooking incredible food around a campfire, shooting targets, and telling stories. We ended up finding a wild mustang, colt, and mare on the last day we were there, and sped down the dirt road as they galloped along side of us. An unforgettable experience.
Three buddies and I decided to go on a trip to Moab at a time no one else would be there - a rainy weekend in the middle of February. The best way to describe this weekend is “Gritty”. It rained almost the whole time, which almost got us killed when our Jeep began to slide towards the edge of a cliff when the slope of the road glanced outwards a bit. The wheels were so caked in mud, there was almost no traction. We explored Canyonlands National Park in the pouring rain for a whole weekend. It was cold, muddy, uncomfortable, and unforgettable.
I am heading out on some HUGE adventures in the next four months. Some of the biggest of my entire life.
First, I am spending 10 days in Costa Rica, then immediately to Cuba for another 10. Surfing is currently illegal in Cuba, so we're connecting with some amazing activists that are working with the government to legalize and legitimize surfing in the country, and get Cuban surfers into the 2020 Olympics. Insanely stoked on this.
Then later in April, I am going to be in Nepal for a week and Bangladesh for almost 3 weeks. We'll be teaching kids how to surf in Bangladesh, as well as hosting a surfing competition for the locals there. In Nepal, we're connecting with some key adventure partners and looking for a place to potentially plant a Surfing The Nations base there.
Then it's back to Hawaii for a few years to continue my work with STN and continue developing myself as a surfer.
Jon's Favorite Climbing Meals
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Jon's meal preparation hacks
Backpacker's Pantry is the bread and butter of an easy, minimal trip to the wilderness. Being a photographer, I am always carrying a bunch of heavy camera gear, so I am usually looking to make everything else as light as possible. Usually I’ll bring some shredded cheddar cheese along to beef up some of the meals. Cheese on trail is always clutch no matter how you use it.
The other awesome thing about BP meals, is that you usually eat them with a couple other people who have them, which usually turns into a sort of puff-puff-pass style meal (i.e. backcountry potluck). Then there is usually a vote on which one is best, which usually is the beef stroganoff (not surprising).