You could say that I started hiking before I was born. As the youngest of eight children, I would accompany my brothers and sisters on hikes through the woods, while my mother still carried me in her womb. One of our favorite places to hike was around a small lake at a state park only eight miles away. Naturally, I don’t remember much of those younger years, until I reached about seven, but nature and wilderness have been an integral part of my life since I was an infant to the present day.
I grew up on a family farm in north-central Pennsylvania. Several hundred acres of the surrounding land and woods were ours, and when I wasn’t in school, my days were most frequently spent ranging the hills, pastures, and forests, drawing maps of the areas I explored, and creating stories of my adventures and expeditions. I hiked and camped all through my elementary and high school years, and at seventeen, I spent a month exploring some of the incredible mountains and landscapes of Wales, Scotland, England, and Ireland. I had also spent time hiking in Arizona, New York, and southern Pennsylvania, and my love for the woods only continued to expand as I grew older.
When I graduated from college, I took a road trip alone to the White Mountains in New Hampshire and to Mount Katahdin in Maine. This trip confirmed for me that the wilderness would always be a part of my life and future. I hiked and camped off-trail, and even spent some time backpacking along the Canadian border. I continue to hike as often as possible, even if only for an hour. Just this past year, I spent some time hiking around Mont Blanc in southern France and breathing that alpine air for the first time.
I started this website first and foremost due to my own passion for the wild and a desire to share that passion with others. Additionally, I realized that I have some experience in the outdoors that many people lack, simply because I grew up in a part of the world where nature is right out your back door, and many people would find my first-hand knowledge useful. And of course, it goes without saying that when I’m not hiking and camping, I’m thinking about hiking and camping.
I recognize in myself a deep desire to roam, to set out with nothing but what I need to survive, to get lost, and to find my way home again. If nothing else, I hope to impart that desire to you. And if you already possess the urge to walk through the woods, then my mission here is to enable you to do so with sound information and advice, with the proper gear and appropriate preparation, all while preserving, through Leave No Trace principles, the gem that is our natural world.
All of the content on this site has been written and edited by me, as I would not share advice with you that I would not take for myself. If I do not have first-hand knowledge of a subject, I research it thoroughly and present my sources at the end of each post. I want you to know where the information comes from, and I want to give credit where credit is due.
I do my best to acquire products before writing reviews of them. However, when this is not possible, or there are simply too many products to try, I rely on the reports of customers who have tried the items themselves, as well as on feedback from my readers. Furthermore, I never recommend products that I would not be willing to purchase for my own use.
I want the information you find on this website to be reliable and trustworthy, so that your next outdoors experience will be both pleasant and rewarding.
So why read Explore New Trails?
- You want to feel fully prepared for your next excursion into Nature, both on the trail and back at camp.
- You want accurate, no B.S. reviews of gear based on actual customer experience.
- You want the focus of your time to be on the moment and the memories shared with your family and friends, rather than on logistics and gear.
- You want your friends, nieces, nephews, children, and grandchildren to develop the same love for camping and hiking that you already possess, and to teach them the best practices for life in nature.
If you don’t know where to start, you can take the first step by reading any of the articles posted here. I wish you the best in your next adventure, and I’ll leave you with this quote from John Muir:
"Between every two pine trees there is a door leading to a new world."
Founder & Content Creator