I am an outdoorsman and explorer. Growing up in Nova Scotia, this consisted of carrying a fishing rod in the spring and summer and staying near water, while in the fall and winter I'd carry a shotgun for small game. It was never about fishing or hunting, it was about being outdoors, and my Dad and I would joke that we'd most certainly starve to death if we were actually trying to hunt for food. I also collected rocks (amethyst, agate, and other crystals) and had collections of animal skulls, wasp nests, and antlers. When I was a kid, I was the best frog catcher in the neighbourhood and have devised live traps for catching everything from birds to mice. I've white water rafted in a dinghy from Canadian Tire, backpacked 8 km carrying a coleman cooler between a friend and I, and snorkeled in lilypad patches to find fishing lures people snagged.
When I followed school and work out west, I adapted my hobbies to fit my new surroundings. I now do a ton of hiking, some scrambling, and a little fishing, backpacking, and snowshoeing. I want to get a packraft, canoe, and build an off-grid cabin. I like learning about what I see, whether that is flowers, tracks, or poop, and love solving little mysteries about the natural world. I do it all because that's who I am – an outdoorsman. I'm not a peak bagger, I just hike up peaks because the top is a logical stopping point. When I go fishing, I stop at the lake. I'm not a hiker, scrambler, or snowshoer either; those are just activities I currently enjoy while outdoors. I choose trips for the conditions, my mood, and a variety of inexact measures, but it's all designed to get me outdoors, exercising, exploring, and learning.
About this website:
While this website has evolved over time, its core purpose has never changed: It's a journal of my adventures, for me and my close friends and family. Just like any other journal, I do this to reflect on my life and so that I can go back and relive my adventures and dream about the future. In a way it has also captured my evolution as an outdoorsman and photographer, and it's nice to look back and see how far I've come.
When I first started hiking in the Rockies I used the photo albums and trip reports of others to supplement the guidebook directions, and so I felt it made sense to make my journal public. In time its popularity grew and people started to recognize me on trails – an interesting feeling for an introvert! This recognition helped me meet others who share my passion for the outdoors and make some good friends; a benefit of a website I never imagined, but one for which I am grateful. I've also heard from many about how my reports have assisted them in some way, and overall I've very much enjoyed sharing my adventures with the world.
Quite a lot has changed in the past couple years though. Whereas it once appeared most outdoorspeople were there to experience and connect with the natural world – motivations that breed a deep respect for conservation – many now seem to believe the world is there to be exploited for their own amusement. Extreme littering, chasing stressed wildlife with their dogs, or overcrowding trails and displacing wildlife instead of driving past a full parking lot; the content of this website was never meant for people like that!
Perhaps I'm arrogant to think my website has assisted these types, but just like manufacturers of non-biodegradable wipes bear some responsibility for the litter they cause, for example, the person posting GPS tracks and trip reports bears a degree of responsibility for increasing access to the areas they've traveled. I have therefore made the difficult choice to restrict access to some of my reports. I don't like this one bit, but I dislike it marginally less than the thought of contributing to the destruction of another alpine oasis.
If you'd like to contact me, I can be reached at mclay1234[at]gmail.com, or you can follow my public posts on Facebook by clicking the Follow button on my profile.