Don’t really remember when it all started, could have been my first pen-knife or maybe that shiny new tricycle with the cool silver tassels or even scaling the far reaches of the 18-foot high Japanese Maple in my front yard. This was the root of it all, the time that I began to appreciate and enjoy being outdoors and having my own crazy adventures. As a young lad my dad would take me along hunting and fishing where I was exposed to new places and spaces in the wild. As I grew a bit older, buddies and I would plan long day-trips on our cheap 10-speeds to parks that were many miles from our home. In high school I pursued a very successful and decorated career in cross-country running. Trail running was freedom from the daily stress and yet another way to enjoy cruising through the woods.
As my high school years came to an end, the hardy years of college began. With a year off from running and feeling the ill after-affects of cheap brew, I decided I needed to listen to that primal need to wander through the woods. With young but aching knees, I adopted a new mode of woodland cruising and in my first year of exploring the new sport of mountain biking, thrashed 3 bikes. The woods took on a whole new feel. Miles could be covered in minuets instead of hours.
Penn State became the backdrop for a steep learning curve. My local trails were tuff, but the Rothrock State Forest proved to be a more formidable challenge. Long climbs, more technical trails and hairy descents kicked my arse, but in the end they built a better rider. Rothrock became my home away from home and my buddies knew that’s where I’d be before classes, after classes and most every weekend! These guys saw my passion for the woods and soon crowned me with the name “Griz”. I spent days on end exploring the far reaches of the forest and became to know it intimately.
Frustrated with the idea of flippin’ burgers for extra cash at PSU, I took my knowledge of the forest and my love of cycling and set out to create the first mountain bike guidebook for State College. Homegrown and crude as it was, the guide sold well and introduced many folks to the killer riding in and around State College. I had spent the next few years racing the mountain bike scene in the early 90’s before coming back to the guidebook calling. Falcon Press hooked me up with a massive project of mapping out a statewide mountain bike guidebook of Pennsylvania’s finest. Lots of miles both on the road and in the woods paid off with the most comprehensive guide to woods riding in the state.
My vision continues with Griz Guides. Using my writing, riding, artistic and cartography skills I have embarked on a new adventure. Griz Guides are not only guidebooks for outdoor adventures, but also a documented inventory of our recreational areas in Pennsylvania. The goal of Griz Guides is two-fold. First I want to share great places and awesome spaces with those willing to invest in my guidebooks. Secondly and most importantly, I want to preserve these places within the context of the guidebook. The more folks we have using our natural resources typically leads to more folks preserving these areas and the formation of conservation volunteer groups. This preserves our trails and crags because the people take ownership through volunteer efforts. In the end it’s the same for us all… time well spent in the mountains.
Ride on, climb high!