Meet Rob. A long-time lover of Skout enjoying all the dirt the Pacific Northwest has to offer. You can find him hiking the trails of Central Oregon these days with his wife and two rescue poodle mixes. Most days he’s also behind his camera lens as he’s learning and practicing his love of the craft of photography. He’s a fun-loving, easy-going guy who has had hiking experiences from Vancouver down to Hawaii and many spots in between! Get ready to get lost and grow an itch for the woods of the Pacific Northwest!
What is your favorite sport/activity? I enjoy many sports - free diving, snowboarding, fly fishing, scuba diving, kayaking, rock climbing and even off-roading in my Skout-approved Toyota 4Runner -but the staple I always end up wrapping back around to is just your standard day hike or backpacking trip. I like to find obscure trails that are a bit more rigorous than normal, whether it's climbing a mountain or clocking some high mileage for the sheer adventure of finding how far I can push myself. I find myself often looking at satellite images, seeing a cool looking feature of the land deep in the woods or mountains of Oregon, and then finding a way to get there.
How did you get started? I mean, hiking is basically a long walk in the woods, but my joy for hiking really started as a young child. Growing up in Portland, Oregon, my parents would take me and my two sisters up into the forest around Mount Hood, where we learned to appreciate and enjoy the solitude of the forest. When I got through high school, I spent 5 years studying in British Columbia, and took many a weekend to explore the wilderness around Vancouver. I then moved to Hawaii to work as a snorkel tour guide, and learned to free dive/scuba dive, as well as put some mileage under foot in the jungle. All these experiences instilled this need for adventure, and i found the perfect place to enjoy this passion, in central Oregon. Bend is a gorgeous town that sits along the Deschutes river, on the edge of the high desert to the East and the foothills of the cascades to the West. From hot desert hikes and climbing at Smith Rock, to clambering up South Sister or Broken Top Mountains, or overnight hikes along the Pacific Crest Trail, there’s something for whatever mood I’m in.
What made you fall in love/keeps you going strong? My passion for hiking has paired well with an ever growing passion for photography. Most of the time I end up somewhere to get a picture that shows off the place I live. I’m honored to live in such a gorgeous creation, and it just humbles me to be in some of these wild places!
How do you find balance between work/training/other aspects of your life? I don’t, lol. If I’m not at work, my wife and I are hiking with our dogs, and my days off are spent somewhere wild. I’ll admit, sometimes I have an “in” day and just relax, but even then I’m usually getting a piece of the outdoors as I edit pictures.
What's your diet like? How do you stay on track when traveling? We tend to focus on whole food groups and “real” ingredients. We avoid processed foods, refined/added sugars, and dairy. Instead, we focus on single source ingredients like locally-sourced whole vegetables, some fruit, and some locally sourced meat. Every now and then we “reset” when we notice we’re getting snacks or letting our diet slip.
For traveling, a little planning goes a long way. Depending on where we’re going, we try to find local Farmers Markets, fruit stands or farm-to-table options. We also plan all our weekly meals at home, so we employ the same when traveling, and PLAN our food, rather than hope it comes to us...because then we end up eating out, feeling gross, and not able to enjoy our vacation or trip to it’s full potential!
What is your go-to gear for adventure day? I have a few staples - I always have water (hudropack), as well as a source for filtering water on the go if I run low (such as Katadyn products), a water-tight first aid kit, as well as fire starters, a source of light, and emergency blanket. I carry a pocket knife and, depending on the obscurity of the trail or area I’m exploring, a larger full-tang knife (in this case, I carry the Gerber Strongarm) capable of splitting small wood / digging / hammering / etc.
At any given point - whether hiking, at home, or in the office - I’ll always have 3-4 skout bars at arms length too. They’re such an excellent source of fuel that also fits within our dietary structure, they really are one of my favorite trail fuel options (and I’m not just saying that because I have to :) ).
What is the one thing you can't leave home without? Lately, my camera. Whether we’re driving up to Portland to visit family, or I’m headed to work during sunrise, or I’m headed to a mountain to watch the sunset - I have fallen in love with landscape and wildlife photography, and love taking any opportunity to grow in my craft! I have a very good backpack from LowePro that allows me to take my camera, a couple lenses, and tripod along with all the gear I mentioned above.
What are your favorite trails in the PNW? Oh goodness - there are SO many. If I’m OK being around other people, I really like doing the full loop around Smith Rock in Central Oregon, including the Burma Road. This is a 9.5 mile loop, and has some great elevation gains, which means the views are outstanding!
West of Bend are some iconic mountains of Oregon, and I LOVE the Broken Top trail or Green Lakes trail. Both, round trip, are about 10mi, and a good day hike.
If we were in Portland, where could we find you? When we visit family in Portland, we always make a point to hike out at Champoeg State Park - it’s not a long walk and certainly not strenuous, but the history of the area, the beauty of the Willamette River, and the liveliness of be first keep it fresh every time we go!
My favorite adventure companions are Jackie and Hans - our two rescue poodle mixes! I always told my wife I wanted a “Big dog to do big adventures with!”. Well, fate had different plans, and my wife Heather fell in love with a little ball of fury named Hans at Luvable Dog Rescue in Eugene, Oregon. We drove down the next day and he came home with us - all 10 pounds of him. Not the big dog I was hoping for! At first, he wanted nothing to do with me and I with him - he growled at me for the first week lol. However over time we learned to trust each other, and soon I became his favorite. He started joining me on trail hikes, and I realized he just NEVER slowed down - he’d jump over logs, clamber through dense brush, climb steep inclines or trudge through deep snow. He’s become my best adventure buddy and I wouldn’t trade him for ANYthing! We had him for four years of adventures, when he was joined by a buddy of his own! Last year we adopted Jackie from NW Dog Project. Like Hans, she was rescued from a hoarding situation in southern California. She’s learning to enjoy the adventures as well but is a bit timid still.
If you want to follow Han and Jackie’s story, feel free to check them out at @Paw_pals_adventures on Instagram!