My name is Jeff Clark. If you hang around here for awhile, you will learn that I am passionate about hiking and the beauty that Mother Nature blesses us with. Living in Western North Carolina as I do, I am in an area that is a Mecca for hiking and biking enthusiasts. I am a mere half hour drive from the Blue Ridge Parkway, and just another half hour beyond that to mountain summits that exceed 6000 feet elevation. Pisgah and Nantahala National Forests are right out my door, and there are thousands of miles of trails found within them. Yep, I’m in the right place.
I’ve had two different careers in my time on this beautiful Earth. For the first thirty years of my working life I was involved with Information Technologies, spending the latter stages as a system administrator and performance analyst for large mainframe and mid-range computing environments. My 2nd career has been in retail sporting goods, first in management, then in online fulfillment for an outdoors outfitter. I will be officially retired as of April 1, 2014
— and no, that isn’t an April Fool’s joke.
With my new-found time and freedom, I volunteer for the National Park Service on the Blue Ridge Parkway and recently on a phenology project at Great Smoky Mountains National Park. With budget cuts in Washington affecting the services at our national parks and national forests, it is incumbent upon volunteers to preserve and protect our treasured landscapes and wild places for future generations. I am also a member of several conservation groups in Western North Carolina.
As I spend more time away from work, I enjoy the arts. My long time favorite musician is Todd Rundgren, but my favorite styles are smooth jazz and R&B. You will likely find me listening to the Pat Metheny Group, The Rippingtons, Fourplay, or Sade. I like to read Leon Uris, Michael Chabon and many others who write historical fiction. I don’t know very much about fine art and poetry, but with the help of a caring friend, I am working toward opening that side of my brain more completely. I play golf, travel and explore, love the Internet and its potential; but my favorite hobby is hiking. Here is a recent interview I did about hiking.
Be sure also to take a look at my storytelling page on the captivating Maptia, a beautiful way to tell stories about places. It is a new platform designed for thoughtful, inspiring stories that make us want to get out there and explore the world, and each story has its own unique map. A story could be told by someone living just over the road or traveling many thousands of miles away. It could be told by you.
That’s the reason for this website. I hope to share the experiences I have on frequent hikes in the mountains and forests of western North Carolina. Whenever I venture out into a new wilderness, I like to be prepared. I do my homework by searching the Internet for trail descriptions, maps, safety concerns, degree of difficulty, and length and elevation gain information. Sometimes, there just isn’t much out there. I will try to add to the trail and hiking documentation for this area.
Here’s a little trailer my brother, the other Internet Brother, put together. Don’t laugh too hard.