100% Catholic. Ukrainian at the core. Born in Passaic, NJ. True loves include surfing, soccer, adventure, and hanging out with friends and family. Against all odds, I switched careers in my mid 30s- I quit my job, took a year of science courses at Passaic County Community College, and suffered through organic chemistry and core environmental health courses at East Tennessee State University for 3 years. I think I graduated a couple of days ago. If all is well, there should be a diploma on my pillow in my attic room in Clifton when I come home in October.
Reading National Geographic. Week-long camping trips with my family. Summers in the Catskills (the best mountains ever). And a trip out West with my dad, George, when I was 17. All of these experiences got me stoked about the wild places.
After college and living a year in Colorado, and dabbling with rock climbing and ice climbing, both ill-advised, I decided to take up outdoor sports which more down-to-Earth, such as backpacking.
In 1996, my brother Andrew and I set off on this very same trail on June 5, and made it 1,000 miles. We never intended to do the whole things. We got about 2/3 of the way we were supposed to: from Campo to Tuolomne Meadows in Yosemite National Park. We ENDURED the heat of Southern California, and by the time we got to the Sierras, it was a cake walk. The snows and raging spring melt rivers were mellow. It was just good living. We were eating cheddar cheese for lunch. And Starburts, as many as we wanted.
After a 10-year hiatus, in 2006, I walked the John Muir Trail, which is the gem of the PCT, with a girl I was dating at the time. Then a couple more years off. Last summer, I finally got out for a 10 day trip, this one solo, on the Long Path, NY and NJ’s very own. Surprisingly, the terrain was the most physically demanding of them all. And it got me thinking. Maybe I should give the PCT a shot.