ASSISTANT GUIDING MANAGER - Naturalist Guide
Why did you come to Yosemite?
SM: To engage in my dream career and help others learn about and enjoy the majestic beauty of nature.
What are your hobbies?
SM: Backpacking, hiking, canoeing, rock climbing, yoga, meditation, sculpting, music, reading, and writing.
Tell us your craziest hiking story.
SM: The night of my ‘solo ordeal’ was long, cold, wet, and miserable. My Outward Bound crew and I were bone-weary, famished, and cheerless as we had endured two weeks of grueling hikes, pushed to our limits and beyond, and had had one of our members evacuated because she had driven herself so hard, she had developed ulcers on her feet that required hospitalization. Three nights previously I had been drenched, when the cheap plastic sheeting, that was our only defense from torrential downpours in this temperate rainforest where we were camping, tore asunder and spilled nearly 2 gallons of rainwater directly on me. Now I had a fever that was nearly 101° F and I was being drenched once again as the shelter I had fashioned from my rain poncho was leaking badly. Throughout the night I shivered and shook in a fevered delirium. In the morning I felt much better as my fever had broken, though I was still weak and light-headed. Having nothing better to do, as there were several more hours until the official end of my ‘ordeal’, and feeling the need to stretch my legs, I took off on one of the local trails. I was hungry, lightheaded, but kinda giddy too as the fingers of light from the clear morning sun made the woods look like a beautiful enchanted forest. As I ascended a particularly steep part of the trail, I saw a boy of perhaps 10 years of age come bounding down the trail towards me. As he got closer he called out “Are you Stevie Max?”! I was astonished and confused. I was unsure of my senses, thinking perhaps this was some kind of delusion, as I was deep inside of Pisgah National Forest in the Appalachian Mountains of North Carolina, far from home and anyone who could possibly know me. Seconds later I saw the rest of his group come into sight, including Derek, one of my very best friends ever. It turned out that they had run into my crew’s two guides, back at our camp a mile away. I was so happy to see my good friend, but through the 5 or 10 minutes of our reunion, I was not entirely sure that I was not hallucinating. Then just as quickly as they appeared, Derek and his group took off and were gone. Minutes later, with me still looking in the direction that they had vanished, it dawned on me how hungry I was and very much wished that I had had the sense to have asked for a granola bar or perhaps some yummy trail mix!
What's your favorite hiking meal or trail snack?
SM: When it's appropriate, wild berries or other food I can forage. When not, homemade trail mix including nuts, seeds, dried fruits, and bits of dark chocolate.
And what is your dream vacation?
SM: A yearlong backpacking adventure in Europe, Asia, and Africa