Northern New Jersey, less than an hour from New York City, isn’t a stereotypical opening scene to a story about falling in love with the great outdoors. Maybe it was the lack of towering mountains or rolling valleys that became the foundation of my obsession with exploring places I had only heard about. Who’s to say? I’d like to think so.
When given the opportunity to explore somewhere new, there’s nothing I enjoy more than sharing that experience with friends and family. Sometimes that means sharing a tattered tent with front row seats to an erupting volcano or donning headlamps for a late night hike after a summit sunset. Most of the time though, it means sharing these places and experiences by telling stories and showing photos.
Nearly every one of my favorite photos are the end result of unplanned events. They are the answers to questions like…
“How much further can we get the truck down this trail?”
“Do you think the summit is above these rain clouds?”
“What happens if it erupts while we’re up there?”
And I think those moments of serendipity or just dumb luck make each one of these photos unique and also so similar in many ways. There was only ever a loose plan that wasn’t truly followed. There wasn’t any control over what might happen next. And somehow, everything seemed to come together in a fleeting moment, preserved in a photograph.
I hope these photos encourage you to explore a little further than originally planned, take the trail not so worn by others, and bring supplies to spend the night because the adventure might just be so great you won’t want it to end.