Better known as “Mountain Man” among hiking circles, I’ve completed over 10,000 miles of long-distance hiking on some of America’s greatest trails, all with a pair of my beloved Chacos underfoot. But it’s no secret who I have to thank for my love of wilderness adventure: my dad.
That's me—the little guy in the blue hoodie. To be more precise, it was me nearly 40 years ago and, in a way, it’s where my story begins—on my dad's back in Allegany State Park. It’s an image that reminds me of everything that has happened since that day, of who I am, and of who I might have been without the influence of the man in the plaid shirt. Long before I was an engineer, a boyhood fascination with the world that exists where roads end and trails begin had taken root.
My dad and I shared many things, but the most lasting was a love of wild places and the enjoyment of them in all its forms. It’s that shared passion that ultimately led me to create Stone and Sky in 2016, a name inspired by the scenery of the High Sierra. What began as an effort to connect people with places they may never see or experience for themselves through photos and writing, has grown into much more.
While I’ve had the privilege of hiking many long trails, and even completing the Triple Crown, I now divide my time between hiking my own trails while helping others to find and hike theirs, whether it be 3 miles long or 3,000. In 2022, Stone and Sky launched an official consulting service to do just that, along with a full-blown store of wall art where people can now take a piece of trail photography home with them.
I like to think that we're best defined by the dreams we're able to will into reality, and as my mind wanders into a future of new dreams on new trails, and sharing that passion with aspiring adventurers, my thoughts often drift back to that man in the plaid shirt and the appreciation for wilderness he instilled in me. Although it's been more than 14 years since he passed away, our shared connection to the natural world lives on, as I carry his dreams along with my own.
I often reflect on our common thread, a thread that continues to drive me to seek out new adventures and is best summarized like this:
Mountains are altars where I strive to perfect myself physically and spiritually. In their presence I attempt to understand my life, to exorcise vanity, greed, and fear… I view my past, dream of the future, and with unusual acuteness I experience the present moment… On each journey I am reborn.
Along with my wife Emily, a.k.a. ”Ace”, I currently live as a full-time traveler, writer, and adventure consultant, willing our own dreams into reality while helping others to do the same.
~Jeff Brownscheidle ("Mountain Man")