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Explorer Spotlight: Austin Jackson

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Name: Austin Jackson | Age: 18 | Location: Portland, OR.

What’s your day job?

What are your favorite things to do outside?
Outside, I would have to say playing sports, hiking, taking photos, and adventuring with friends are my favorite things to do.

What first drew you to the outdoors?
I was first drawn to the outdoors after my mom had taken me hiking as a kid. Something really sparked my interest and I found it really cool that there was so many different formations and waterfalls that appeared on this earth. I am a hug waterfall enthusiast.

What’s your favorite hometown adventure? ...and, almost as important, where’s your favorite spot to get a beer after?
Pittock Mansion or the OMSI Dock are my go-to's around home. Super great to take pictures and a great first date place! I am not 21 yet, so I do not know where to get a beer, but I hear Portland has TONS of great places to go.

What’s your essential gear that never gets left at home?
My tripod, camera, and Hydroflask are on all of my adventures. Everything else is flexible, but I can't live without those three.

What’s your favorite trail snack?
Trail mix is my favorite trail snack. Not very original, but nothing beats some M&Ms and nuts. If I could choose something else not as healthy, I'd go with Skittles.

Any go-to soundtracks when you’re hitting the road?
Life is a Highway by Rascal Flatts and Summertime by Kenny Chesney. Great songs to throw on some sunglasses and roll the windows down to.

What’s the scariest thing that’s ever happened while you were adventuring? And/ or funniest?
The scariest thing to happen to me was at Gorton Creek Falls. I was with my best friend and we thought it wouldn't be that difficult. We went on a rainy day and ended up sliding down the mountain side and in to a stream. We got soaked but didn't feel it until we got back to the car because of the adrenaline rush.

Who’s your number one adventure partner-in-crime? Who inspires you?
My best friend Mason is my partner in crime. He doesn't take pictures, but he's always a great sport to go on crazy off-trail adventures and we have the best laughs together. My dad inspires me, even though he isn't big on the outdoors, he is such a hard worker and has really taught me respect in all aspects to everyone. And of course, we have our fair share of good laughs.

What are your top destinations for adventure travel?
Bend, Oregon is a great travel spot. Smith Rock, Tumalo Falls, and more. The Columbia River Gorge is another must. So many good waterfalls and great views. Everyone should check this out in their life.

What’s on the top of your must-do adventure list right now?
The top of my adventure list right now is going to Arizona and the Horseshoe Bend. I am hoping to go this summer and take pictures of the Milky Way.

Show us your most memorable photo, and tell us about it!
This is my most memorable photo at Rowena Crest. We sat for about an hour with my friends car at the bottom on the phone with me and we waited for another car to go down the hill. In the end, it turned out awesome with two light trails and I was super happy with it.

And last but not least…What’s your personal motto?
"Motivated by the fear of being average."

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

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