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Explorer Spotlight: Dan Moe

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Name: Dan Moe | Age: 29 | Location: Cascadia

What’s your day job?
Bread baker. I clock in every day at 4am and spend my mornings making fresh artisan loaves at Baker & Spice, a locally-owned bakery in Portland. I've been a baker for almost 7 years now.

What are your favorite things to do outside?
Anytime I can get in a walk, I'm a happy guy. The longer the hike, the better. Beyond that, I love hanging the hammock and passing an afternoon with a good book, or going for an alpine swim in the heat of the summer.

What first drew you to the outdoors?
Growing up in the Pacific Northwest, it's impossible to ignore the natural beauty that surrounds us. I was lucky enough to have lots of family members that enjoyed being outdoors in different capacities, from gardening to fishing, and that basic love of all things green and blue rubbed off on me. The high school I attended also required two different week-long backpacking trips on the Olympic Peninsula, which is where I learned how much I love being in the "back and beyond".

What’s your favorite hometown adventure? ...and, almost as important, where’s your favorite spot to get a beer after?
If I need my quick fix in a hurry, I'll head to the Columbia River Gorge and pick a spot on my map that I haven't seen yet. The accessibility of the Gorge and the payoff for anyone willing to put in some hard miles make it my favorite afternoon getaway. Once my legs are sore and my boots are soaked, I head to the Walking Man Brewery in Stevenson, Washington for a pint of whatever's on tap. Or whatever Andy's having.

What’s your essential gear that never gets left at home?
I try to never leave the house without the "Ten Essentials", but an extra pair of socks in a Ziplock bag and a headlamp are must-haves any time I'm headed our for adventure. I can make a quick stop for most things (or improvise the rest), but not having these two things can really ruin an outing if the conditions call for them.

What’s your favorite trail snack?
Orange Gatorade and Chocolate Donettes (Hostess only!). My dad took me on a grand total of maybe 4 hikes as a kid, but for some reason, every pre-dawn drive to the trailhead was accompanied by these two snacks. Whether it's nostalgia or just a really good combo, most of my adventures these days still start the same way. I know some people are reading this and deciding to deny that they know me, but there's something to be said for that sweet taste of nostalgia.

Any go-to soundtracks when you’re hitting the road?
Oh man, got awhile? Eat a Peach by the Allman Brothers Band, Tom Petty's entire catalog, Pearl Jam's early work, and Todd Snider's live recordings. It's killing me to leave it this simple, but I could go on for days on Road Trip Music Theory. Nebraska. Wide Swing Tremolo. Stop it, Dan.

What’s the scariest thing that’s ever happened while you were adventuring? And/or, the funniest?
Breaking my leg last summer was pretty scary. I was on my first full day of a 3-day Mt Hood circuit on the Timberline Trail when I slipped on a washed out portion of trail and slid 20 feet down a steep bank. I cracked my fibula and had to hike down 8 miles back to the Ramona Falls trailhead, where an amazing young woman was able to help me back to my car and my wife (of two weeks) came and got me. It could have been much, much worse, but each step coming down the mountain was pretty terrifying.

Who’s your number one adventure partner-in-crime? Who inspires you?
From some epic adventures with my best buds, to so many memorable road trips around the Pacific Northwest with my incredible wife, I have an amazing cast of co-adventurers that are always up for joining me or having me along with them. But when I'm serious about pushing some limits and reaching some heights, I call my little brother Brian. We've taught each other a lot over the years, and inspired each other to take on lives that we're proud to call our own. He is one cool dude and I hope he keeps pushing me for years to come.

What are your top destinations for adventure travel?
The Olympic Coast is my absolute favorite place to get away and play: it's a wild and rugged nirvana of old growth rain forests, endless driftwood beaches, and colossal sea stacks. Add to that access to some pretty incredible mountains and the occasional historic backwater town, the Wet Coast is where I'd put my dream cabin, given the chance. Another go-to favorite is the Gifford Pinchot National Forest in Southern Washington. Tons of great forest service roads, even more trails, and lots of great lakes to camp and fish on.

What’s on the top of your must-do adventure list right now?
Well right now I'm gearing up for my Pacific Crest Trail thru-hike, which begins April 15, so that occupies a big chunk of my adventure focus. I've been getting ready for this for so long now, it seems too good to be true that it's actually about to happen. I'll be gone for at least 5 months, covering over 2600 miles, continually trying to find a balance between covering around 25 miles a day and documenting the whole thing. I can't wait.

Show us your most memorable photo, and tell us about it!
I actually didn't take this photo, as I had handed the camera to my buddy Josh a few minutes prior and found this shot when I got home. That's me (closest) and my buddy Kyle in the Purcell Mountains in British Columbia. I had come up with a crazy backpacking/road trip plan and they went right along with it. We were backpacking from one backcountry hut to another, and Josh snapped this photo right after gaining the pass and beginning to look into the valley below for the cabin. We never found it, had to backtrack over the pass back to the original cabin, got lost along the way, found the cabin occupied, and hiked all the way out to our car. We were in way over our heads and loved (almost) every minute of it. We made enough smart choices in the end to make up for our (mostly my) bad ones. This photo always takes me back to the jubilation of blazing our own trail and achieving a moment we had been dreaming of for months...followed by the agony of realizing how thin the line is between confidence and arrogance.

Also that photo of me holding Andy Best's flashlight. That dude never carries his own gear... (take this out if you want, i figured it'd be a good way to use Andy's Mt Marg shot again)

And last but not least…What’s your personal motto?
"The purpose of life is to find your gift. The secret is to give it away."

I found out recently that I've been misquoting this to myself for some time, but I think I like mine better. No two people are alike, and we all have our quirks and eccentricities, but we're all capable of doing great things. Explore the world, explore your possibilities, and find out what contribution you can make. Then shout it from the rooftops.

Check out a few more Dan's favorites below and his adventures here.

Hall of Mosses in Olympic National Park

My wife at Tamanawas Falls near Mt. Hood

Santiam River in the Oregon Cascades

My brother on top of Mt St Helens drinking a Rainier with Rainier in the background

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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