Outbound Collective logo

Explorer Spotlight: Evan Thomas

By: The Outbound Collective + Save to a List

Name: Evan Thomas | Age: 41 | Location: Ridgecrest, CA

What’s your day job?
Aerospace Engineer, a.k.a Rocket Scientist

What are your favorite things to do outside?
My most favorite is getting to the top of a peak, whether it be an easy walk-up, or something more demanding. But, I like a lot of activities from hiking, backpacking, rock climbing, dirt biking, cycling, photography and even geocaching now and then!

What first drew you to the outdoors?
It just came natural as a kid for as long as I can remember. I loved being outside, playing in the woods, etc. I got away from it for a little while in my teens, but my wife got me back into it almost 20 years ago when we started our Sierra Nevada explorations, which is still our favorite place to be.

What’s your favorite hometown adventure? ...and, almost as important, where’s your favorite spot to get a beer after?
Well, since we're pretty close to Death Valley and the Sierra Nevada, those are our favorite day trips from Ridgecrest. This time of year it's Death Valley with a stop at the Stovepipe Wells Saloon on the way home. Best burgers ever, with my favorite beer on tap, Mammoth IPA 395. Plus, if you've ever get a hankering for a prickly-pear cactus margarita, that's the place to go.

What’s your essential gear that never gets left at home?
After my underwear, probably my camera – they're both with me regardless of the activity.

What’s your favorite trail snack?
Probably these healthy homemade chocolate energy bars we make at home packed with superfoods like raw cacao, cashews and chia seeds. Healthy, yet tasty and packed with energy. But, those six slices of pizza I brought with me on a long hike/climb last summer sure hit the spot!

Any go-to soundtracks when you’re hitting the road?
Crystal Method and Pink Floyd for coming and going in the desert. U2's Joshua Tree and Fleetwood Mac's Greatest Hits for coming and going to the Sierra. Don't ask me why, but those always fit the mood for us.

What’s the scariest thing that’s ever happened while you were adventuring? And/or, the funniest?
Scariest - having to cross the Kings River on our way back from Mt Ruskin in the Sierra. Bear hugging a slippery log while raging water was trying to suck us off, with a slip meaning certain death.

Funniest – not seeing anybody for days in the Sphinx Lakes area of the Sierra, until standing on a boulder taking a pee right when some folks decide to walk around the corner.

Who’s your number one adventure partner-in-crime? Who inspires you?
My wife and my wife, she's one tough cookie and my most reliable, fun partner

What are your top destinations for adventure travel?
Mojave desert in the winter season and the Sierra Nevada in the summer season. But, we have a tendency to get a little too obsessed with both those areas and probably need to branch out a little more often!

What’s on the top of your must-do adventure list right now?
I've got New York Butte on my mind right now with a traverse from Forgotten Pass in the Inyo Mountains, ~14 mile hike with about 8000' of gain. Hopefully, this weekend if conditions look good!

Show us your most memorable photo, and tell us about it!
This photo of Arrow Peak over Bench Lake for many reasons – great trip, great company, beautiful and remote location with lots of solitude, one of my favorite places in the Sierra, first time going over one of the High Passes, which start way down in the desert before climbing up and over the Sierra crest, fun climb with some of the best views Sierra peaks have to offer, and I could probably keep going … so many good memories from that summer, in general, and this photo brings 'em all back.

And last but not least…What’s your personal motto?
Hmmmm, never really had one, but maybe my most common online screen name describes things best - “ExploreABitMore” ;-)

Check out more of Evan's adventures here.

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!

Do you love the outdoors?

Yep, us too. That's why we send you the best local adventures, stories, and expert advice, right to your inbox.


A golden happy hour on the California coast

Hannah Sibley

Lake Tahoe's trifecta: 3 Days of adventure at Zephyr Cove

Ranz Navarro

10 Ways to make camping in Yosemite National Park even better

Meghan White

Review: Danner Mountain Light boots in Yosemite National Park

Hannah Sibley

Meet TINCUP Whiskey ambassadors Renan Ozturk and Taylor Rees

The Outbound Collective