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Explorer Spotlight: John Maurizi

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Name: John Maurizi | Age: 52 | Location: Jersey City, NJ.

What’s your day job? 

Director of Campus Recreation.

What are your favorite things to do outside?

I spend most weekends hiking or mountain biking locally. Love rock climbing but the Gunks have been so crowded in recent years, I've opted for the trails for solitude. Surfing when I can, ice climbing when possible (if it can stay cold enough to sustain the hoards of people these days).

What first drew you to the outdoors?

Adventure was my first desire. Rock climbing in the early 80's left such an impression I began the branch out to other activities. These days, its more about silence, solitude and communing nature.

What’s your favorite hometown adventure? ...and, almost as important, where’s your favorite spot to get a beer after?

Although not for a few years now, rock climbing at the Gunks all day, rap off with headlamps and proceed directly to Bacchus in New Paltz for a pint of Guinness.

What’s your essential gear that never gets left at home?

A good pair of wool hiking socks, Leatherman skeletool and my always trusty Olympus TG-1.

What’s your favorite trail snack?

Cinnamon raisin bagel, Peter Pan honey roasted peanut butter, individual size cinnamon apple sauce. Apply peanut butter to bagel and use to scoop up apple sauce. YUM! Maybe more than a snack but can't resist with a nice view.

Any go-to soundtracks when you’re hitting the road?

Sick Puppies, Candlebox, The Refreshments, Something Corporate, Vivaldi four seasons.

What’s the scariest thing that’s ever happened while you were adventuring? And/ or funniest? 

Realizing I just hiked between a cub and mother bear in Redwoods National Park. Fortunately there was enough time for me to go before mother reached my position.

Who’s your number one adventure partner-in-crime? Who inspires you?

I'm a bit of a loner these days.  I have a small group of friends for big trips (Patagonia, Tibet) but I've been into the solo thing for a while now.  I take my inspiration from Fred Beckey whom I've been fortunate enough to meet several times.  His sense of exploration is unparalleled.  Although it had been more than a few years since our first brief meeting, I had run into him again in Talkeetna after stepping off the plane returning from Denali(1996).  I was dirty, scruffy and exhausted.  But wouldn't you know, Fred was sitting on the deck of Talkeetna Air taxi when I walked up and he remembered me right off the bat. An amazing explorer (not just because he remembered me, lol)!

What are your top destinations for adventure travel?

In no particular order, North Cascades, Moab, Angkor, Cambodia and Tibet. With the exception of Tibet, they are all on the calendar for 2017.

What's on the top of your must-do adventure list right now?

Explore more of the PCT, especially in the Cascades. A return trip in 2017 to Angkor. Long range, Bhutan and return to Tibet.

Show us your most memorable photo, and tell us about it!

My most memorable photo is from when I just arrived at Rongpuk Monastery in Tibet. Mount Everest in the background with prayer flags gently blowing in the wind, the sound of goats acknowledging my presence and the sweet aroma of incense vaguely about, was a lot to take in. The photo takes me back to that moment. Every time I see it, I want to return.

And last but not least…What’s your personal motto?

I like to quote Lansdon: You can't control the ocean of life....You can only learn to ride the waves with a little grace and style.  I may need to change this as I struggle with the grace part, lol.

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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