Explorer Spotlight: Jon Mattrisch


Name: Jon Mattrisch | Age: 26 | Location: Milwaukee, WI.

What’s your day job? 

I’m a PR Counselor at agency in Wisconsin. I do both Public Relations and Social Media for clients.

What are your favorite things to do outside?

In terms of exercising, I love running, biking and inline skating. Other than that, I LOVE camping. I grew up tenting several times a year, mainly during the summers. Pop-up campers and tenting were a family hobby every year. Fishing, too! Can’t go wrong with that. And of course, hiking. I always loved going out into the woods wherever we were camping at and exploring everything I could.

What first drew you to the outdoors?

The sense of freedom and exploration. Being outdoors is one of the best ways to escape from everyday life and experience all that nature has left for you. It’s not cliché, it’s fact.

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

I love urban exploration. Being in Milwaukee, and in an industrial neighborhood at that, there’s tons of areas with abandoned factories and warehouses. You never know what you’re going to come across, but odds are, there will be hidden treasure waiting for you. And yes, most importantly, getting a beer at Steny’s makes all the dirt and grime from exploring abandoned areas worth it.

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

My camera. Without a doubt. It’s become a part of me whenever I get outdoors and explore.

What’s your favorite trail snack?

CLIF Bars. Those things are damn delicious!

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

Yes! I LOVE The Bright Light Social Hour. They’re easily my favorite band. From Austin, TX, these guys have a killer psychedelic sound and just rock the hell out of all their songs. Their debut album from early 2015, Space Is Still the Place, is usually on repeat for me.

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

At Lion’s Den Gorge, one of my first adventures, I decided head out onto this tiny, narrow bluff that jutted out from the ledge that was about 30 feet above the lakeshore below. It was easily the sketchiest thing I’ve done and I nearly didn’t make it back to the solid ledge above me. Funniest would be getting absolutely drenched by a GIANT wave when up in the Apostle Islands this spring. Did not see it coming and it left me soaked from the chest down for the rest of the day. Knocked my buddy over, too.

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

My buddy Dan. He’s always up to tag along on any adventure I go on. He’s my oldest friend and will continue to be by my side on any new adventures I take. Honestly, the rest of The Outbound’s community of Explorers is who inspires me. They make me want to do nothing but explore. And that’s a good thing.

What are your top destinations for adventure travel?

I would definitely have to say the Apostle Islands at the northern tip of Wisconsin. Stunning scenery and incredibly views. Second to that is Devil’s Lake in Bariboo, WI. It’s one of the state’s most amazing natural areas.

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

Iceland. 100%. Nothing comes close that that.

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

This was taken at Devil’s Lake, on a set of abandoned railroad tracks. After a long day of hiking with my girlfriend, and after climbing down the side of a rocky, boulder-filled mountain, we walked back along these tracks to the beginning of our hike. The tracks follow alongside the lake and offer an absolutely breathtaking view. Combined with the peak fall colors, this is easily one of my favorite, most memorable pictures from an incredible day.

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

Life’s too short to be mad or upset. Find what makes you happy and make the most of it!


Published: December 16, 2016

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations.

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