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Explorer Spotlight: Josh Packer

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Name: Josh Packer | Age: 32 | Location: Ammon, Idaho

What’s your day job?
CPA at a public accounting firm

What are your favorite things to do outside?
Hiking, taking photos, whitewater rafting, spending time with my family

What first drew you to the outdoors?
Taking photos of landscapes drew me outdoors, because I love capturing those perfect moments out in nature. Photography freezes time and allows me to share my obsession of nature with everyone across the world.

What’s your favorite hometown adventure? ...and, almost as important, where’s your favorite spot to get a beer after?
My favorite hometown adventure is just outside my hometown near Swan Valley, Idaho at Fall Creek Falls, which is about 45 minutes away. I first discovered Fall Creek Falls with my brother last year, and it's one of the best hidden gems of Idaho. I keep coming back, because there is always something new to explore on the falls. My favorite spot to go afterwards has to be to the famous Rainey Creek Country Store to grab a square ice cream cone.

What’s your essential gear that never gets left at home?
I always have my Nikon D3200 DSLR camera, iPhone 6, and camera and phone tripod, because you never know when an awesome moment is about to happen. I learned that early in my photography adventures and have been thankful I had a camera with me many times. I always have my TEVAS with me as I spend a lot of time in creeks and rivers taking photos. I actually wear them hiking most the time, so I don't have to switch shoes. I have had them forever, and they still work as well as the day I bought them.

What’s your favorite trail snack?
Trail mix because it's the perfect blend of nuts, M&Ms, and raisins, and it gives me the energy to keep going.

Any go-to soundtracks when you’re hitting the road?
I usually have downloaded some audiobook from my local library that I listen to using the app Overdrive. I love listening to books while I drive, since I don't have much time to read anymore as I am always looking for a new adventure. When I don't have an audiobook to listen to, I always throw on my easy-going music like Jack Johnson, Ray Lamontagne, Norah Jones, and Iron & Wine.

What’s the scariest thing that’s ever happened while you were adventuring? And/or, the funniest?
Here's the funniest yet scariest thing that has happened to me on my adventures. I was once out taking photos in Missouri right after the sunset, and when I turned around there was a skunk staring me down on its hind legs no more than five feet away. I slowly backed away as it decided to leave me alone and went on its merry way down the gravel road. I consider myself very lucky that I didn't get skunked.

Who’s your number one adventure partner-in-crime? Who inspires you?
My two older boys, Caleb and William, are my partners-in-crime even though they are still pretty young. Caleb has his own digital camera and loves taking photos using my tripod. I usually take them to the river, so they can throw rocks in the water, which they could do for hours and hours. Once they're a little older, I'll start taking them on some longer adventures. My wife, Sarah, inspires me to become better, because she has always worked hard to excel at whatever she does. Also, she is supportive of my love of photography and going on adventures.

What are your top destinations for adventure travel?
Grand Teton National Park and Yellowstone National Park are within a couple of hours of my house, making it easier to go on short adventures, because I have a full-time job and family. These parks provide some awesome hikes and/or quick pit stops to photograph amazing scenery and wildlife.

What’s on the top of your must-do adventure list right now?
Backpacking and camping at Glacier National Park.

Show us your most memorable photo, and tell us about it!
I have a pilot friend that I asked to fly me about the Grand Teton one morning. I had never been in a small aircraft before, so I was a little nervous as we ascended up into the sky. However, once we were up, and I could see the Grand Teton off in the distance, I knew it was going to be a great morning. I've lived in Idaho most of my life, but I had never seen it from this viewpoint at sunrise as seen here. The mist over the Snake River was amazing, the greens of the mountains and valleys were beautiful, and the silhouettes of the Tetons were unreal. This was a perfect moment that I won't soon forget.

And last but not least…What’s your personal motto?
Life is good. Enjoy life and make the most of every moment. Too often we get worried about other things that don't really matter, and we forget to enjoy life and the beauty surrounding us.

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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