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Explorer Spotlight: Parker Dodson

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Name: Parker Dodson | Age: 25 | Location: Fayetteville, Arkansas

What’s your day job?
College Student / Gearhead Outfitters

What are your favorite things to do outside?
Hiking, Camping, Photography, Scuba Diving, Running, Hunting, Fishing

What first drew you to the outdoors?
Hunting with my dad when I was younger.

What’s your favorite hometown adventure? ...and, almost as important, where’s your favorite spot to get a beer after?
Hiking along the Buffalo River / Any of the local breweries in Northwest Arkansas.

What’s your essential gear that never gets left at home?
Camera, Coffee/Water Bottle, and my Adventure Playlist

What’s your favorite trail snack?
Beef Jerky

Any go-to soundtracks when you’re hitting the road?
I actually have an ever growing playlist that’s up to 18 hours long now; it has a variety of artists and styles but mostly artists like Lord Huron, Mumford & Sons, etc.

What’s the scariest thing that’s ever happened while you were adventuring? And/or, the funniest?
My scariest and funniest moments were actually the exact same incident. It was when I was shooting a waterfall and tried to cross some wet rocks sticking out of a deep pool of water to get a better angle. Lets just say my body was soaked but my camera was just fine!

Who’s your number one adventure partner-in-crime? Who inspires you?
I have a list of different friends that I go hiking with all the time. And as far as inspiration it would have to be my parents who taught me to always do my best at whatever I’m doing.

What are your top destinations for adventure travel?
That list is probably too long to type up! But I would like to visit a lot of places here in the U.S. like Yosemite and the PNW. But if I had to list a few world wide I’d say Patagonia, The Himalayas, The Amazon, and I’d love to dive the Great Barrier Reef.

What’s on the top of your must-do adventure list right now?
The top of my adventures right now would be to do a road trip here in the U.S. Starting here in Arkansas to the Grand Canyon, through Yosemite, up the west coast to the PNW. After that I’d head over to the Yellowstone area, down the Rockies through colorado and then back home. Would love to just camp and hike along the way as well as fill up as many memory cards as I can with photos.

Show us your most memorable photo, and tell us about it!
This is without doubt my most memorable photo. This was my first hike to Hawksbill Crag (Whitaker Point) here in Arkansas. I had just started to get into photography and decided I needed to do some more exploring. I decided one night at about 11pm to get up and go catch the sunrise out there. So, I woke up a few hours later and drove and hiked through the dark to reach the point in time. This is the view that I was greeted with when I came around the corner and it changed everything for me. I’ve been hiking and photographing ever since! There’s something special when you make that connection with Nature for the first time.

And last but not least…What’s your personal motto?
My personal motto is probably this. No matter how ugly life gets, Nature always reminds us how beautiful life really is.

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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