Explorer Spotlight: Zak Stone

Name: Zak Stone | Age: 38 for now | Location: Salem, Oregon

What’s your day job?
Commercial Real Estate and land development.

What are your favorite things to do outside?
To sit and stare. I love finding a spot with a view or waterfall or even a fern covered hill side and just listen. At that point I feel connected and have a personal attachment to that spot, and I'll never forget it.

What first drew you to the outdoors?
I guess it started with my parents and grandparents. At a young age I was always with them on fishing or hunting trips. And my dad took me backpacking and deep mountain camping where we needed horses and rode 15-20 miles to camp.

What’s your favorite hometown adventure? and, almost as important, where’s your favorite spot to get a beer after?
Going to the boat club down on the Willamette river. After some hikes I like to stop at the Alibi Bar and Grill in West Salem and Walery's Pizza. They are the two musts for after adventure stops and refuels.

What’s your essential gear that never gets left at home?
Something to start a fire, my Polar Stuff Magic Tarpit. It comes in handy so often.

What’s your favorite trail snack?
My Favorite snack while on the trail is trail mix of course. Perfect mix of flavors.

Any go-to soundtracks when you’re hitting the road?
When driving I like to just listen to stuff like Blackmill or sometimes 80s and 90s jams help keep the drive going. Good sing-a-longs.

What’s the scariest thing that’s ever happened while you were adventuring? And/or, the funniest?
Scariest trip was my first time to Boca Cave up near Triangulation Peak. My buddy Sean Fair and I couldn't reach the real trail head so we started on another trail (Cheat Creek). We took the trail for about a mile then using an app on my iPhone (Topo maps) we bushwhacked straight up the ridge. Once we reached the cave and enjoyed the view we figure we could go straight down the ridge and not have to back track. We found a creek and started following it then the creek disappeared down a 60-80ft cliff. We were stuck. So we side hilled through the brush and came to this muddy open spot that had the cliff right below us. We couldn't go up and around we had to hand and feet crawl across it. Once we reached the other side I said I'm never doing that again. The soil was so mushy and sliding with each step. I don't know how we made it across.

Who’s your number one adventure partner-in-crime? Who inspires you?
My buddies Sean, Brad and Jesse.

What are your top destinations for adventure travel?
Anywhere with a view of Mt Jefferson, Sparks Lake, Alvord Desert, and anywhere on the Oregon Coast.

What’s on the top of your must-do adventure list right now?
Sandy Glacier Caves.

Show us your most memorable photo, and tell us about it!
Camping at Big Lake with my wife for our anniversary and I got the International Space Station flying over Mt Washington with the Milky Way and the camp that was near us. It was such a beautiful night for shooting star photos and I had so many things line up to capture this moment in time.

And last but not least…What’s your personal motto?
I'd say my go to motto is "If you didn't have a bad day, you wouldn't know what a good day felt like". I tell myself that when the weather does what it wants and not what I thought it was going to do.

Find more of Zak's adventures here.

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Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph.