Hiker of the Week: Jason Cleghorn aka @JasonCleghorn

First off thanks so much to Hike by Faith, I am honored to have been featured as Hiker of the Week. A little bit about me.  My name is Jason Cleghorn and I’m originally from Tallassee, Alabama. I am a veteran of the US Army and graduated from Auburn University.

I grew up in a very rural environment on a 10 acre farm on a larger pine plantation which my father and his family had lived nearby for about the last 100 years.  I enjoy hiking, peakbagging, backpacking, kayaking, visiting historical sites, visiting National and state parks, nature photography and simply just viewing nature including animal watching.  I also like watching sports when I’m not out on a trail!

Jason on the lower eastern slope of Peak 4202 just after descending from the summit.
Jason on the lower eastern slope of Peak 4202 just after descending from the summit.

I recently moved to Arizona in October of 2014 and since that time have hiked close to 815 miles as of today, and have climbed forty one (41) distinct Arizona mountains covering six (6) Arizona counties.  I am very goal oriented and although I don’t see myself as competing against others, I admit I do use these numbers to compete against myself.  It’s fun for me.  I set monthly and yearly goals and try to meet them!

Often people ask me why I hike so much.  There are a myriad of reasons, and one that I typically give is that I hike in order to forget.  Hiking fills a void inside me and its the only place that I can go that I can just completely forget about all the bad things in life and focus 100% on all the positive things in my life and in the world.  It’s also the only place where I don’t fear the unknown.  In fact, I embrace the unknown and can’t wait to discover what’s around the bend.

I’m not completely comfortable with the notion that I inspire others, because I just do what I do, but I know that I have inspired others to get out and explore their areas.  One of my biggest core tenets is that ANYWHERE someone lives can contain adventure and that PLACES are ultimately what YOU make of them.  I’ve never been anywhere that I couldn’t find something redeeming about where I was.  Often I hear from people that say, I live in X place, there’s no adventure here.  You have to MAKE adventure sometimes.

I’ll close with this.  When I was very young, I was afraid of dying.  The older I get, I’m afraid of not ‘living’, but not dying.  That’s an important distinction.  I want to LIVE, life.  I hike to live, not merely to exist.

Again, thanks so much to @HikebyFaith and everyone else that I interact with in the virtual hiking world.

See you out on the trail,

Jason Cleghorn

@hikingjason on Instagram

@JasonCleghorn on Twitter

Jason Cleghorn on Facebook

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