Tim Watson may deny it, but he is something of a hiking gear guru. He is full of tips for going light without going overboard. He also gets out on some pretty amazing backpacking trips throughout the USA.
Originally from Barbados, he has seems to have made the best use of moving from a small island to the very, very large island of North America. His main outlet for presenting his latest adventure is YouTube, but you can also follow him on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.
So I’m not going to ask you what your story is. But I will ask you: what do you think people who are interested in you would be most fascinated to hear first?
Tim: Hmmm, I think they will be most interested to hear that I did not grow up in a family that loved the outdoors. In fact, I would say we were the opposite of an “outdoor” family.
So your family wasn’t exactly into it. So then what got you hooked on hiking?
T: My first trip to Hocking Hills, Ohio on a day hike. My big question was:
“Why didn’t anyone tell me this stuff existed?!”
How do you normally go about your trips? Are you a lone traveler, one other person, or an adventuring party type of adventurer?
T: I prefer group trips just because I love the camaraderie and conversation. However, I will go alone if there isn’t anyone available to go.
What’s the most common thought that motivates when you’re feeling particularly down during a difficult trail?
Imagine what it will look like at the top/to see that waterfall!
Speaking of difficult trails, mind sharing your most unpleasant, difficult, or scary moment on the trail with us?
T: I think my scariest moment on the trail was in the Maroon Bells Wilderness in Aspen, Colorado. We had just come over West Maroon Pass and were heading up Frigid Air Pass when a storm blew in quickly.
Lightning and thunder were all around and we booked it as quickly as we could to make it over the pass and down again. I will say, moments like those make you feel alive!
Now for a happier memory Do you have any fabulously special moments that stand out to you while out on an adventure? Please share one with us:
T: Also, in the Maroon Bells. We were standing in Fravert Basin, completely surrounded by mountains, and we could see huge off-trail waterfalls, wildflowers everywhere, and so we took the moment to just be.
Most of my absolute favorite moments are similar to this. They are the moments when I put everything down and just stop and be present.
On to a tough one: give us an UNcommon reason why people should visit your favorite place!
T: People should visit Hocking Hills when it’s raining. The crowds thin out substantially and the waterfalls are excellent.
What was the biggest lesson you learned on your first big adventure?
T: It isn’t as easy as it looks on YouTube! 🙂
There are people who wander into the woods ill-equipped and some even suffer for it. What is your number one tip for staying safe out there in the wilderness?
T: I think learning from an experienced friend/mentor is a hands down great way to stay safe.
Speaking of ill-equipped hikers, what do you often see travelers do on that really grinds your gears?
T: People who drop trash in the outdoors and people who don’t bring enough water or some way to purify water.
If you could hike or backpack anywhere in the world, where would you go?
T: I feel like there is so much in North America I haven’t seen yet, but if I had to choose somewhere outside the USA, I would choose to hike in Chile or Argentina. That area is beyond beautiful.
Tell us something about your next big hiking trip?
T: I guess it depends on your definition of big. 🙂 The John Muir Trail in the Sierras has been on my mind for quite a while. It’s not going to be this year (2019) but it will be “soon.”
When you hear people say things like, “I wish I could do what you do” what do you tell them?
Just do it.
Every journey begins with a single step is an old proverb/saying. I NEVER in my wildest dreams imagined I’d be backpacking and hiking in the backcountry, seeing what I’ve seen with so much more to go.
It just takes a will and a shift in mindset to take that first step.
Don’t Forget to Follow Tim on his adventures, and if you’ve got questions for us or Tim, don’t hesitate to drop a line!
Carley is a teacher and nature nerd with a passion for helping people get outside. Apart from teaching, she leads nature programs and outdoor trips for people of all ages. Carley also manages her own YouTube channel, The Last Grownup in the Woods. Before becoming a teacher, Carley worked as a fisheries technician and backcountry park ranger.