Like most hiking blogs, Down The Trail began as a self-indulgent place to chronicle my adventures.
I had an Appalachian Trail journal and a bicycle touring journal on other people’s sites. I wanted to consolidate them into my own online space, and this website was born in 2008.
I still maintain it as a place for my journals (Which is great for the armchair adventurer), but I also try to include more resourceful information for you. Hi there.
Where is Everything?
This site was abandoned from late 2014 into early 2017. Plenty of broken links accumulated, and after much neglect it struck me as a bloated mess. I apologize to those of you who left messages during that time, as they mostly went unanswered.
Now that those are those are finished, I’m reconstructing everything in chronological order – starting with the Appalachian Trail. The re-building of this site is a comprehensive effort that will include new material like the John Muir Trail. Old material that disappeared is coming back as well, like day hikes in the Desert Southwest.
It’s a lot of work so please be patient… but I’m on it, in earnest, once again.
I’ve also opted for a clean and simple new design. I hope you like it!
What About Everything from the Grand Canyon?
Years ago I had a lot of Grand Canyon photos and information on here. I have more experience and knowledge in Grand Canyon than any other backcountry destination, so it made sense for me to create a separate site dedicated to it. This was my intent with ElvesChasm.com. I removed the Canyon posts from DownTheTrail and intended to put them up on ElvesChasm, but it never came to fruition.
ElvesChasm.com is still online but the site is essentially dead. Once DownTheTrail is up-to-date I intend to take another stab at a dedicated Grand Canyon site, but I don’t anticipated getting to it for a long time. ElvesChasm will be up in the meantime, but I eventually intend to take it down and start over with a new domain.
About Me (Jamie Compos)
I was born in 1980 and raised in Allentown Pennsylvania, in what’s called the Lehigh Valley on the east side of the state. It’s quite a metropolitan area, similar to the culture of New Jersey with a classic northeasterner, New Yorker attitude.
My formal education ended with high school and a single semester of college. Ever since I was a teen I knew I wanted to ride a bicycle across the United States and hike the Appalachian Trail. I set out to do these things in my early twenties and basically never looked back.
In 2008 I took a seasonal job at the South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park. I fell in love with the place and have more or less made it my home ever since then.
My work career has primarily been in food service, but I’ve spent some time working as a tour guide too. The flexibility of the restaurant industry has allowed me take time off over the years to make these adventures happen. I’ve done it by working hard between trips and living by simple means to save money. A great deal of stress is removed from life by owning less “things.”
These endeavors may tend to strike you as “running away from something,” and to an extent that’s true. I’ve been running from settings that make me an unhappy person, and unfortunately those settings include much of modern American society.
I hate to be a pessimist but let’s face it, the world can be a messed up place these days! I much prefer my happy place, in the Parks and on the trails.
Don’t take me for some wacko-drifter-outcast though, I’m a completely normal and pleasant person that can “fit in” to the rat race (At least that’s what my friends tell me). I like to think of myself as an individual bitten by a weaker strain of the bug that got Christopher McCandless.
Here’s my outdoor “resume”
- Appalachian Trail
- TransAmerica Trail (bicycle tour)
- Long Trail
- John Muir Trail
- Teton Crest Trail
- Colorado Trail
- Inca Trail
- Trails in Hawaii (Nepali Coast, Mauna Loa)
- A Season in Denali (weekend trips)
- Hayduke Trail (sections)
- 4 Grand Canyon rafting trips (2 as boatman)
- 4,000 miles hiked in Grand Canyon (and 39 summits)
- Piecing together an end-to-end hike of Grand Canyon (Less than 50 people in all of history have done this)
- plenty more day trips and weekends around the U.S.
- I’ve visited all 50 states
What’s the Next Big Adventure?
I don’t have any big trips immediately planned, though I imagine a hike from Durango (Colorado) to Canyonlands National Park (Utah) could be in order. This would complete a continuous hiking line from Denver Colorado (Waterton Canyon) to the west end of Grand Canyon.