Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Q & A With Standing Bear 8-7-12

Mike has hiked 1864 miles and has recently reached the summit of Mt. Madison, Mt. Guyot and Mt. Washington.  Check out his FB page for some amazing photos from on top of some of these beauties.  I had to post this picture of Brooke because she looks so darn cute!

For this weeks Q & A I thought it would be fun to ask Mike some personal questions so we could get a feel for him as a person outside of his AT hike.

What’s your favorite food?
I really like ice cream.  When I was a kid, I didn't get to have ice cream very often, so when I got out on my own I would buy those huge buckets from the grocery store and eat ice cream all the time.  I really enjoyed having the freedom to eat the things I wanted whenever I wanted.  I scarfed down a lot of pizza and spaghetti too!

One thing my wife has noticed is that I do not complain regardless of what food she prepares.  My reasoning is that if someone was kind enough to take the time to prepare me a meal, who am I to complain?  I'm lucky to have a meal at all, as many people in the world are starving.  I'm just happy that I don't have to get my food out of a garbage can, so I'm tickled pink regardless of the food Brooke makes or how it tastes.  This makes Brooke frustrated sometimes, as she wants feedback about the meals she's making.  One time, she asked if my meal was okay, and I said yes and thanked her, but then she heard me gagging.  She had given me a bunch of celery, and I don't particularly care for celery so it was making me gag.  But I didn't want to complain because she went to the trouble of preparing a very nice meal, even if it wasn't agreeable to my taste buds.

What do you like to do for recreation?
I enjoy being active and like doing lots of activites.  In the past year, I went rock climbing for the first time and became a certified scuba diver.  I really like to read, and I'm always up for a good movie.  I generally don't watch television although I really like some shows such as Seinfeld.  I like having bonfires behind our house, as the yard backs up to the woods so when you sit out there at night it feels like you're camping, but yet the amenities of the house are still nearby.  I like working on cars and have a 1968 Firebird and a 1996 Firebird with t-tops.  I really enjoy learning new things.  In the future, I would like to try skydiving.

What would be your dream vacation destination?
There are many places I would like to visit.  I have always wanted to bicycle or take the train from Portugal to Rome.  I know Spanish and French and would like to learn Portuguese and Italian.  I enjoying being in a foreign country where I speak the language, so I can more fully experience their culture.  I went to France twice and had a great time.  The second time Brooke and I bicycled from Paris to Belgium and it was fantastic.  We met a lot of great people along the way.

Which season do you like the best and why?
I typically like fall because I do not like extreme heat or cold very much.  I like it best when it is about 60 degrees out, the leaves are falling, and the wind is gently blowing as the squirrels work furiously to nestle away their winter food supply.

What was your favorite subject in school?
I enjoy learning almost anything.  I used to buy textbooks of all kinds:  history, spanish, carpentry, plumbing, automotive repair, etc.  I even bought a book about the history of rats and another book about coal.  I just enjoy learning, although if I had to choose one subject I would probably pick history.

What’s your favorite thing about Brooke?
I like that Brooke is very positive and almost never in a bad mood.  She rarely becomes angry and has a very upbeat attitude.  I think this is a good balance for me because I tend to have ups and downs.  Brooke is a very kind, compassionate person and her positivity has lifted my spirits on many a down day.

What’s your favorite book?
Catch-22.  Very rarely does a book make me laugh out loud, but that book did so repeatedly.  It is hilarious and exactly my type of humor.  Plus the book has a social message above and beyond just being funny. 

What’s your favorite color?

What's you favorite band or music?
Growing up, Nirvana was my favorite band.  I still like Nirvana a lot but my tastes have considerably broadened.  If you checked out my iPod you would find songs from a variety of female pop artists, such as Katy Perry. 

What are your career goals once you complete your back-to-back hikes?
After I finish my MBA from Wash. U, I would like to do something big and ambitious with my life.  I feel that each day is important and I don't want to waste time doing something that I'm not passionate about.  It would be nice if I could find a career where I am able to help people overcome difficult circumstances in their lives to achieve great things.

I plan to write a book about my hike, as well as my life and childhood.  I also plan to continue speaking to groups of at-risk young people to hopefully inspire them to follow their dreams.  I would enjoy speaking to other groups as well, as I think I have a broad message that speaks not just to underprivileged kids but to anyone.  My life shows that people can go on to achieve the unthinkable regardless of the obstacles they face.

Thanks Mike for sharing a little bit about yourself with us this week.  

Are you wondering what it takes to hike the entire length of the AT?  Do you ponder if you need to be athletic or have heart?  Well, read Mike's post on Hike4Kids to get an honest answer.  What he said brought me to tears.  

(all photos courtesy of Mike McLaughlin.  Do not use without permission)


  1. Whenever I've had a really long day, and think I can't possibly take another step, I think of Mike and how many steps he has taken on this incredible journey.

  2. I've said it before and I'll say it again;
    It's this type of content that keeps me coming back to SnugHarborBay! Nice job on this series and kudos to Mike!


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