About Me

Tucson, AZ

Hello!  My name is Russ Mease and I am 36 years old and currently living and working in Tucson, AZ at a healthcare company where I provide support with budgeting and financial analysis.  Here is a brief summary of how I came to be here and where I am headed...

Growing up in the Seattle area afforded me an active outdoor experience:  camping, hiking and skiing.  I began skiing at a young age at Snoqualmie Pass and Crystal Mountain and was the top skier in my slalom racing class, winning first place in a racing competition.  I also enjoyed camping and hiking up in the Mt. Rainier National Park and Cascade mountains frequently.  I have very fond memories of skiing up at Whistler/Blackcomb in British Columbia, the site of the 2010 Winter Olympics.

Fast forward to age 19; and after a brief stint at Berklee College of Music in Boston attempting to follow my dream of being a professional musician-I was forced to drop out due to financing issues-I made a decision that would change the direction of my life and define the next 12 years - one of those new branches in the tree of my life.  I applied and got accepted to the University of Washington business school (go Huskies!).  This decision, I had decided, was part of a master plan that included making big paychecks with my business degree, which would eventually fund an education in a pursuit where I felt "passionate".  This will only be temporary, I told myself.  I would work in business only long enough to fund an education or training in something else - my true calling in life.

After graduating I took a job at a big international consulting company, and I was HAPPY to finally be making some real money.  However, the work was tedious and cumbersome and nothing like my college courses had me imagining it would be.  This was not what I had signed up for!

BUT...I was making decent money for a recently broke college graduate, so I kept going to work.  Somehow I made it through the next five years in hopes that the work would get more interesting, but nothing seemed to change for the better.  I was not spending my evenings and weekends studying or planning an escape like I envisioned-instead I was tired after work and weekends were wasted at bars and in front of televisions.  I succumbed to the hypnotic stalemate of the modern American paralysis that often accompanies a business career.  Frustrated and lacking any clear direction, I decided I would save up some money, quit my job, and then backpack through Europe and China.  This was one of the best decisions I have made!  Now this was living!  I can't begin to tell you how many amazing experiences I had.  How can I go back to work in an office after discovering so much about the world.  When I returned-broke-I hopped on my motorcycle and rode from Seattle to San Diego in 4 days (and had the most massive muscle-knot in my neck for the next 2 weeks!)  While crashing with friends , I studied with vigor the book "How to Interview Like An MBA" and eventually, after short job search I landed a job with another large international consulting firm which included a significant pay raise.  So much for the idea that having a gap in your resume is bad for your career!  Although I was determined to take a different direction in my life when I returned from my travels, the money was extremely attractive and I was quickly burning through my remaining savings.  In addition, I  met the woman whom I would marry, and love took over while finding my passion took a back seat.  I moved to Tucson, AZ and Des and I got married about a year later.  

Soon the weekly commute between Tucson and San Francisco became too much, and after a brief time experimenting with living in San Francisco, I eventually left my well-paying job to look for work locally.  It took 6 months of searching to land a job at a large Tucson healthcare company.

Three years later, here I am working at a job that gives me no joy, no challenge and no passion.  My career has stalled and I am pretty miserable with the prospect of going to work everyday.  Upon returning from travel in 2005, I had predicted that I would not last more than five years before the wanderlust called me back to the road (or the trail in this case).  It has been almost seven years now and my urge to get back out and explore the world is almost unbearable.  The feeling is not simply an urge to travel this time, but a strong desire to find a permanent fulfilling path in life.  I am planning a drastic change and I am committed to finding a way that will allow me to bring passion back into my life.  It's time to grow a new branch...

And what better way to start a new life than to spend five months on a national scenic trail!  I always wanted to get back to the nature I enjoyed when I was young.  Therefore, in approximately 150 days, I will give my resignation to my boss, pack my belongings into storage and then hit the trail.  Some people will ask me why I would do this?  Am I escaping the tedious and irksome obligations that comes with living in modern society?  Am I tired of the world of abstraction and false security that comes with a career and a 401K?  Am I seeking solace in nature hoping to find the truth of my existence?  If you have to ask why, then it is unlikely that you will understand the answer even if I could verbalize it.  Therefore, I will let you determine that for yourself.

Afterwards?  Well, I would like to be a travel writer and pursue a second degree in Wilderness Ecology, and perhaps my life path will lead me back to work in finance in some capacity, but there is no time to think about that right now.  I'll have plenty of time on the trail to consider such things.  For now, I am just looking forward to adventure again, and I hope to meet many of you along the way.

Happy Trails!

Taking the first steps


  1. Hello Russ,

    My name is Steve. I too am going to attempt to thru hike the PCT in 2012. I have been working to put together a blog to write about my journey and have been looking for a template for Blogger for this purpose. The template you are using is exactly what I had in my head. Would you be willing to share your template with me to use for my blog?

    My email address is "sparky.sandiego@gmail.com"
    I would very much appreciate it.

    Thank you and I hope to see you on the trail.


  2. Russ,

    Thank you for your lovely blog. Very helpful in understanding the PCT experience.

    Found you while seeking info on Knife's Edge. I'm finishing a novel that contains about 30 pages of hiking PCT across Washington State (Bridge of The Gods to Manning Lodge). One setting I'd like to use is Knife's Edge. Another Three Corner Rock, although the two locations may be too close to work.

    Hoping you might advise on several spots along the trail so that the depictions are as accurate as possible. The PCT hike is 15% of the main character's story. Your help in making that part vivid and feel real will be appreciated.

    Contact: Sandra@SandraGouldFord.com



PCT Northern Terminus

PCT Northern Terminus
On September 30, 2012 I reached the Northern Terminus of the Pacific Crest Trail. Thanks to everybody who supported and followed my journey. It was a life-changing experience!