Meet the Explorer: Jordan Northrop

‘Wandering Around the Desert’

I was able to get the connection with Jordan through Rick Anthony, which had his own ‘Meet the Explorer’ series earlier in January (Check it out here!). When I was reviewing Jordan’s page and talking with him back and fourth, I found that he is quite the inspiration. I am stoked to be able to share his unique story and what the outdoors mean to him. Enough with what I have to say, its all you, Jordan!

Quick Biography

Something a lot of people don’t know about me, I’m a multiple time cancer survivor. I was first diagnosed when I was 19, and had an on again, off again battle for 6 years. I’m now 6 years cancer free, and am healthier than ever! My dog (@theedgecantcatch) is also a cancer survivor! We have quite the unique bond!

Photography is a big hobby of mine. I was gifted a DSLR camera about 3 years ago, and it sat collecting dust in my apartment for well over a year. Finally one day, I picked it up, and took some shots (terrible ones), and was hooked! I taught myself how to take photos and edit by watching youtube videos. I think editing photos after an adventure is sometimes just as fun as the adventure itself.




What do you do for a living, how did you end up in that field? 

I’m a Flagship Store Manager for FedEx Office, and manage the FedEx Office inside the Bellagio. Prior to my switch to FedEx, I was a golf professional for 9 years. The golf business was great, I got a chance to live in many places including: Myrtle Beach, SC, Philadelphia, PA, New York, NY, Chicago, IL and Shreveport, LA. I love the game of golf, but after awhile I fell out of love with the business. Once I dreading go to work everyday, I knew it was time for a change. 

Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon, Iceland

When did you first start enjoying the outdoors?

It wasn’t until I moved out to Vegas a little over 3 years ago. I’ll admit, my knowledge of Vegas prior to my move was The Strip. I had no idea Vegas was surrounded by Mountains. I remember driving the Scenic Loop at Red Rock and was just blown away. Makes me realize I missed a lot of great opportunities growing up. I grew up not too far from the Adirondack Mountains in Northern NY, but still have yet to explore them!

What is your favorite place to explore? 

Nothing beats Red Rock. All the scrambling, the waterfalls and creeks that appear in the winter and spring, it makes you forget you live in a desert. 

How many of the 50 United States have you visited? Favorite?

27! I have to say my favorite so far is Utah. Southern Utah is just incredible, something everyone should see in their lifetime.

How many countries, where? 

Adventure wise, just Iceland. Iceland had been a dream of mine since I saw pictures of the Hallgramskirkja church in Reykjavik. I was finally able to make the trip happen last year. It was incredible, Iceland is such a beautiful country, and can see myself making multiple trips back.

Best hike you have ever had? 

I think it was sumitting Mt. Whitney. It was on my second attempt, the first we only made it to high camp, but due to poor conditions, decided to do the smart thing and head down the mountain. When we summitted, we only had a day permit, so we camped at the trail head and made a 2am start. That was a grueling 22 miles day, especially as I had just completed the 42 mile Ruby Crest Trail, In Northern NV, the weekend before. That was the hardest I had ever pushed my body, and it was truly incredible.

Essential items for summer hikes/winter hikes in your opinion.

A few things come to mind, but the most important, is to be prepared for anything and everything. Know where you’re going, what you’re walking on, what the weather is going to be, all are super important. In my bag, I always have a first aid kid, extra socks, and 30ft of rope, just in case I get into a sketchy down climb. Better to be safe than sorry.

Most comical hike/adventure story? 

While in Iceland (I traveled there with @rantnv) we pulled up to the trail head for the famous US Navy plane wreck on Solheimasandur beach. The weather was awful, raining, 40+ mph winds, with no let up in sight. This was one of my must do’s while in Iceland. Rick didn’t seem all that thrilled with the weather, but I assured him it was a quick hike (even though it was 4km each way), and wouldn’t take us very long… It took us well over an hour to get there! The wind was blowing us sideways, but I have this great video on my phone of Rick shaking his head at me in disgust! All in all it was totally worth facing the elements. We had some great time alone at the wreck, and both got some incredible pictures. Rick learned a valuable lesson to not believe me when I speak to him using the metric system!!

Milkyway over Idaho’s balanced rock

Scariest hike/adventure story?

My scariest hike I believe has to be the first time I attempted Bridge Mountain here in Red Rock. I was a pretty inexperienced hiker, and hadn’t really done much class 3 scrambling at the time. On the trail of bridge, you look at this giant sandstone mound, and you notice what looks like a vertical crack… that’s what you climb up. The first time I got there, I had a mini panic attack and couldn’t go any further. After doing more research, I made a trip back about 2 months later, and it was nothing but a walk up… I’ve now summited Bridge 4 times, and it’s easily my favorite hike out here.

Upcoming trips planned?

Supertitions, Sedona, Moab, and Glacier National Park. Also plan on spending a lot more time out chasing the milky way.

Favorite outdoors gear/lifestyle companies? Any local? 

Cotopaxi (@Cotopaxi). I love what they stand for, and love their roots. They’re a feel good company, donating 2% of revenue to alleviate poverty. Their message is simple; “Do Good”. Just imagine how the world would be if we embraced that more.

What does conservation mean to you? 

I’ll be honest, conservation to my wasn’t much of a thought of mine until after I discovered hiking. It’s frustrating and sad to see what us humans have done, and are continuing to do to the earth. Science is telling us we can fix it, yet we don’t take the necessary steps. Conservation is an internal mind-set as well as an external action.  Conservation means you and I and every other person on this planet taking positive, responsible action to ensure that this planet continues to live. I highly recommend anyone reading this to watch the documentary “Chasing Ice”. It’s incredibly eye opening. 

What can we do to make sure our parks and wild lands stay clean and pure forever? 

It’s up to us. Education and accountably are essential. People leading by example is important, social media gives us a voice, and we need to be preaching leave no trace. We all want to get the iconic photo from national parks and monuments, but we need to make sure we aren’t “doing it for the gram” if it could do potential harm. It sucks to see trash left by someone in a park, it sucks to clean up someone else’s mess, but if we walk by and don’t do anything about it… we’re just as much of a problem and the person who left it there in the first place. Let’s leave the places beautiful for our future generations to enjoy just as much as us.

Thank you so much for your response, Jordan! Your story of overcoming cancer multiple times and seeing the special bond you have with your dog is amazing! We appreciate your photography skills, you truly are an inspiration. We love the passion behind your work and your enjoyment of the outdoors, looking forward to more great stories in the future!

Feel free to ask Jordan questions! Leave comments below.

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