Meet the Explorer: Branson

NC Outdoor Culture – The adventures of North Carolina start here.

Due to wanting to remain anonymous, we will just do this as their instagram name, a first here on this series. I have been in contact with NC Outdoor Culture (Branson) for several weeks now, and I am looking forward to sharing his ideas and lifestyle. With North Carolina’s vastly changing landscapes from mountain to ocean, it is definitely a great place to explore and see the wild. Alrighty Branson, have at it!

Quick Biography

Hey there my name is Branson! Some of the things that I love to do would definitely be outdoors…literally anything outdoors. I live on a lot of land which is an old family farm located in the great state of North Carolina. We have many ponds that I like to take my friends fishing in. I also do a little kayaking in them as well. I am blessed enough to have an actual waterfall as well, so its nice to go sit by and take some time to myself…there’s no better therapy than being outdoors! Where I live now is where I have lived my whole life so ive never known anything other than the country life. We have chickens; in which, we sell the eggs and they are a joy to take care of as well. I also love to play disc golf in my spare time. And, as I mentioned earlier, I love to kayak. 

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

I am a police officer as my career. I ended up here because I grew up being a volunteer firefighter and also having many family members in law enforcement. As I progressed my time as a firefighter I realized I wanted to serve my community in a different way. I wanted to be able to be out and about and have more interaction with people in need. I then graduated high school and obtained my associates degree in criminal justice and then got into the police academy.

When did you first start enjoying the outdoors?

I’ve been enjoying the outdoors for as long as I can remember. As I mentioned, I grew up on a lot of land and ever since I could walk I have been partaking in all kinds of outdoor activites. 

What is your favorite place to explore? 

My favorite place to explore would be the mountains of North Carolina…anywhere around the Boone area is my favorite. Especially along the blue ridge parkway. Waterfalls and high up in elevation views are my favorites!

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

Believe it or not i’ve only been a little ways into Virginia and the furthest i’ve visited is Charleston, SC. So as of now I do not really have much of an opinion on my favorite place ive visited…I guess i’ll be biased and say the mountains of NC hold my heart.

How many countries, where? 

I have never been out of the country…hope to change that this year by going to Germany (my dream place to visit because I love history).

Best hike you have ever had? 

Best hike would definitely be Rough Ridge on the Blue Ridge Parkway

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

Summer hikes: Water….lots of it. anddddd BUG SPRAY. Winter…layers of clothing, but not too many layers. Thin layers stack on the body nicely and when you warm up you can shed them without carrying a ton of weight. Other than that, my feet are cold almost all year so some very good boots and nice tight socks seem to help…don’t forget coffee. Making coffee while on a trail in the winter is unlike anything and probably my most favorite thing to do as well. I am a huge coffee person. 

Most comical hike/adventure story? 

Most comical would be one of my thousands of hikes at rough ridge when it was muddy and me and my girlfriend slid basically all the way down the trail and had to wash ourselves off in the waterfall at the bottom of the trail.

Scariest hike/adventure story?

Luckily I have not had a scary hike…yet. No bears lol.

Upcoming trips planned?

No specific trips planned at the moment. 

Favorite outdoors gear/lifestyle companies? Any local? 

I love my eno…I do not tend to stick with certain brands, as of now I still like to test out different things…anything local I fully support though. 

What does conservation mean to you? 

Conservation means to me that we all take action in keeping this land how we found it. Keep it clean. Stop building housing developments and apartments everywhere there are fields and woods. Conservation means keep the land and save the land. If its a field, leave it a field. If its woods, leave it woods.

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

We can continue support local organizations that need our funding to keep these places clean as they should be. Take action ourselves and get out there and clean up some trash. Support things like the Blue Ridge Conservancy (which I am a member of)…to help spread the word through social media along with sharing the beautiful pictures of what these amazing lands have to offer for us!

Branson, thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and great photographs. I am happy that we were able to connect and I look forward to staying in touch!

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