Whiskey Sipper. Adventure Seeker. Occupational Therapist.
Through a couple of friends I have made (Rick Anthony and Jordan Northrop) during my time interviewing different explorers; they recommended a friend of theirs to interview, this is how I came into contact with Ranz. We exchanged several messages and I plan on making a trip out West to go on an awesome adventure with them in the near future. Ranz has a page full of amazing content and a laundry list of adventure stories…he truly does #seekadventure. Take it away, Ranz!
Shout out to @vasquefootwear and @kuhl for making most of my trips possible and also to @wildernesssbadass for pulling people together to educate and at the same time share the stoke of being outdoors.
Well, let’s see, I’m Franz Kalamaulaokalani Navarro. I am based out of Orange County, CA and I love photography. I really don’t know what to classify myself as a photographer so I guess I’m just a hobbyist for now. However, I’m currently a social media contributor/influencer/ambassador for Vasque Footwear and Kuhl and occasionally do commercial photography. Other than that, I love spending time with my little buddy “Stout” #lifewithstout and long walks on the beach.
What do you do for a living, how did you end up in that field?
I am an occupational therapist, I work with kids and adults with physical and developmental disabilities. Helping them gain or regain independence. This is actually a second career for me. I used to be a network engineer in the IT field. Then my nephew was born with special needs. It inspired me to help kids like him and found occupational therapy. I currently work in an interdisciplinary pediatric clinic as well as home health care.
When did you first start enjoying the outdoors?
I’ve always enjoyed the outdoors. Growing up as a kid, I played outside all the time. Back then, we didn’t have electronics to keep us glued to a screen. We actually played and interacted with other kids in the neighborhood till it’s dark outside. But seeing places as grand as the grand canyon and spending nights under the stars staring at the milky way, that all happened not until about 4 years ago. When I decided to change my lifestyle from partying and drinking at bars, to working out and rediscovering the outdoors as well as picking up an old passion, photography.
What is your favorite place to explore?
I find myself up and down highway 395 a lot, also Utah. If anything, I love hanging out in Alabama Hills, backpacking Big Pine Lakes annually, and of course, Utah.
How many of the 50 United States have you visited? Favorite?
I’ve been to Hawaii, Nevada, Arizona, Utah, Georgia, New York, Florida, Texas, Missouri, New Jersey, Oregon, and Massachusetts. Those were mostly due to business travel. But favorite state[s] for adventure, I’d have to say a tie between Hawaii and Utah.
How many countries, where?
I’ve not been to any really, other than Mexico. This is definitely one thing I wish I’ve done more. So I’m starting to plan for international travel. My cousin will be in the 2020 Summer Olympics in Japan representing the USA for Women’s Cycling. So I’m planning for Japan in 2020 to show her some support and hopefully visit neighboring countries and backpack all the way down to Thailand or Indonesia. Other countries I’ve been wanting to visit are Iceland, New Zealand, Australia, Norway, and Croatia.
Best hike you have ever had?
Definitely Trail of Ten Falls in Silver Falls State Park in Silverton, OR. Just an amazing loop with waterfalls for days!
Essential items for summer hikes/winter hikes in your opinion.
For all hiking conditions, my “Go Pack” always has first-aid, headlamp, packable down jacket, lifestraw, navigation (Garmin GPSMAP 64s), a lighter, and my $10 pocket knife.
Trusted gear, Osprey or Gregory backpacks, Vasque footwear, Kuhl outdoor apparel and Klymit sleep gear, and a $12 pocket sized burner from Amazon.
Most comical hike/adventure story?
Me and my girlfriend were hiking in to Havasupai in the dark to beat the morning heat in June. We had our head lamps on, I was taking point. I heard a rustle in the bushes, as I turn to look in to the bushes direction, there were suddenly three pairs of glowing eyes, then silhouette of horns! FREAKED ME OUT! I was ready to run and leave my girlfriend behind. Turns out they were three bulls chillin in the dark. Lol
Scariest hike/adventure story?
Almost getting hit by lighting when we hiked up to Sky Meadow in Mammoth Lakes. Rain clouds came out of nowhere along with thunder and lighting. Ran back down to coldwater campground in record time.
Upcoming trips planned?
Recently just got back from White Pocket in Arizona/Utah border. Making plans for backpacking in the Sierras, Sequoias, or Kings Canyon. But I really want to go back up Kearsarge Pass in Onion Valley (Independence, CA.) I have something personal to settle against that trail. lol
Favorite outdoors gear/lifestyle companies? Any local?
Love my Vasque shoes and Kuhl outdoor apparels. I’m picky about the companies I represent or work with, it has to be a product I believe in and trust on the trail.
What does conservation mean to you?
In terms of the great outdoors and nature. It means stop Geo-tagging places you want to keep safe, it means practicing leave no trace, it means protecting and preserving the things you love by educating those who don’t know better. We all have to do our part, however not everyone feels the same. So we all just need to try our best and share the responsibility.
What can we do to make sure our parks and wild lands stay clean and pure forever?
I’d hate to say it, but I think going on a permit system will be beneficial in preserving our parks and wild lands. Perhaps tougher laws and harsher penalties for those who vandalize or cause destruction to the natural environment. We simply just can’t fix stupid. So unless everybody’s on the same page, with really trying to be optimistic, there is hope.
Thank you again, Ranz for your contribution to the ‘Meet the Explorer’ series. I am pumped to know there are people like you that spread the love of the outdoors everywhere you go, and take care of the wild lands that we all enjoy. Until next time!
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