Adventure journalist Peter Potterfield, author of Classic Hikes of the World, spends more time outdoors than in. He has hiked on seven continents, traveling from Mount Everest to Antarctica, New Zealand to Arctic Sweden, the Grand Canyon to the Scottish Highlands, Alaska to Africa.
"I'm trying to see and write about as many of the most beautiful places on the planet as possible," said Potterfield. "The problem is, there are more good places to go than there is time to get there. My goal is to help people prioritize."
Potterfield writes about backcountry travel for magazines, books and online publishing. He is the author of a dozen books on the subject, including the critically acclaimed In the Zone, and High Himalaya, winner of the Banff Book Festival award.
Potterfield has written for National Geographic Adventure, Outside, Reader's Digest, Backpacker, Conde Nast Traveler and other national publications. He is currently editor of GreatOutdoors.com in Seattle.
Most memorable trip: At ten years old I read Endurance, the famous account of Ernest Shackleton’s epic adventure to Antarctica, when his ship was beset in the ice and destroyed. Against all odds, Shackleton brought every one of his men back to civilization safely. I was fascinated by the story. A few years ago, a handful of hardy adventurers and I traveled to South Georgia Island to retrace Shackleton’s steps. It was not only the greatest adventure of my life, in the most pristine landscape I ever saw, it was also an emotional journey back to the roots of adventure.
The travel moment that changed the way I view the world: An early hike took me to a windswept ridge in Colorado's Sangre de Cristo Range. From camp, I looked south across September slopes golden with autumn aspen and ridge-tops painted blood red by a setting sun. It was a transforming vision. At that moment I made a promise to myself to see more of these pristine places, to experience as many of the highlights of the natural world as possible--while they remain still and beautiful.
When traveling, I never: Go with preconceptions. They are always wrong. I go with a totally open mind, ready to see what it is when I get there. By being unconstrained by preconceived notions, I am able to enjoy the reality of the place as it is revealed.