Spencer Madden is a modern day adventurer. He’s the founder of Mountain Obsession, a welcoming tribe whose members share quality outdoor content, inspire new adventure, promote environmental stewardship and encourage the spread of a “live life to the fullest” mentality. In July of 2015, Spencer embarked on a solo trek to hike and climb some of the most beautiful peaks in North America, a tour he tagged, Explore Everything Epic or EEE for short. In January 2016, he will take his EEE adventures to Chile and close out the year hiking the Great Divide Trail. His motto, “Think outside. No box needed” truly encompasses what Spencer is all about. Read on to learn more about this captivating guy and his adventures in the great outdoors.
Walk us through the step-by-step process you went through to get to where you are now. How did you become the traveling, nature and adrenaline junkie that you are today?
I started out hiking at very young age and my parents always allowed me to run around, play with my friends without supervision for hours and to generally explore as I saw fit. I would regularly be miles away from home on my bike just experiencing life. Over time, this grew into a love of the outdoors helped along by Beavers and Cubs (Scouts Canada). In university, I snowboarded a lot and eventually became obsessed with getting to the mountains at every opportunity.
I was bitten by the travel bug later than most since I went straight to university without taking a break after high school. I went on a solo trip to Europe in 2013 loved it. After that, I decided to get serious about exploring – in all honestly, I am just getting started!
Spending countless days outdoors and hiking must be both mentally and physically challenging, as well as dangerous! What were some of the unexpected hurdles that you encountered during your adventures? What helped you overcome those obstacles and how did you do it?
Oh, I come across a lot of interesting things in my explorations. Wild animals usually crop up and I have had some close encounters with bears and moose. There isn’t too much you can do other than make noise, back away slowly and hope you don’t get attacked. That said, wild animals just need to be respected – they aren’t that big of a deal. I also got a crazy spider bite just this past summer. It wasn’t confirmed at first but after going through a few sets of doctors, they think it might have been a brown recluse, which is actually one of the most poisonous spiders you can find in Canada. I didn’t feel the bite at the time, I just woke up with a throbbing leg and I thought it was a sting initially and hoped it would resolve itself after a couple of days. Long story short, my entire leg got numb and the flesh started rotting around the wound and it was pretty nasty for sure. I have a permanent bite mark.
I have also dealt with car issues in remote areas, which can be challenging and tiresome. Injuries are another area – hence why I use Canprev to help keep me healthy. I experienced a flash food this past October and that was a wake-up call. Always make sure to evaluate the obvious dangers in an area before heading out there.
How do you stay healthy when you’re on long hikes and usually out in the middle of nowhere? What do you do if you get sick or injured?
Good health = good adventure. It’s pretty simple, if you’re not in good health, you’re not going to have an optimal time adventuring. There’s really nothing worse than going out into nature and not feeling 100%, knowing you can’t go as hard as you want to. And when I go out, I go pretty hard; hiking all day, taking minimal breaks, and carrying a ton of weight if I’m going for multiple days. In terms of health, I’m definitely a lot more fit and healthy now than I used to be. When I wake up in the morning I do some stretching, foam rolling, and definitely don’t skip breakfast. My whole nutrition plan has changed completely from what I used to eat on the trail, and it has definitely increased my ability to go further, faster, higher. A big one for me was reducing sugar, it doesn’t really help me on the trail. I also eat a lot of lean protein and actually bring my shaker to mix up my CORE protein shakes.
If I get sick in the back country, I try to ride it out and rest up for a day, but if that’s not the case, I just have to hike out. I usually don’t get sick, but I did get beaver fever once and that wasn’t great but it was my own fault for drinking sketchy water and that made for a pretty bad hike out!
Out of all the hiking trips and adventures you have been a part of, which one is the most memorable for you, and why?
This question is way too hard! Every adventure stands out for me as I am completely happy when I am in nature. One highlight from my recent 51,000 km road-trip around the US was the Weminuche Wilderness. I spent six days hiking amazing terrain without seeing a single person. I had some amazing moments of clarity that have set me on a path of adventure and excellence – I wouldn’t trade the beauty of the area and the clarity I found for anything in the world.
You mentioned that you also take part in other humane and environmental support initiatives. What kinds of things are you currently working on?
I am in the process of launching a start-up with a newly minted Canprev ambassador, Josie Ganos. While it is in the development stage and likely a year away from coming to fruition, it will be a kind of “building for a purpose” business. One of the inspirations is Ten Tree clothing, which plants 10 trees for every piece sold. While we won’t be planting trees, it will be along the same lines and I am very excited about the potential. More on that soon.
I am also a brand ambassador for www.thisworldexists.org, which focuses on bringing together adventure travel with educational development in the Third World. While I have yet to get on a trip with them, I work to promote their presence online, and am in the process of setting up an event in Chile during my S-N traverse of Chile starting January 2016.
Does being outdoors ever get old for you? Do you see yourself adventuring for the rest of your life?
For me, it gets more exciting every time I open my Facebook feed or talk to people or discover new trails – my bucket list is continually growing. It’s exciting to know that I’ll never be able to do everything I want to do, the possibilities are endless. I can put my finger on a globe and in my fingerprint are endless options, and that’s just one small part on a map. Hopefully with the strategy I’m taking with my health I’ll still be doing this when I’m 80. You see 70 year-olds ripping up and down the mountain, and that’s impressive!
What is your number one piece of advice to any intrepid adventurers who want to follow in your footsteps?
Easy: start now. I put off starting for years and lost a lot of time. There is never a perfect time. Make a list today of actionable ways to go after your dreams and take that first step. Yes, it will be hard and scary. Yes, the future may not turn out like you planned. But, you will have had one heck of an adventure and after all, who doesn’t want to be remembered for taking a chance on their dreams and getting the most out of life?
Which CanPrev Products do you use as a part of our daily routine? Which CanPrev products are your favourite, and what do you use them for?
I love every CanPrev product. Here is my typical routine:
AM – 3 scoops of CORE with fresh water and organic cinnamon in a shaker. Great to jump start the day with nutrients and very easy on the system
PM – More CORE and repeat the above combo. Resvera-Pro gives me much need antioxidants to fight off the continuous pollution of our air, water and food. Pain-Pro helps me stay strong and healthy. Curcumin-Pro is the ultimate anti-cancer, anti-inflammation supplement – my favourite in an amazing line. If I am sick, I use Oil of Oregano – I love Canprev’s potency! Mind-Pro helps to keep me focused and not distracted.
Thanks CanPrev for all the support!