Growing up I had one real passion, the outdoors. It didn’t really matter the activity I just wanted to get outside and be in nature. I got my first rifle when I was 4, caught my first fish way before that. 

Instead of birthday parties as a kid I begged the folks to take the family camping so I could camp and fish at the same time. Any night it wasn’t raining I was in a sleeping bag sleeping on the back deck of the house. I wanted to sleep out in the yard, but mom just knew a squirrel, or even a giant raccoon, would get me. Moms, got to love them; like a raccoon wouldn’t climb up on the deck.  

My passion for the outdoors continued to grow, and now having a driver’s license just fueled the fire. Now, no longer dependent on the folks to transport me from suburbia to the end of the road I was making regular trips myself. But there were other people at the end of the road. So, I took up backpacking and started backpacking deeper and deeper into the back country to try and escape human contact. I wanted solitude, if I wanted to be in a crowd, I could have stayed in town.  

In the spring of ‘83 I got married, started a family.   Not long after that we loaded the U-Haul complete with a Tupperware bowl of goldfish on the dash of the truck and headed toward Montana. Shortly after settling into the Montana Lifestyle I just felt to be a true Montanan I needed a horse. One became 2 which became 3…..and on and on. 

One day while watching them out the window my wife said you should do more with them than feed them.  All I could think of were those long pack strings, garnished in white canvas, headed into the high country, loaded with huge elk racks, on the cover of every outdoor magazine I ever read.  So, packing it was!!!  Over the years this hobby has become a passion, and a lifestyle.  After thousands of trail miles, along with countless nights sleeping in the back country, the obvious next step was to open Trailhead Supply, and share the knowledge which I picked up along the way. 

I started teaching pack classes and clinics across the Pacific Northwest, next thing I knew I was writing for magazines, and doing radio talk shows. Then one day the phone rang and it was National Geographic, which turned into a TV series.  This life I’m living is so much better than the corporate world I was in.  Like I always told my kids, chase your dreams, not a pay check, It took me many many years to realize it for myself….But life is good on the back of a horse!!!

See you on the trail.


Thank you, Lord, for creating this land for my horse and me to ride, where I can enjoy your handiwork, with you by my side.-author unknown

Comment on this post (2 comments)

  • Robert W Wagner says...

    Great Bio Andy ! Not much different than my own other than after 14 yrs in Montana I followed my heart and moved to Georgia to be with the love of my life regards Bob Wagner

    July 19, 2017

  • Scot says...

    HOWDY !

    It was great to see ya’ll again at Salmon and spend time
    talking and sharing stories !
    Hope your shoulder heals fast and good !
    Sorry about the Bear Hug !


    April 17, 2016

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