My real name is Mike Matenkosky and I was born in Pittsburgh, Pa back in 1965. I graduated from Franklin Regional High School in Murrysville, Pa in 1983 and enlisted in the U.S. Air Force in 1986. I was originally stationed at Castle AFB, California and spent my last year in the service at King Salmon AFB in Alaska. I’ve been married since 1991 and have two daughters. Around 1995 my life changed when I became a Christian, accepting Jesus as my Savior.
Backpacking, Cars and Photography
I currently live in Atwater California which has one big advantage…it’s only an hour and a half drive to Yosemite, which enables me to spend a lot of time up there hiking and backpacking.
Besides hiking and backpacking I enjoy fixing up muscle cars. I have a 1968 Dodge Coronet 500 convertible waiting for a restoration and have been known to drag race my 1969 Firebird 400 at Sacramento Raceway. I also love photography and started Images in the Backcountry, specializing in fine art landscape, nature, wildlife, black & white and inspirational photography.
A Set Back
During the summer of 2004, I began to experience joint pain in both of my knees. It had progressed to the point where I have been unable to walk without the use of a walker. This has prompted the first total knee replacement of my right knee in February, 2006. I did have some healing complications, and in October 2006 my hardware on my right knee has been removed and fused straight permanantly. Two days later I suffered a mild stroke while still in the hospital. I’m better now, but I’m not a “sharp” as I once was!
In March 2008 I finally had my left knee removed and fused straight. In September 2010 I was able to hike to May Lake in Yosemite with my wife and youngest daughter. I used my treking poles to get around and over the typical Sierra trails, but I made it. I’d like to try a short (1 to 2 miles) backpacking trip this season, but haven’t decided where or when.
Photography: Along the Road
With all of that “action”, this prompted me to publish my first coffee table book called, Along the Road.
One of the editors of Guidpost magazine read my story on my website and thought it would inspire more people to get out and enjoy the outdoors. So, I have my story and some of my photographs published in the January 2011 issue of Guideposts magazine called Into the Beauty. Along with that, they made a short video: Taking Photos with Mike Matenkosky.
I hope you find the information here helpful and inspiring. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact me.