The Mount Dana TOPO Map

Welcome to The Backcountry

My name is Mike “Hikin’ Mike” Matenkosky and my mission of The Backcountry is to provide you with useful trail and trip information in a lively and inspiring way through pictures and short narratives. I would also like to be an encouragement to those who may be hiking impaired to get out there and enjoy what God has created!

In The Beginning…

One day back around 1999 after surfing the web and finding some hiking and backpacking related websites, I thought to myself…“Hey, I could do the same thing”. So I gathered up the pictures of the hikes that I had done (Half Dome, Yosemite NPYoung Lakes, Yosemite NP and Little Yosemite Valley, Yosemite NP), wrote a general trip description for each of them and “Mike’s Hikes and Stuff” was born.

As my adventures grew, so did the website. Within a few years I needed more space. I also didn’t care for the pop-up adds on GeoCities, so I decided to get my own domain name. I wanted an appropriate and easy to remember name and on February 1, 2002 “The Backcountry” was born.

With most things change is inevitable, this site is no exception. It has undergone a few face lifts since it’s conception and will probably continue to do so, but what I think has had the most impact has been the writing style. In my more recent trip details I’ve tried to add some personal thoughts along with the trip information, to breath life into what could be an otherwise boring “…turn left at the boulder…” trip description. These thoughts are sometimes thoughts I remember experiencing along the trail and other times they come as I reflect back on the journey.

Nature Photography

The pictures on this site were taken with a variety of cameras ranging from a Kodak 110 to a Minolta X570 SLR. Most of the pictures were scanned from prints, some were taken from my JVC DVL-510 Digital Video Camera and a few were put directly on a photo CD.

I decided to get more serious about nature photography a few years ago, and started Images in the Backcountry. In January 2005 I bought my first DSLR, a Canon 300D (Digital Rebel). Then in September 2007, I upgraded to the full-framed Canon 5D. I have yet to use it while backpacking, because my knees have been fused strait, but I have started to take pictures while on short hikes.