Jofish here in Madison, WI (for now)
I like the idea of formally introducing myself as well. That way when I make some ridiculous comment, people can look me up and say "OH.... That guy....". Here we go:
First, how I got my as-of-now trailname. It's not very interesting, actually. My middle name is Joseph and when I was little I used to say my middle name was Jofish before I could pronounce/remember Joseph.
I'm 29 years old and working on getting my PhD in Cellular and Molecular Biology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. I moved out here five and a half years ago to start my graduate work. I plan on graduating some time this summer (June, hopefully). I've done some camping and hiking out here including the most recent Northern Hang along the Superior Hiking Trail, which was awesome! Great scenery and even better people make for an awesome trip. I hope to get in another group hang in before I leave Wisconsin this summer.
As for my past, I grew up in Amesbury, MA (basically where Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and the ocean meet). I got into camping and hiking at a young age because of my parents' love of those things and also because of Boy Scouts. Lots of hiking in New England, especially in New Hampshire, Vermont, and Maine. My grandparents also have a cottage on a lake in Maine (in Porter, ME to be specific), so I spent a lot of time there as a young kid.
I went to Bates College (small, liberal arts college) in Lewiston, Maine and graduated in 2003 with a bachelor of science in Biological Chemistry and a minor in German. I then worked in a lab in Boston for a year before going to grad school.
I would say the thing I miss the most about New England is the great number of close hiking opportunities; most of them out here are pretty flat (unless I want to drive 5+ hours, and even then....). I'll likely be in one of 3 places by next fall; Washington DC, New York, or Boston/Worcester. Those are the places that currently top my job list because of both work and personal reasons.
I've done a lot of camping as I mentioned above and one of my life goals is to visit every US National Park. I've got an OK start so far (I've probably been to about a quarter of them), but I definitely plan on going to some of the ones I've already been to again. Another goal of mine is to thru-hike Appalachian Trail, although that might have to wait a while, depending upon my career path.
As for the whole hammocking thing, I got into it the spring of last year. One of my resolutions last year was to spend more time outdoors. I stumbled onto the concept of hammock camping on WhiteBlaze, that ever-curious place filled with alternating vitriol and sometimes helpful information. I decided to dive right in and ordered some gear that I really like; my Warbonnet Blackbird, an OES spinn tarp, and a couple nice underquilts. I even surprised myself by making a winter top quilt that turned out rather nicely. My goal again this year is to enjoy the equipment I have!
I guess that's pretty good for now. For those of you with inquiring minds, I'd be happy to answer your questions. Well, most of them. :shades: