You do not become an expert by studying the outdoors- you become an expert by getting out there and living it. That is the philosophy of Graham Higgins, author, outdoor enthusiast, and survivalist extraordinaire.
Even as a young child, Graham Higgins found himself engaging with the wild outdoors. Though complications with childbirth left Graham’s father a single parent to Graham and his older brother, he worked hard to make sure the boys didn’t miss out on important life experiences. The trio called a small house in Colorado their home. Their humble means of living allowed their dad to take them on all kinds of outdoor excursions, from camping to fishing to hiking. Graham was also a member of the Boy Scouts and the Adventure Corps, both organizations that would give some of the basic knowledge that he would build on as he explored the wilderness, with the group, with his father and brother, and eventually alone.
One of Graham’s most memorable excursions was the year that he turned 15. To celebrate Graham’s birthday, his father took him and his brother on a hiking trip up the Crestone Peak in the Rocky Mountains. They hiked carefully and it took about 2 days to reach a flat mesa at the top. They stayed in a cave the first night and set up camp for the second night. They would descend the Crestone Traverse, which is known for its risk of falls, the next day.
Graham got up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom and ended up tripping over a hidden log. He rolled down about 20 feet from where they were camping on the mesa. Graham wasn’t seriously injured, but there was no way that he would be able to make the climb back to the top of the mountain. When his father and brother awoke and found Graham missing, they immediately set out to find him. The problem was that wind had picked up significantly and Graham couldn’t hear the pair calling for him. It was also a lot harder to climb up the traverse he had fallen down the traverse.
He stayed in the cave for a day, keeping up his strength by drinking water that had been filtered through the rocks of the caves. Once the wind died down, the trio found each other. Though the trip was near disastrous, it was the first time that Graham had really gotten an opportunity to put his survivalist skills to the test and it was something that stuck. He loved the quick thinking he learned was necessary in survival situations and the adrenaline of knowing that the only thing standing between himself and survival was knowing his surroundings and how to use them as a means to survive. Some of the other memorable outings that Graham went on with his father and brother include horseback riding in the Grand Canyon, cave diving near the Crater Lake National Park in Oregon, kayaking in the Columbia River Gorge, and backpacking through the Rainier National Park.
It was this event, as well as his love of nature that would drive Graham on his journey of life. Like many kids, he chose to go to college when he reached the adult age. He attended a school at the University of Puget Sound located in Tacoma, Washington. Graham majored in Environmental Sciences and minored in Botany. His greatest attraction to the college was the nearby access to the Olympic and Cascade mountain ranges, where Graham often went backpacking whenever he had a little downtime from his school responsibilities. It was here that he would meet the love of his life, Linda.
Linda had grown up on a small, rural farm in Washington. Like Graham, she also had a love for the outdoors. In fact, the two spent the entire Spring break together a few months after they had meant cozied up in the mountain ranges close to the school. After they had both obtained their degrees, they bought a home that was less than 100 miles from Linda’s childhood home. Graham found work as a coal miner, a job he would work for a few years to keep money on the table. For several years after graduation, the pair spent all the time they could exploring the Pacific Northwest. From kayaking and windsurfing to cave diving and mountain climbing, their life was set for adventure.
The pair married 3 years after college. On their honeymoon, they would spend an entire week in the Southern Cascades Forest, relying on minimal survival equipment. They foraged for non-toxic plant food, fished in nearby streams, and relied on their instincts (and each other) to survive. This helped build an incredible bond between the two, even deeper than before they had married.
A few years after their marriage, the pair welcomed their first child, a baby boy, into their life. Their little boy would have a sister just two years later. Even with fatherhood, Graham has not settled down entirely. He still works hard to keep his survival skills sharp, going out on the occasional excursion when he has downtime from work and fatherhood. From time to time, Linda accompanies him as well. Though they had to leave the kids at home for most of their excursions, both are looking forward to the kids being old enough to explore the outdoors with them.
As of today, the kids have been on a few mild hiking and camping trips. Graham no longer works with the mining company, finally finding a company where he could use his degree and continue exploring. Graham currently works with a company interested in documenting the genealogy of plants across the Pacific Northwest. Graham collects photos and samples on his travels, as well as documents the location of the plants. In his free time, Graham works as an author. He writes using his personal experiences with the outdoors to excite and inform others about outdoors and survivalism, something that everyone can benefit from.