Hi, I'm Adam.

Adam Parkzer   •   30   •   Las Vegas, USA   •   5'10" (178 cm)   •   152 lbs (69 kg)   •   Korean American

I was originally in law enforcement and planning on becoming a criminal prosecutor, but then I put everything on hold and moved to the Pa­cif­ic Coast to pur­sue my hobby as a full-time career. Now I help run Tempo, a game development and production company; I am the Direc­tor of Cor­po­rate Op­er­a­tions, pri­ma­ri­ly overseeing legal, finance, and hu­man re­sources ad­min­is­tra­tion. You can find more details on my curriculum vitae.

My main interests include criminology and forensic psychology. In my free time, I like to write, train martial arts, and de­vel­op new prac­ti­cal skills. I used to be a competitive gamer, but now I just play casually. The easiest way to get to know me better is to read about INTJs on the Myers-Briggs Type In­di­ca­tor. I'm split between a Type 5 and 8 on the Enneagram; my CliftonStrengths Top 3 are Deliberative, Learner, and Analytical; and my top Big Five per­sonality trait is Con­sci­en­tious­ness.

I don't use social media much anymore, but my profiles are @Parkzer on Twitter, Adam Parkzer on LinkedIn, AdamParkzer on Flickr, Parkzer on Last.fm, Parkzer on Twitch, and Adam Parkzer on YouTube. If you want to write me a letter or send me a package, you can ship it to PO Box 2222, Las Vegas, NV 89125-2222, USA (though keep in mind that I'm on a cross-country road trip until late 2022, so it might be a while before I see it).

Below, you can find my blog where I document my adventures, organize my thoughts, and share snippets of my life. You can browse in re­verse chron­o­log­i­cal or­der, or you can sort by these popular categories: Travel | Hiking | Food | Finance | Cats | Best of the Best

 

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Hello, The “M” Trail in Missoula, Montana

After making stops in Billings, Bozeman, and Helena, my final stop in Montana before heading west into Idaho and Washington was Missoula. I only ended up booking two nights in Missoula because hotel prices were high and there wasn’t much availability for my special promotional discounted rate that I’m eligible for.

On the day I made the two-hour drive from Helena to Missoula, I made a stop at the “M” Trail on the eastern side of Missoula to get in a quick hike during the time I had before check-in for my next hotel was available.

The trailhead is in the University of Montana campus, but I was able to get free parking in a lot on Campus Drive near the police department because I hiked on a Sunday, and restricted parking is not enforced on weekends. The trail itself is a series of fourteen switchbacks leading straight up to the big, white “M.” Because of the steep incline being built on the side of a mountain, there were nice views of Missoula on the way up, which progressively got better the higher I went.

The actual “M” itself appeared to be made out of some sort of stone (or possibly concrete?) painted white. I’m suspecting it could be concrete because it appears to have been molded into that shape (rather than assembled from smaller pieces), because I noticed that there was some writing engraved into the “M” in some areas.

The “M” isn’t the summit of this mountain—the summit was still a way’s away at the peak of University Mountain—but I hadn’t eaten enough that day and wasn’t prepared for a longer hike, so I decided to stop at the “M.” This was still plenty high enough to get amazing views of all of Missoula, as well as East Missoula and the interstate I took alongside Clark Fork River to get to Missoula.

And of course, with my luck with weather, it looked like some pretty gnarly storm clouds were fast approaching, so I hurried my way back down as to not get rained on or randomly struck by lightning.

The total hike was only a mile and a half, but the grade was high enough that it would leave me winded after doing a few switchbacks. My GPS tracker shows that I hiked 1.64 miles (2.64 kilometers), but I believe only about 1.2 miles of that was part of the straight ascent up and descent down; the rest was relatively flat as I went around to the other side to get another angle of the view. The total elevation gain ended up being around 650 feet (198 meters).

I’m looking at some of my past hikes, and I think this might actually be the highest intensity of incline that I’ve climbed. This comes out to an average of about 107 feet climbed every tenth of a mile, while I believe my previous steepest hike was Ensign Peak, north of the Capitol Hill district in Salt Lake City, Utah, at 94 feet climbed every tenth of a mile.

 

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Hello, Mount Ascension in Helena, Montana

For my second major hike of Helena, Montana, I went to Mount Ascension on the south side of the Helena Micropolitan Area. I had difficulty finding a day to go hiking again because of how much it rained during my stay in Helena, and it was still forecasted to rain on the day that I went to Mount As­cen­sion, but I figured that I would end up not really being able to do anything if I keep rescheduling things trying to dodge rain, so I went anyway.

Mount Ascension is near Mount Helena, which I already hiked—it’s sort of “across the street,” on the opposite side of West Main Street and past Davis Gulch Road. Mount Ascension had way more smaller trails leading up to the summit than Mount Helena, and it seemed like it would be a very nice pick-your-own-adventure style of hiking area for the locals who would make repeated visits.

I started heading southbound towards the summit on Pay Dirt Trail, after which I believe I connected onto the edge of Little Moab Trail, then went a­long­side Pail Rider Trail. All the paths had some nice wildflowers nearby.

When I say that there are a lot of smaller trails leading up to the summit, I mean that quite literally—there was a fairly obvious, clear path forward most of the time, but there were very many forks and splits in the road, and I even saw one path that seemed like it would be an extremely strenuous straight-shot up to the top, but there were signs saying that the trail is closed, most likely because it wasn’t trafficked enough and the vegetation covered and ob­structed most of the path.

As I neared the top via 2006 Trail, I reached its intersection with Entertainment Trail and Mount Ascension Loop Trail.

This was just as nice as the other hikes I’ve done in Montana, and there were some convenient rocks at the top upon which I was able to have a seat, take in the sweep­ing views of Helena and South Hills, rehydrate, breathe in the fresh air, and enjoy the serenity of nature.

After beginning my descent from the summit on a small side trail directly to the north of Mount Ascension Loop Trail, I ran into another lookout spot with an amazing view that I would have probably mistaken for the summit had I ascended in the opposite, clockwise direction. This spot had nice views of the city, and it’s looking like the view extended as far as East Helena on the other side of the interstate highway.

My luck avoiding the impending storm was running out, and it started raining. I was hoping to have an opportunity to go more east and explore the Bom­part Hill area as well if my stamina allowed, but I figured it wasn’t exactly the safest thing to be around a bunch of trees on top of a mountain while it’s rain­ing, so I just took a quick route back down to the parking lot.

Overall, my hike was just shy of 3 miles (which translates to a little over 4.5 kilometers), and the total elevation gain was approximately 930 feet (283 me­ters).

 

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Hello, Montana Historical Society in Helena

On one of the rainy days during my stay in Helena, Montana, I found myself an indoor activity to do—visit the Montana Historical Society.

Apparently a visit to the Montana Historical Society is usually done as a two-part trip, the first to the museum that I visited, and the second to the O­rig­i­nal Governor’s Mansion on Ewing Street. Unfortunately, I woke up pretty late and had some time-sensitive work to get done, so I had a little bit of a late start to my day and didn’t have enough time to visit both before closing time. However, I still got a thorough walk through the entire museum por­tion.

Overall, I’d say that this was probably one of the most cookie-cutter, textbook museums you can find. It focused in on a topic (Montana history), had a lot of exhibits on display behind locked glass, had a few videos playing on screens, and had a decent amount of text explaining the various different ex­hib­its.

My favorite part of the museum was on the second floor, which was actually more of an office floor than it was a museum floor, but there was one ex­hibit by the stairway. Apparently this is a white buffalo (not entirely albino, but close), which is very rare.

Because of how rare it is, scientists monitored it closely and ensured it would be of extra good health. This additional support meant that the buffalo grew far beyond its regular life expectancy, and once it died of natural causes, it was taxidermically stuffed for preservation and turned into an ex­hibit at this museum. You can tell how old it was because of how much hair it lost—I guess buffalos bald too, just like humans.

 

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Hello, Mount Helena in Montana

After having such a great time hiking in Billings and Bozeman, I wanted to get in a few more Montana hikes in Helena. Of course, the first thing I had to do was climb to the top of the mountain named after the city—Mount Helena.

On the way up, I started on Prospect Shafts Trail. The path was easy to follow, and there were some nice views progressively throughout the whole hike. The recent snow meant that the higher mountains in the back were still snow-capped.

On the way up, I ran into some wildflowers…

… as well as a pair of deer scavenging for food.

Usually when I run into deer, they keep their distance and are quick to flee when I get near to try and capture a photograph, but the deer I met here seemed to not mind that I was creeping closer and closer to try and get a better picture. That’s good and makes me happy, not only because I got a decent photo, but also because it tells me that the other people around here respect the deer enough that the deer have learned that people are not a threat.

I got pretty out of breath as I got closer to the summit; I’ve done hikes with a greater total elevation gain, but the summit of Mount Helena is 5,433 feet (1,656 meters), so the oxygen gets a bit more sparse up here than at the taller hikes I’ve done on the flatter East Coast.

I connected from Prospect Shafts Trail onto Hogback Trail for the final stretch.

Eventually, I made it to the summit and was able to take in the vast, sweeping, panoramic views of Helena and the surrounding area.

There were two guys already there at the top. Shortly after my arrival, an old man also made it to the top; he let me know that this was the first time he had made it to the summit in five years, and that he’s been really working on getting healthy and fit again.

On the way down, I switched over to Powerline Trail. The distance was shorter, which meant that the grade was a lot steeper, so it took a bit of extra focus and control not to trip, fall, and slide down the mountainside.

In total, the path I took was just over two and a half miles (which translates over to a little over four kilometers), and had a total elevation gain of about 1,100 feet (336 meters).

Needless to say, if you ever visit Helena, I definitely recommend hiking its namesake mountain. It’s a great workout, it has unobstructed views of the city and Lake Helena to one side, and amazing views of the mountains on the other.

 

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Hello, Archie Bray Foundation in Helena, Montana

While hiking at Spring Meadow Lake State Park (photos of which I’ll probably share in a Montana round-up blog post, because there aren’t many), I no­ticed that there were some strange sculptures out in the open in the distance. Curious, I looked up what was in that general direction on Google Maps and found the Archie Bray Foundation, which appeared to be some kind of school and museum that’s open to the public.

When I went to visit the following day, it didn’t quite go as planned—the building with the exhibits was closed, the studios had signs that said they were not open to the public, and the sales center (which I think was open?) had a sign on the door that said that masks were required for entry, regardless of vac­ci­na­tion status, without exception. This reminded me of a restaurant I saw in Texas that said “No masks allowed. Yes, it’s political.” … Except, the op­po­site, obviously.

As you may have guessed, I am a normal human being who has not even touched a mask for months except for when going on a plane, and I didn’t have a mask with me, so I chose to honor their wishes and did not enter. Luckily, there was a lot of stuff outdoors that I could still check out.

As I got close to the back of the property, things got weirder—there were more buildings, but they all looked abandoned and were falling apart.

Further still, there were random things built on the outskirts of the plot of land, all of which seemed to not really make any sense. For example, there was an area that had a massive pile of what appeared to be scrap bricks, but then it looked like someone had just randomly climbed to the top of the dis­carded pile and built a furnace.

In summary, I have absolutely no idea what in the world I witnessed. It was very strange experience, but still a pretty amusing use of half an hour.

 

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Hello, Drinking Horse Mountain in Bozeman, Montana

After my stay in Billings, I made my way two hours westbound on Interstate 90 to my next stop in Bozeman. Unfortunately, it was raining during the eve­ning I arrived and snowing on the day after, but I managed to squeeze in a hike at Drinking Horse Mountain next to the Bozeman Fish Technology Cen­ter and Montana Outdoor Science School.

I parked over by Bridger Canyon Drive and started my hike on Nature Trail, later connecting onto Drinking Horse Hill Trail.

One of the things that I enjoy about Montana is the presence of no-leash hiking trails.

I’ve mentioned this before, but the culture of the places out here where it’s less populated is much more pleasant than it is in big cities, and I’ve noticed that the people here are far more kind, integrous, and respectful towards each other. Considering my past experiences living in cities, I feel like a no-leash concept absolutely would not work in or near a major city, not only because inconsiderate people would release their untrained dogs to wreak havoc, but also be­cause there are a lot more sensitive people who would feel violated by the presence of loose dogs.

In Montana, all the dogs I ran into were extremely well-behaved, even including hunting dogs that their owners had proactively leashed anyway due to the fact that they may have underlying aggressive instincts. There are few things more joyful than seeing random dogs happily roaming round, and as you approach, they skip and bound up to your side and wait for you to pet them. This seems like a fairly small thing, but with my love of animals, this made my hik­ing experience much better.

The path up to the summit was clear and easy to hike. It ended up being a mixture of light forest and open trail with some great views in all directions as you got higher.

I used to only include photos of flowers and other close-ups of vegetation in the “continue reading” section below-the-fold of my blog posts, but I got some feedback that including photos like this adds to visual diversity, so I decided to include a few above-the-fold this time (or rather, there is no below-the-fold this time, as this ended up being a fairly straightforward hike and I don’t have an excess of photographs).

Long story short, I think Montana is one of the most underrated states in America. With multiple layers of mountains, tons of trees, and some of the freshest air I’ve ever breathed, making it to the summit and just sitting down and looking around was one of the most calming, soothing feelings.

Prior to doing this hike, I thought I was hiking up to the Col­lege M, before realizing that I was on the opposite side of the road. For some reason, the Col­lege M hike wasn’t on All Trails when I had checked, and I didn’t want to take a risk and do an impromptu second hike after Drinking Horse Moun­tain in case the elevation gain was unmanageably high and the distance was too long—I hadn’t eaten yet that day, and I had to make it back to my hotel with only an hour or so to spare to attend a conference call.

The Drinking Horse Mountain hike ended up being a little bit over 2 miles, with a total elevation gain of about 650 feet. I’ve done hikes a lot higher than that, but not at an elevation comparable to Montana’s, so the hike definitely got me breathing hard.

 

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