I am Zachary the adventurer behind Pieces Through the Lens. The purpose of my blog is to share my stories and random adventures while inspiring others to seek true beauty in the world and in themselves. 


So come tag along as we venture out into the great outdoors.

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My Story

It all began for me in Springfield, Missouri in the great year of 1992. I was born into an amazing, loving supportive family. I grew up on a large farm in southwest Missouri with my entire extended family within a mile of one another. I had two brothers, two girl cousins & three older boy cousins all living and working on the farm. One of those cousins was a year older than me so we spent almost everyday together growing up. 


Our days were spent fishing on the river, adventuring around the farm, hunting, four wheeling or driving around the old country back roads with the windows down and country music on full blast. We grew up working and playing a lot of sports so my parents would take on small trips when we could, but the majority of my traveling came from long road trips with my dad & older brother when we were running summer track. 


My mother & father were both All Americans in college so they were big believers in us playing sports growing up. As a scrawny little kid I fell in love with running track, I didn’t have to really practice or try I was just gifted with an ability to run, (which upset my other brother ALOT.) 


My most memorable trip was to Detroit of all places. We had made it all the way to the Jr. Olympics but my dad had got us a flight out there a week or so in advance so we could do a roadtrip up into Canada and to see Horseshoe & Niagara Falls. When we finally got there I was in shock I had never gazed up something as magnificent as what I was see just the pure power, the volume, the almost calmness the falls made me feel as I looked at them with jaw dropped.. it became clear to me that experiences are worth more than possessions..


Fast forward a few years and my first big adventure by myself came when I decided to pack up and go on a mission trip to Indonesia. My first trip outside the continent would be a month in Bandung walking all around the city meeting people from all walks of life, going on hikes in the remote areas outside of the city, jumping off waterfalls, eating random street food, & being the sickest Ive been in my entire life. Lesson Learned don’t eat from a street vendor in the middle of the wilderness that shows up to a coffee bean farm. 




From Indonesia I moved to Hawaii, & started the process of planting a church with one of my good friends as the Youth Pastor. We lived in Kamuela on the Big Island. I made tons of new friends, starting doing CrossFit, working as a landscaper, a party bus driver, I detailed cars, we started a trash company the Rubbish Runnas. Needless to say I was doing everything I could to get by while living in a converted office that I used as a bedroom. 


I quickly got burnt out and I was offered a job back in Missouri working for a track and field company. I jumped at the opportunity thinking it was only going to be a few months then I would go back to Hawaii. Turned out I love what I did and decided to stay for the next two years. In those two years I met someone got a couple dogs and went on a few adventures. Spent a week in Wyoming over thanksgiving and fell in love with nature and how wide open that part of the country is. 

So I packed up and moved to Colorado shortly after, and decided to join the Navy all in the same time. While I was living in Colorado hundreds of miles away from Missouri my mother passed away suffering from a massive heart attack a few days before she was scheduled to fly out & go fly fishing with me. 


It catapulted me into a deep depressive state that I never really dealt with for years, I just kept throwing myself into things hoping I wouldn’t think about. I got married and went into the Navy a few days later. After joining I lived in Chicago for a year. Then we moved to a tiny town in Virginia for about a year with nothing around but farmland, which I loved I got to go fishing there wasn’t the noise of a city I felt back at home. 


Then it was off to San Diego to where I am now. Along the way I got a tiny tent trailer and stopped at national parks along the drive from coast to coast. Falling in love with Zion, Yosemite, and Great Basin. 


I got here in 2019 quickly went on a deployment when I got to my boat and the strain of everything and issues I hadn’t dealt with ultimately led to me getting a divorce. Wandering around with all these changes in my life I was grasping for anything again to make me not have to think about losing someone else important in my life. 


I decided to go to back to nature thinking back to all those days I spent wandering around the farm, staring at Horseshoe Falls, hiking up mountains in Indonesia. I knew those were when I was the happiest so I decided to dive head first into them thinking this will get my mind off everything. 


As it turns out this was the best thing for me. I finally felt safe enough to share a side of me I kept hidden for the past 5 years I was able to process my mothers death, I was able to process my divorce, I was able to look at myself in a way I hadn’t dared previously and the outdoors let me fall back in love with myself and who I truly am.


I did my first backpacking trip in Sequoia In May of 2021 on a whim I had never back packed but I wanted to rely solely on myself and it changed me I spent 36 hours without saying a single word out loud. I looked up at stars that I never knew existed before. I saw leaves, rocks, trees all in a different way how interconnect they all were how beautiful nature is when we just give a chance to be who it wants to be. Just like us if we don’t let others interfere with how we grow we are beautiful human beings. 



After Sequoia I had my eyes set on Mt. Whitney but a 2 month deployment thrown in the middle of the year really threw my plans off and training so I thought it might be out of the cards for me this year. As luck would have it a bunch of snow fell on Whitney late October and I was able to secure a day permit from the portal. Successfully summiting Whitney in 16 hours has been a highlight of my life, but it isn’t going to stop there. 



So follow along with me and lets see what other crazy adventures we can get into. 


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