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California geology professor begins 500-mile hike

FOX 9'S Adam Klepp got an exclusive interview with Nick Van Buer before he started his journey

YUMA, Ariz. (KECY, KYMA) - Wikipedia defines a sabbatical as a rest or a break from work. Nick Van Buer is taking a different approach, starting the hike of a lifetime from the Andrade Port of Entry.

“I'm planning on hiking 500 miles across the Mojave Desert starting today,” Van Buer said.

He expects to be a 5 week trip to the Sierra Nevada, which includes 2 Mount Everests worth of total elevation gain.

“I’m trying to raise awareness for geology, and specifically our geology department at Cal Poly Pomona,” Van Buer said.

Nick also says he hopes to collect samples along the way, to study with his students.

Those heading out on a hike usually bring some trail mix, or maybe a sandwich.

Nick plans to bake his own bread.

A hug for dad before the hike begins.

“For food, I’m actually carrying flour, for the old pioneers, and I’m planning to bake bread in the campfire. That saves a lot of pack weight," Van Buer said.

Before he departs, Nick shares a fact with me about the Mojave Desert.

“Back in the time of the dinosaurs, it actually used to be full of supervolcanoes,” Van Buer said.

Immediately after our interview ends but not before a quick hug for dad, Nick began his journey.

I circled back to talk with his parents where his mom shared some comforting words.

“So we really hope he’s going to find his way," said Ann Chang.

Nick’s parents will be making weekly visits to nick to get him supplies, and keeping in touch with him on a satellite phone.

“There’s one or two supply points he’s got arranged…we’re going to bring him more flour to make his bread, and take back his dirty clothes so we can wash them,” said Nick's dad, Darrell Van Buer.

If you want to follow Nick’s journey, he will be posting videos on his YouTube page.

A link to his channel can be found here.

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Adam Klepp

Adam Klepp is excited to start his first job in the broadcast news industry as the FOX9 at 9 anchor and as a reporter at 5 and 6 on News 11.


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