Happy (Almost) Birthday, Sweet Russell

“Keep on Keepin’ on.” 

For Backcountry Journeys “Guide Extraordinaire,” Russell Graves, these words of wisdom hold much more meaning than just a simple quote from the legendary, Joe Dirt. They are a mantra. Gas in the proverbial ‘tank’ of life. And as Graves is set to get yet another year older on Sunday (we won’t divulge just how old), he surely does so with plenty of that trademark optimism he’s known for.  

A whirlwind tour of leading photo trips for BCJ continues, on his birthday (Sunday), as he is set to launch yet another fantastic Great Smoky Mountains in Autumn photo tour. An “old” guy like Russell is going to need all the gas he can muster up, as he has led a total of 234 photography tours in 2021, alone (that number might be greatly exaggerated for affect).  

But, none of this is new for Graves as he’s been firing on all cylinders for years! Since 1989, he’s traveled the state of Texas telling authentic stories with his camera and his words. These days, he focuses a great deal of energy on leading BCJ tours where he helps folks learn and improve their camera skills, achieve those dream photographs, as well as have a great time while on tours of bucket-list locations across the country. His motor never stops, except maybe for the occasional sip of whiskey on the front porch of the new rural Texas homestead.

It is true that at one time Graves was suspected as the Texas Yeti, with sightings and evidence left behind that could only lead to one ‘perfectly-flowing bearded local.’ He is the master of the BCJ Webinar, and a true gentleman. 

All kidding aside, RG. From your entire Backcountry Journeys’ family:

HAPPY BIRTHDAY on Sunday, and THANK YOU for all that you do to make BCJ and the world a better place!

Keep on Keepin’ on, friend.

Kenton Krueger








Kenton Krueger has spent the past several years guiding backpackers, hikers, and photographers into the wild places of the American West such as Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, Yosemite, Glacier, Katmai, Zion, Bryce Canyon, Arches, Canyonlands National Parks, as well as internationally in Costa Rica & Brazil. In addition to backpacking and camping, his adventures include rock climbing, exploring the slot canyons of southern Utah, mountain biking, and bagging 14ers in Colorado’s San Juan Mountain Mountain Range. Kenton is a trail runner, former pilot, and spent roughly five years writing and photographing for the award-winning Omaha World-Herald newspaper, out of his hometown, Omaha, Nebraska. Kenton looks forward to utilizing his years of trip leading and guiding experience, combined with his passion and experience behind the lens, to provide memorable and unforgettable experiences at the wild places we will visit together.

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