An interview with Skye Marthaler

What outdoor activity is your passion?
I’m a highpointer! Point to a geographically bounded area on a map and I’ll want to go stand on its highest point. While I mainly focus on the state highpoints I won’t pass up the chance to explore the highest point of a city, county, or other geographical oddity. I love the great variety of them, from snow-capped mountains to urban hills, from forested peaks to the high plains. It is a great way to see parts of the United States most never will. Now I also film episodes about them for my web series Rooftops of America, which allows me to tie in my two other outdoor passions, landscape photography and documentary filmmaking.

How did you get involved in that activity, and how old were you when you started?
I went up my first state highpoint (Timms Hill, WI) as a kid. Growing up 30 minutes away from it meant multiple visits during my childhood. I have always liked climbing to the highest points of areas, you usually get the best views from up there, but I didn’t officially start this journey until August 2013 when I was 38 years old. I was driving to my 20-year high school class reunion and I spotted the sign for Hoosier Hill, the highest point in Indiana. I needed to stretch my legs a bit so one quick detour later and there I was, standing near an engraved stone in a small grove designating the state highpoint. To add a bit of context, if you were going to try to convince someone to give highpointing a chance you wouldn’t recommend Hoosier Hill as his or her first experience. It is a small bump on a glacier till plain, surrounded by fields and forests with not a scenic view to be had. For me though it was perfect moment and as I pulled out to continue on my road trip back to my hometown I made the decision to actively pursue all 50 state highpoints. Before the weekend was over I had officially bagged three and have never looked back.

What was the most epic trip you’ve ever taken?
Up to this point the most epic hiking trip I’ve taken was leading a nine-day backpacking trip around Isle Royale in Michigan. It’s a beautiful place and recommend everyone go check it out. As a photographer the best place I’ve ever photographed was Iceland, such a diversity of landscapes. You can’t take a bad shot! I am looking forward to a few more epic trips in the future.

What is the most important piece of gear in your pack? (other than AKU footwear, of course!)
My Leatherman, a compass, and first aid kit. Don’t leave home without them!

Where do you hope your AKUs will take you in the future?
Up more state highpoints! In the immediate future, they’ll be taking me from heights of Wheeler Peak in New Mexico and back to the thick air of Hoosier Hill, Indiana. I also plan on putting them to the test exploring the many waterfalls Tennessee has to offer.

What AKU boots are you currently wearing?
I’m currently wearing the Alterras and they have been excellent so far.