Take 10 with Dan Hill

A Q&A with Dan Hill, Assistant Director of Kalmia Gardens of Coker College

1. Hometown? Florence, SC though I was born in Homestead, FL (Army Brat)

2. Hobbies? Concerts/live music, kayaking/canoeing, craft beer drinking, wilderness hiking/backpacking, doing surveys for Swallow-Tailed Kites (it’s a bird of prey), bike riding, going out in my small johnboat

3. What’s the best way to start the day? Waking up to warm sunshine in a wild remote location. Preparing backcountry coffee and taking in the view.

4. Top three places you want to visit? 1- Galapagos Islands. 2- New Zealand. 3- Madagascar.

5. What is something that your friends would consider “so you”? Pulling or complaining about nonnative invasive plants.

6. Favorite restaurant in Hartsville? The Midnight Rooster

7. What are you most thankful for? That things aren’t any worse, things can always be worse.

8. What is the last book you read? Whose Boat Is This Boat?: Comments That Don't Help in the Aftermath of a Hurricane. Before that was Does it Fart?: The Definitive Field Guide to Animal Flatulence – (LOL!) I mainly read research papers ;-)

9. What’s your favorite TV show? Late Show With Stephen Colbert

10. What amazing thing did you do that no one was around to see? I was hiking into a Swallow-Tailed Kite (STKI) nest with a backpack full of climbing gear, alone. STKI nest in big river swamps, in the literal middle of no-where. I had to get ropes in the nest tree so we could climb it the following day to place an ID band and radio transmitter on the STKI chick. It was a beautiful site but at the same time I hated this site. It was a huge expanse of dark swamp super easy to get lost in, the water was deep and there were several holes in the ground that were hidden by the black water. The mid and understory was thick with vegetation that you had to carefully wind your way through. I was bushwhacking in, the water was at least waist deep in most parts, and I somehow got slightly off trail and yep, stepped into a hole. Sank like a stone! As I sank I scrambled to get the heavy backpack full of climbing gear off my back while reaching into the darkness for anything to grab a hold of so I wouldn’t sink further into what seemed an endless abyss. I sank and sank for what seemed to be forever. Backpack finally off I was somehow able of claw, scratch, swim my way to the surface. When I broke the surface I gasp for breath. Shaken, I stumbled over to sit on a stump. Looking over at the water’s surface still rippling from my thrashing around and coming to grips with the fact I had just lost the climbing gear I realized the answer to question #7 “things can always be worse.”


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