California geology professor begins 500-mile hike

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FOX 9’s Adam Klepp had an exclusive interview with Nick Van Buer before starting his journey

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

“I plan to do 500 miles through the Mojave Desert starting today,” Van Buer said.

He is expecting a 5 week trip to the Sierra Nevada which includes 2 Mount Everests of total elevation gain.

“I try to bring awareness to 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 who go hiking usually bring a trail mix, or maybe a sandwich.

Nick plans to bake his own bread.

A hug for dad before the start of the hike.

“For food, I’m actually carrying flour, for the old pioneers, and I’m planning on baking bread in the campfire. It saves a lot of weight,” Van Buer said.

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

“In the age of the dinosaurs, there were actually plenty of supervolcanoes,” Van Buer said.

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

I went around to speak with her parents where her mother shared some heartwarming words.

“So we really hope he finds his way,” Ann Chang said.

Nick’s parents will make weekly visits to Nick to provide him with supplies and will keep in touch with him via satellite phone.

“There’s a supply point or two he’s set up…we’re going to get him more flour to make his bread and get his dirty clothes so we can wash them,” Nick’s father, Darrell Van Buer, said.

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

A link to his channel is available here.

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