Mick Dodge has spent the past 25 years away from civilization, living off the land in a rainforest. The former marine gave up his 9-to-5 job as a heavy equipment mechanic at Fort Lewis to take up this alternative lifestyle. “That’s my real life passion,” he says.
Dodge is actually a native of the Hoh Rainforest, located on the Olympic Peninsula in western Washington State. His great-grandparents settled in the region; Dodge grew up there and in several other places around the world. Eventually, thanks to his father’s influence, he became an extreme fitness freak.
But the 62-year-old doesn’t miss the gym in the outdoors. He has created a unique concept called the Earth Gym – a sort of YMCA in the forest with natural equipment. Dodge uses cargo nets, straps, stones and ropes to create a fitness regimen of his own. Students come to learn from him as well, and he teaches them exercises developed on a connection with nature. His extreme techniques include running barefoot upstream in the Sol Duc River.