PHOTOS: Most beautiful hikes in the Scenic Rim revealed
ANDREW Stephan never liked staying cooped up inside for long.
The 24-year-old has always had a need to get out into nature and now there are not many mountains in the Scenic Rim he hasn't climbed.
His passion for the outdoors landed the Kalbar local his dream job working in an outdoor education centre he attended as a young student.
Andrew grew up on his family's tomato farm and has always loved his home town of Kalbar.
He went to primary school in his home town and then finished high school in Boonah.
After Year 12 he moved to the city to follow his passion for teaching but always had plans on returning home to the Scenic Rim.
"I moved to Brisbane to study HPE teaching and took my first job at a school on the Sunshine Coast," he said.
"This job only lasted six months, as I was lucky enough to be offered a contract at Maroon Outdoor Education Centre, which I had considered to be my dream job since the end of high school.
"Year 10 camp was what initially triggered my passion for the outdoors and eventually drove my desire to some day provide students with these same opportunities and experiences like I was fortunate enough to have."
At Maroon he works with students from Years 5-12, usually for five days at a time. Unlike traditional teaching, Maroon puts kids outside their comfort zone.
"The student learning focus is around resilience, teamwork and leadership and includes a campout experience among other activities such as canoeing and high ropes," he said.
"Although it can be tiring work, I find my job to be very rewarding particularly seeing students learn and develop such valuable skills over the space of a week.
"It's always a bonus to work with local students from around the Scenic Rim."
Andrew said his passion for bushwalking began towards the end of his university degree.
"I found myself wanting to escape Brisbane's suburbs and explore the backyard where I once lived," he said.
"I lead many trips with the Brisbane bushwalking club during this time traversing the rugged escarpment of the Main Range National Park between Spicers Gap and Teviot Gap has been one of my favourite bushwalks.
"I still remember for the first time reading Robert Rankin's book, secrets of the Scenic Rim, outlining his attempts to traverse this section of the range in a day. It's typically a three day bushwalk.
"After travelling the route numerous times at a leisurely pace my curiosity got the better of me and so I followed in the footsteps of Rankin.
"In September of 2015, I set off from Spicers Gap carpark on foot after dropping off my bicycle at the Head Rd near Teviot Falls. I emerged from the rainforest 6hrs 35mins later, a mere 5mins faster than Rankin's benchmark recorded in 1991.
"Some fried chicken from the Aratula service station was an incentive to cycle back to the car at Spicers Gap."
Aside from the physical side of mountain climbing, Andrew said he also loved the rich history of the Scenic Rim area.
"I think it is important to understand this history of the Scenic Rim so we can ensure that it can be admired and enjoyed by our future generations," he said.
"The term Scenic Rim was coined by the late Arthur Groom back in 1941, referring to the vast expanse of rugged wilderness from the Mistake Range, north of Cunningham's Gap, to east of the Springbrook Plateau. He envisaged the desirability to have the entire Rim gazetted as National Park.
"With almost the entire Scenic Rim being designated as National Park it is possible for bushwalkers to traverse it's entire length if they feel the desire.
"In June 2016, Ryan Siacci of Boonah and I embarked on a self reliant walk along the Rim beginning at the Goomburra camping ground in the Northern Main Range. This journey gave us a new found perspective and respect for the some 250km of mountain ranges along which it follows.
"Ryan ended his traverse at O'Reillys in Lamination National Park after seven days of walking while I continued a further one and a half days to the beach at Point Danger.
"Whether it's venturing into one of our National Parks or just the park down the street I think it's important for us all to get out, connect with and care for the beautiful area in which we live and visit."