About Mark


Mark Hougardy enjoys helping people explore and discover a land’s personality and story.

His roots are from eastern Oklahoma and the beautiful Ozark Mountains. As a child, he witnessed the destruction of a scenic river from pollution and participated in a state hearing to help to raise awareness. In high school, he assisted with spelunking research that led to a cave being protected by The Nature Conservancy.

Mark often hiked and camped where he became very “grubby,” and he obtained his trail name “Grubb.”

In college, he guided tours, developed educational outings, and weekend travel adventures. He later led trips for overscheduled families to get outside on “Hiking for Families” community programs.

As a father, Mark championed kids and families in nature. He is the founder of GlyphGuy Backpacks and for ten years provisioned nature centers and outdoor youth programs, including the National Park Service’s Junior Ranger program, with safe and solidly made child-sized packs. He also worked with seventeen national & state park friend groups to develop outreach and marketing strategies to generate funding for interpretive programs. And has worked as the part-time Executive Director for a nonprofit that facilitates civic/public affairs and open discussion forums within a metropolitan area of 200,000.

Currently, Mark guides with the Obsidians and is an intergenerational group leader for Road Scholar. He also helps the Red Panda Network, an organization committed to protecting the red panda and preserving forest habitat through the empowerment of local communities, with development and communications skills.

He lives in Oregon with his family and is an avid hiker and backpacker.

Mark holds a BA in International Relations. He is a Tour Guide/Director Graduate of the International Tour Management Institute, a Certified Interpretive Guide from the National Association for Interpretation, an Oregon Master Naturalist from Oregon State University, and NOLS Graduate as a Wilderness First Responder.