RockchuckSummit.com is an Austin, Texas-based “Adventure Zine” that showcases stories of travel, adventure, the great outdoors, and everything in between. From trekking through secluded trails to scaling mountains, from overlanding in four-wheel drives to stargazing, we’re all about exploration without boundaries or limits.

Join us in our explorations!

Our Backstory

There are experiences in life that imprint themselves on your memory indelibly. They might be peculiar, extraordinary, or so impactful that whenever you encounter a trigger – say, a Rockchuck – you’re instantly transported back to that defining moment.

My Childhood

I grew up amidst the pine forests and urban sprawl of a small town north of Houston called Spring, Texas. There, I built forts, ventured into the unknown, climbed, chopped, dug, floated, canoed, and swam. Texas, vast and familiar, was my playground, offering comfort and endless adventures. Yet, what I cherished most were our annual two-week trips to the north, where mountains breathed fresh air into my life, and for a brief period, allergies couldn’t reach me. Those two weeks were a stark, refreshing contrast to everything I knew.

The 4×4.

One year, our adventures went beyond visiting national parks, driving to the mountains, or camping at our favorite spots – we rented a 4×4. Until that day, I had never stood on a mountain summit that wasn’t lined with a busy highway or a well-groomed park. I had never been above the treeline, nor had I ever ascended a mountain so high that the clouds seemed within reach. It was breathtaking! I experienced a sky so intensely blue that it redefined the color for me. I fell in love with the wildlife, the rocks, the flora, and the echoes of a bygone era. I wondered why it had taken me so long to discover this place.

Reaching the summit opened up a new realm for me – a realm filled with history, wonder, and awe. I pondered how people could have lived in such heights, how pioneers traversed these passes heading west, how railways conquered these formidable mountains, and what life was like here.

Upon reaching the peak of our first pass, my father pulled over, partly due to my mother’s less enthusiastic view of mountain trails compared to mine, but mainly to give me a chance to explore, which I had eagerly insisted upon. We stopped, and I bolted from the car, racing towards a patch of snow to craft my very first snowball, as far as memory served. Just as I was about to grasp the snow, I looked up –

There it was!

And there it was, a large, buck-toothed rock chuck, just as my dad described it. I didn’t have a camera—digital photos weren’t a thing back then—but it looked exactly like this one. Thank you for the wonderful photo. by Gary Chang CC )

Plump rock chuck


I may not dream about rock chucks or collect coffee mugs, shirts, and stickers featuring them (yet?), but whenever I see or hear about them, I’m reminded of a unique experience that few seem to undertake, whether on foot or by 4×4. I’ve had the privilege of reaching a mountain’s summit, following trails blazed by humans and animals alike, and witnessing beauty and wonder like never before.

This blog is a tribute to the rock chuck and all the memories it conjures. It’s about moments I want to hold onto and moments I wish to share.

Amidst the whirlwind of my professional life, the most delightful occurrence is a sudden recollection of these furry creatures, allowing me to daydream about past journeys and ponder the next adventure. Here’s to the rock chuck memories that we cherish!

What is a Rock chuck?

The yellow-bellied marmot (Marmota flaviventris), also known as the rock chuck, is a ground squirrel in the marmot genus.



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