What’s an OGExpert? They’re the folks that huff and puff alongside you in the skin track, give you a yell from the lift, move that pad for you at the climbing gym, share their granola at the summit, or help you change the tire at the bike trail head. It’s us. We’ve done it all, and used pretty much every kind of gear along the way. We live, breathe, and recreate with the community.
What brought you here to Vermont?
I came to Vermont permanently after thru-hiking the Long Trail in 2016. I stumbled into a little gear shop named OGE and decided I had to work there. The close access to the Long Trail, the White Mountains and the Adirondacks, and not to mention the awesome people that I’ve met are all things that keep me here.
How long have you been working at Outdoor Gear Exchange?
Aside from my 5 month leave of absence for the PCT I’ve been here for about 3 years.
What is your role at OGE?
Camping and Packs Department Head.
What would you consider your area of outdoor expertise?
Hiking and Backpacking.
Tell us about any upcoming goals or trips you have.
In April I will be setting out on the Continental Divide Trail to complete my Triple Crown!
What is one piece of advice or trip recommendation you often give to people who are experiencing the outdoors for the first time?
Just take your time and enjoy what you are doing. You don’t have to go anywhere fast or go super far. Find the beauty in the little things. Also, put your phone away and live in the moment! Take pictures after you take in the view with your own eyes.
Favorite piece of outdoor clothing or equipment you bring on every trip?
One of my favorite pieces of clothing is my Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer puffy jacket. It only weighs about 8 and a half ounces, and keeps me super warm around camp. My favorite non-clothing piece is my Sea to Summit long-handled spoon, it’s long enough to reach the bottom of peanut butter jars or freeze-dried food bags, and it has a flat edge to scrape my pot clean!
What’s your favorite trail snack and local beverage?
I don’t know if I can narrow my trail snacks down to one favorite but I do love Cabot Habanero cheese. I need a little kick on trail sometimes. Favorite local beverage is probably Sip of Sunshine!
Do you have a hidden talent? What is it?
I have a talent so hidden that I don’t even know what it is.
How do you keep the stoke at 11?
I love talking to others about their adventures and sharing stories of mine. I’m a huge gear nerd (obviously) so just playing with the new latest and greatest packs and tents gets me pumped to go out and use them.
Instrument of choice for digging a cat hole?
The Deuce of Spades! Now available at OGE!
Are you involved in any local outdoor community outside of the shop? If so, please explain.
Kim (my partner) and I are very involved in the Thru-Hiking community. We put on an annual trail magic event on the AT/LT, and we also try to take hikers into our home in Richmond when we can, along with providing rides.
How were you introduced to the outdoors?
I was introduced to the outdoors when I was young, in the Boy Scouts and on family camping trips. As I grew older, I was more removed from the outdoors but found a resurgence in my mid-20’s when seeking something to help with my stress from working in the automotive industry. Then, having never backpacked for more that 2 days, I headed to Georgia to hike the Appalachian Trail—and the rest is history.
Favorite after-work shred spot/outdoor adventure?
Favorite part about the OGE?
My favorite part of OGE is definitely the community. I’ve never been surrounded by so many rad, supportive people that are always looking to get after it.
Biggest outdoor pet-peeve?
I’ve got a couple that bug the heck out of me. I love that more folks are getting involved in the outdoors but the lack of Leave No Trace ethics can be frustrating. I see too much litter and too much venturing off trail. I can’t stand seeing people venture past roped off sections of trail and trample fragile vegetation to get an Instagram photo. Stay on the trail! If I see someone litter I will be sure to remind them that they dropped something too.
Are you a fan of Type 2 fun?
I hate it while I’m doing it but then I always go back for more. So, yes.
Any suffer-fests or epics you’d like to tell us about?
My most recent suffer-fest was my 9 1/2 day thru-hike of the Long Trail this summer. The last 4 days in particular, where I covered over 130 miles. My very last day was 36 miles, and I hiked through 3 separate thunderstorms and had to deal with standing water on the trail that was mid-calf deep. Another suffer-fest was on the PCT, when we completed our 24 hour challenge, hiking for 24 hours and covering 61 miles! Although with that one we were rewarded with hot springs at the end, so it could have been worse!