Trail Correspondents Episode 1 & 2: Introductions
We’re back! After a few month-long hiatus, Trail Correspondents is storming back into your world like a phoenix rising from the ashes. As you likely already know, last year the Trail Correspondents series ran through The Trek’s flagship podcast, Backpacker Radio. Due to the popularity of this series, we deemed it worthy of its own home, i.e. this podcast. So….
What is Trail Correspondents?
Last year, we showcased roughly a dozen thru-hikers taking on Appalachian Trail, Pacific Crest Trail, and Continental Divide Trail. Every other week, we’d feature their updates from the trail centered around a particular subject or theme. Through their eyes and vocal cords, we got a glimpse into the minds, hearts, and souls of those who take on a half year backpacking trip.
This year, by and large, it’s going to be more of the same. The primary difference for this year’s show, is the hikers that we’re featuring. More specifically, the theme for this season of Trail Correspondents was to
- Feature primarily first time thru-hikers. We made this decision as it’s hard to replicate the excitement of your first cross-country trek, and this enthusiasm is palpable. And,
- Feature a greater diversity of voice. This season, we’ve got hikers ranging in age from 22 to 66. We’ve got hikers who are chasing their dream, and others who are eager to escape unsavory realities on the home front. Most of our correspondents are from the US, though we’re also happy to be featuring those with Canadian, Mexican, and Indian descent. Our crew includes someone hiking with their spouse, someone hiking with their life partner, and a brother / sister duo.
Really the only qualities this group has in common is their storytelling ability (which you are soon to learn, is captivating) and an intense desire to make 2019 a landmark year.
You can find the intro episodes below, with our Correspondents bios, headshots, and Instagram profiles (for most) below.
American Discovery Trail
Bio: Lucas is a long time lover of the outdoors, but last year decided to take that passion to a new level. In 2018, he decided to embark on the American Discovery Trail which spans across the USA from coast to coast. He made it roughly 1,500 miles as far as the end of his home-state of Iowa, but plans to finish the remaining 2,700+ miles to the California coast in 2019. Before the venture, Lucas was suffering from depression and creative block as an artist and set out to re-spark his passions and discover the USA one step at a time.
Bio: Nancy will be 66 years young when she starts her journey on the AT. Recently retired, widowed, mom of two amazing daughters, grandmother, road cyclist, adventurer, and lover of wild flowers and wild places. She backpacked 240 miles of the AT in 2017, but that wasn’t enough, so she’s back for more. A lot more…
Bio: Frozen has 5 years of backpacking experience with his biggest trip covering a 240 mile section of the Superior Hiking Trail. He has worked in IT at the same job for 14 years and needs a life change. After his Uncle had an unfortunate hunting accident that left him paralyzed below the waist, Frozen decided that his thru hike couldn’t wait until retirement, and is setting out to hike from Georgia to Maine.
Bio: Dog lover, nature addict, crystal enthusiast. She has decided to trade in the corporate 9 to 5 for the adventure lifestyle to include the collection of experiences over material possessions. When not hiking she and her husband tour the country in their DIY camper van. Their one true happy place is in the mountains and hiking the Appalachian Trail is a dream come true.
Bio: Melissa will be thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail in March of 2019 and it will be her first long distance hike. She currently resides in Delaware where she bartends while wistfully thinking about wide open spaces. You will always see her wearing her Buff and a pair of sunglasses. Melissa hopes that you enjoy following her and the other Trail Correspondent’s journeys this season!
Bio: Kenneth is a 29 year old Atlantan. Prior to deciding to hike the AT, he spent most of his free time biking; however, a 1-week stint on the AT in March of 2018 awakened a new interest in the hardships and challenge presented by backpacking. He’s submitted his resignation at the tech company he’s worked at since graduating college and is ready to hit the trail again in late March of 2019 to finish what he started.
Bio: Katharine is a born and bred Manhattanite who enjoys exploring and the outdoors. She grew up wandering and adventuring, but she found herself spending less and less time outside, replacing the wild with (equally wonderful) trips to other cities. The Appalachian Trail has been a lifelong dream, and she decided that 2019 would be the year to give it a try. (Plus, she loves a good, challenging goal).
Bio: Travis is a naturally curious, freedom seeking Tennessee native. While preparing for his NOBO hike, he’s fallen in love with trail running and creating gear spreadsheets. The AT will be his first solo thru-hike, and he’s secretly hoping to catch long trail fever.
Continental Divide Trail
Bio: Sara Dhooma’s trailname of “Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?” perfectly describes this fearless, globe-trotting adventurer. She has travel backpacked in 75+ countries, and strives to trek the most epic landscapes on earth. After a life-threatening pulmonary embolism, she left her office job in August 2017 to complete her hiking bucket list. After a warm-up on the Israel National Trail this winter, Sara will take a big step towards the Triple Crown with a NOBO thru-hike Continental Divide Trail.
Bio: Dosu (pronounced “dough-sew”) Kinuta looks like a bum but lives like a king. If you have ever wanted to quit your career and go backpacking he would tell you to do it. If you thought that living wild and free in your 30s was for people with trust funds he will show you it’s not. If you need that encouragement then listen.
Pacific Crest Trail
Bio: Eric grew up in a small mountain town in Colorado and is the little brother to fellow trail correspondent, Alison. He studied architecture and design at Kansas State University and upon graduating moved to practice architecture in Austin, Texas. He has been working there for the previous 4 years, but the itch to get on the trail has been growing ever since. His curiosity of the outdoors has led him to take on a Pacific Crest Trail thru-hike with his sister Alison in 2019.
Bio: When Karthikeya was young, he wanted to be a Scientist, later a doctor and instead became an IT Engineer. As soon as he began Hiking, Mountaineering, Rock climbing his experiences multiplied followed by a perspective change and he no longer strived to be something. So, he shifted his focus on adventures rather than designations and is leaving on a journey thru PCT with a goal to obtain maximum experience from life.
Bio: Angie is a woman from Michigan who loves theatre, music & movement, and the outdoors! She is ripping herself from her “everyday life” to go on this incredible adventure and couldn’t be more excited (and terrified) about it. 🙂 She is most excited to allow the time to experience new things and new people… and to see what she sees.
Bio: Zack Munsell is outgoing and thrives to keep the people around him comfortable, confident, and most importantly in high spirits. Though he’s a rookie outdoorsman, having only gotten into overnight backpacking this past summer, he’s confident his strong will and personality will be defining factors that enable him to complete his thru-hike. Zack is in a little over his head, and is compensating by being a little out of his mind.
Bio: Born in Los Angeles and raised in Mexico, Jazmin started out as a newspaper reporter and now works in state government, fueling her outdoor adventures in marathon running and hiking with a healthy dose of street tacos. Her SoCal-based indoor pursuits include reading, writing and painting. After section hiking the PCT for four years, she’s jumping feet first into her first thru hike.
Bio: Before embarking on homeless trail life, Sarah lived in the Philadelphia suburbs with her partner. She worked as a travel consultant for five years, and was an avid rock climber. She enjoys music, chocolate, Broadway, more chocolate, and being outside. She’s heard candy bars abound on the PCT, and is as ready as she’ll ever be for this adventure.
Bio: Alison is from Colorado but has recently lived in California and New Mexico. She is still trying to figure out what to do with her life, but working at a nonprofit and helping land conservation projects seems to be the direction things are going. Her love of coffee, beer, and mountains knows no bounds.
Bio: Laura, a 39-year-old physical therapist from Victoria BC Canada, “hated hiking” until her early 30s. After a friend insisted she just shut up and try it, Laura realized that hiking is actually just walking, usually in beautiful surroundings. Although late to the party, Laura has since has fallen in love with hiking and backpacking, exploring the many world-renowned trails near her home on Vancouver Island, as well as in the Canadian Rockies, the European Alps, and the US. The PCT in 2019 will be her first backpacking trip longer than 2 weeks.
Bio: Julie is a high school math teacher from Columbia, IL. She loves hiking and camping with her husband, coaching high school soccer, cooking, collecting National Park stamps, and having a few beers with her awesome friends and family.
Today’s show is brought to you by Granite Gear. Trail Correspondents can score a 20% discount off any purchase at GraniteGear.com by using “TREK20” at checkout. Get on it.
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Editing and music courtesy of Pauly Boy Shallcross.
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