Who are you, what do you do?

I sign trail registers as Pepper and am proud to be from Pennsylvania. I currently enjoy creating routes and exploring distant locations, seeing familiar locations in different seasons and incorporating technical elements into thru-hiking. Sometimes I go fast, sometimes I go light. I am guilty of having the requisite alphabet soup of completed trail and have worn through my fair share of shoes. I value paying my skill set forward through on-line planning resources on my website and as a field instructor and administrator with Outward Bound. I love crosswords, planning, sewing, planning more, cycling, organizing to plan, and alpine environments.

Where do you hike mostly?

The Sierra has been my backyard for the last several years. It is familiar while still having many areas to explore. The Sierra High Route is a must for anyone who enjoys endless granite and alpine lakes. Off-trail through alpine environments is my preferred mode of travel and I love connecting landscapes through varied terrain. My favorite places to go are places I have yet to be. My top recommendations are the Himalaya, the Canadian Rockies and the Canyonlands of Utah. I try to prioritize getting out on at least one long adventure each year. Currently the shoulder seasons and winter are when I am able to get out and explore which has highlighted ski travel and the southern hemisphere as my next areas to focus on.

What do you take on the trail?

  • A Map and compass. I love pouring over maps and imagining the next days travel. A mandatory skill in my mind making electronics obsolete. Online tools like Caltopo have made planning effortless.
  • A Katabatic Palisade quilt. Once I converted to quilts I have have never gone back. Katabatic quilts have been my mainstay since they first came out. I love the versatility and simplicity. I find the 30 degree bag the perfect choice for 3-season use.
  • Some Oboz Footwear. I have logged over 10,000mi on various Oboz models and have never had a pair fail prematurely on me. They are built tough and responsive to user feedback.
  • A Mountain Laurel Designs Cuben Duomid. This mid has been my mainstay shelter when traveling with a partner. It has survived the mountains of the Himalaya and continues to impress me on its functionality, weight and durability.
  • KIND bars. Having celiacs, companies that support and priorize gluten free produces have increased my on-trail experience, both nutritionally and logistically.

What would be some of your ideal kit?

Hands down, a fabric that is truly waterproof and breathable. Wool blends that lasted as long as synthetics. MP3 player that lasted more than 1000hr.