10 Years of DC UL: Sharon

DC UL Backpacking is celebrating its 10th anniversary in 2019. As part of the celebration, we’ll be featuring conversations with group members throughout July and August.

Sharon Grant (MacGyver) first joined DC UL in 2010, and since then has been on some 70 trips.

Sharon shares her adventures on her blog, MacGyver’s Travels. When asked about how she earned her trail name, she replied, “You’ll have to hike with me to find out!”

Let’s guess that it probably had to do with her “extraordinary knack for unconventional problem solving,” not unlike a certain famous TV character.

You’ve been with DC UL since the beginning. What brought you to DC UL? And what keeps you coming back?

I was feeling a bit stuck and needed to get out and explore. I backpacked a little as a teenager, and I had some gear, so I thought I’d give it a shot. What keeps me coming back are the people, the growth, and the amazing sights.

sharon cold weather
Cold weather gear is essential on the Mid State Trail in the winter. Photo credit: Sharon.

What’s been your favorite trip so far?

Too hard to pick one. For my first big challenges—the ones that made me feel like I could hang with the big guns—I’d say the Four-State Challenge and the Massanutten Sufferfest. For my first international backpacking trip, and probably the best views ever, Corsica. For the beer, Scotland. For the most memorable event, watching the eclipse from the Smokies.

sharon smokies
Sharon G. in the Smokies, after learning about the magic of wool shirts in the summer. Photo credit: Karan.

What do you like best about DC UL?

The quantity and variety of trips. If I want to get out a particular weekend, there’s usually something.

What advice do you have for newcomers to DC UL?

Recognize that there’s always something to learn, and this is group is filled with generous people willing to share advice. I started from almost nothing when I joined DC UL, and I accumulated skill and gear gradually. I was often uncomfortable at first (mentally and physically), but I was never so far out of my comfort zone that I wanted to quit.

sharon yama ee quilt
Yama Mountain Gear Tent, insulated booties, and an Enlightened Equipment Quilt are some of Sharon’s favorite gear. Photo credit: Sharon.

Where do you hope to go in the future with DC UL? 

Well I suppose if there’s somewhere I really want to go, it’s on me to plan it, right? I’d like to get to the Utah/Wyoming/Idaho/Montana area. (Many times.)

Featured image: Sharon in Corsica. Photo credit: Michael Martin.

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