10 Years of DC UL: Karan

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.

Karan (B.A.) has been on some 150 trips with DC UL, so there’s a pretty good chance that you’ve met him. You may know him as B.A., which either stands for “Beer Angel” or “Bad Ass,” depending on the day. He is known for bringing beer for the whole group on his first Massanutten Death March.

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You’ve been with DC UL for a while. What brought you to DC UL? And what keeps you coming back?

Before I moved to DC, I used to backpack in India. When I moved here, I had no idea whether there were backpacking groups in the area or not. After I found DC UL on Meetup and signed up for my first trip, the trip leader (Brian H.) was very kind to loan me a lot of winter/backpacking gear. I had a great first hike, invested in a lot of gear immediately after (I was actually purchasing stuff on the drive back after the trip) and started ramping up the miles. There was no going back. I loved being outside, hiking long days with very like-minded people. Still do.

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Among Karan’s favorite gear: the Tarptent Saddle 2.

What’s been your favorite trip so far?

That is a really hard question. I’ve had many awesome trips, including ADK trip (Jul ’14), Colorado Trail (Aug ’15), Grayson Highlands (Jan ’16), Long Trail (Oct ’16), Canadian Rockies (Aug ’17). If I had to pick one, it would be the Colorado Trail. The beauty of the mountains and the zany camaraderie we had, mixed with having most of the trail to ourselves, made for a very satisfying experience.

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What do you like best about DC UL?

I like the people and the “so-what-if-we-have-to-hike-a-surprise-30-mile-day” mindset of the group. Also — the ranking system.

What advice do you have for newcomers to DC UL?

I feel a lot of people join the group, but don’t end up doing hikes because they lack the gear. I would encourage those people to ask trip leaders if they could borrow gear. Going light will be nice, but the focus should be on having a great time.

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

I am quite happy where I am with DC UL.

Photo credits: Karan.

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