It’s that time of year again — time to take stock of the year behind you, time to look forward to the year that’s coming, and time to appreciate the good things in life.
At DC UL, we couldn’t do what we do without our remarkable group of assistant organizers. That’s why, in November and December, we’ll be featuring “Meet an AO” on Instagram and the blog.
These are the people thinking of trips, writing and posting the trip descriptions on Meetup, planning the route and carpool logistics, and then carrying out the trips, making sure that everyone is prepared and safe. When the trip is over, they’ve scoped out a place to grab some grub with friends, new and old.
In this season of gratefulness, we pause to acknowledge our dedicated team of assistant organizers. We’ve asked them a couple of questions, so you can get to know them a little better.
Assistant Organizers, we see what you’re doing out there, and everything that goes on behind the scenes. We appreciate you!
Meet Assistant Organizer Evan. You may know him as “Whiskey Fairy.” Evan has attended or led nearly 50 trips with DC UL, including the infamous Kungsleden, Massanutten, the Mid State Trail, and more.
“Life before death, strength before weakness, journey before destination.” – Brandon Sanderson
Favorite trail food: I must be nine years old at heart because my must-have trail foods are basically school snacks. I walk into a grocery store and grab single-serving packages of Cheez Its, peanuts, crackers, cookies, etc. then use one gallon Ziploc bags to divide my portions so I get enough calories and make it easy to pull out on the trail each day. I don’t do a lunch proper anymore. I just count on snacking on my daily grab bag of snacks throughout the trail day. (I do, however, eat a hot meal at night.) This has worked for me for years and I love it. I know, I know, I create a lot of packaging waste . . . but I promise it all gets disposed of properly. (We’re not judging you, Evan.)
Favorite trail socks: As for socks, I hike in light-cushioned wool socks year round, with extra layering for the winter based on temperature. I still defer to SmartWool out of habit and REI availability. Darn Tough and WoolX have been mixed in over the years too. I buy a new pair every season and get rid of socks that are several years old when they begin to stock pile. I think the extra cushion of newish socks and trail runners is actually important to how your feet feel, if you don’t mind spending more often to keep them in good shape.
Something to know about me: I love gear and buying things . . . sometimes. But then I go several years without updating my stuff, from big three to trail clothing. I’m currently beginning to wrap my mind around the idea that my gear list that was put together in 2015 might need some updating. The moral of this for me is that gear can be an obsession or an afterthought. DC UL is so good at focusing on the journey and the adventure and not the gear – unless of course you’re in the market for something and want to sample and discuss the huge variety of stuff you’re likely to see folks carrying every weekend on one of our trips!
How I got my trail name: After a failed first trail name attempt (ahem, Sven the Swedish Hiker) I became the “Whiskey Fairy” after a little escapade on the Mid State Trail, in which I danced around and delivered mouthfuls of delicious single malt whiskey to my backpacking mates already tucked in as cowboy campers for the night. The tradition has continued. Cheers!
Favorite trip: With respect to grand adventures on the Kungsleden in Sweden and the annual Rite of Spring on the Massanutten Trail, the trail that comes to mind as a favorite right now is the aforementioned Mid State Trail in PA. I section hiked it with the team 2015-2017 and find myself daydreaming often about the many adventures we had. Hope to be back on it soon!
Are you interested in becoming an assistant organizer? Read more on our site.