Meet an AO: Joe

In November and December, we’re featuring our assistant organizers on Instagram and the blog.

Our AOs 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 journey, making sure that everyone is prepared and safe. When the hike is over, they’ve probably scoped out a place to grab some grub with friends, new and old.

In this season of gratefulness, we 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 Joe, whose DC UL profile describes him as a “half-crazed ex-road racing cyclist who has taken one too many falls on the pavement.” He’s also earned the trail name “Hot Pockets.” Read on to find out why.

Favorite trail food: My first night meal is always shredded chicken, envelope of cream of chicken cup of soup, and cheese tortellini. Mmmmm!

I have made some very good friends and even rescued a very sick and starving dog along the way, and yes, she became mine.”

photo of joe on the cog railway
On the Cog Railway, Mt. Washington. Photo credit: Trisha C.

Favorite trail socks: Definitely the Darn Tough ankle height socks.

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Medicine Bow Wilderness, WY. Photo credit: Joe S.

Something to know about me: I “kinda” have a few hobbies, so getting out backpacking is extra special. I prefer to keep daily mileage for my backpacking trips to about 15 miles, so that I can enjoy a leisurely breakfast, and lunch . . . maybe stop to pick berries along the way too. I have made some very good friends and even rescued a very sick and starving dog along the way, and yes, she became mine. I have been backpacking for 40 years, and the improvements in gear have made it much more enjoyable. I still enjoy a campfire at the end of the day.

40143847_10214315461653842_3055616077141639168_n
Nellie, named after Nelly’s Ford near Three Ridges.
joe on katahdin
On the summit of Katahdin. Photo credit: Trisha C.

Funny trail/trail name story: While backpacking during March, I had a North Face Cat’s Meow sleeping bag, but it was too small for me. I was cold and had some hand warmers.  I had zipped the bag up and wanted to unzip it. I was holding on to the hand warmers, so did not want to lose them. I slipped them both inside my underwear.  I worked my hands up to the zipper, and the hand warmers were becoming too hot . . . and had slipped down . . .  Anyways, I began thrashing around trying to get out of the bag.  It was early morning and a friend saw me and thought it was hilarious . . . she named me “Hot Pockets.”

Thanks for chatting, Joe. See you on the trail!


Are you interested in becoming an assistant organizer? Read more on our site.

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