It has been an amazing 6 days with the Continental Divide Trail Coalition and plenty of fellow hikertrash.
Returning from the OR Show is like returning from a trip to the moon: surreal and almost too good to be true. Something became clear to me while I was wandering the halls of dreamy gear (gear so tech-ed out and shiny as to be irresistible), that this was exactly where I was supposed to be. Talking trail, creating partnerships, celebrating the ridiculous antics of my fellow (and very silly) thru-hiker friends, and all the while feeling (and knowing) that I’ll be hiking in a few months, that the CDT will actually happen!
Creating this photo seemed a fitting tribute to the week; and although it seemed like so much happened that I couldn’t possibly remember it all; it’s time to dig in!
Thru-hikers had a bigger presence than ever at the OR Show this year. The bear, well, you had to be there.
Since meeting Teresa Martinez and Peter “Czeck” Sustr of the Continental Divide Trail Coalition (CDTC) last August at the Summer OR Show and becoming their first Trail Ambassador, it seems as if everything I’m passionate about, everything that I’ve been interested in and doing for years, has led me to this point.
“Do your thing and I will know you.” -Paul Theroux
My buddy Whitney “Allgood” LaRuffa and I represented TurboPUP at the Summer OR where I met Teresa. (AWESOME PRODUCT!)
Starting the brand hikertrash with Brian Frankle last April has created a lot of opportunities.
We make beer coozies, trucker hats, shirts, silipints, and more. Stuff for hikers.
I had been screen printing for 5 years (primarily bikes, but also the hikertrash screen – inspired by my good friend Lint).
When he hiked thru on his second PCT thru-hike in 2009 I printed Lint’s backpack.
I got into bikes and formed the company Bike Bend Wear to sell shirts at cyclocross races in Bend and on Etsy.
I had 10 bike designs & one play boat (for Kirk)
When the desk job took over and I was too busy to keep it up, I let the screen printing go for a while, but Brian and I partnered up to make some shirts for the PCT kick-off weekend last year.
My friends SOL & Smooth represented hikertrash at the kick-off last year, and took their friend Stumbling Beef to the CDT for his thru-hike. Smooth passed in the mountains late last year, and we miss him very much.
Starting a company was easier than I thought, and before I knew it found myself at PCT Trail Days in September with a brand hikers were recognizing.
I did a bunch of live screen printing on whatever the current PCT hikers wanted (like this hiker’s thigh) and had a blast.
While hikertrash was gaining steam, I had started freelancing for Ron Moak, founder of Six Moon Designs, who brought me on as his media manager last summer (check out Ron and Brian’s new line of packs…two great minds in the light-weight backpacking industry collaborating together).
Here is Ron at the OR Show buying the triple crown of blankets created by Woolrich especially to support the three long trails.
The new business and partnership with the well-known gear company has quickly led me to the sweet spot of the brand/product side of the outdoor industry. After already trying to make a living from guiding, leading trail crews, working in wilderness therapy, teaching and working logistics, it seemed an incredibly natural fit to now be writing and designing for the outdoor industry.
When Teresa asked if I wanted to attend the Winter OR Show with them to represent the CDTC and help them form new partnerships and bring awareness to my hike and the incredible things happening on the trail I couldn’t say no, besides some of my best hikertrash friends would be there. Done!
Next up: the show! Stay tuned for more this week….