MATT POLES

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Where do you call home?

I live in Quincy Ma, which is just south of Boston.

What do you currently do for a living and how did you get into this field?

I am currently an apprentice plumber, working on getting my master license so I can start my own plumbing company. I first met my boss while I was in high school and started working for him over some of my vacations. When I went off to college I didn’t think that plumbing would end up being my career. However, I continued to plumb on my winter and summer breaks, and going into my senior year I decided I would continue plumbing full time after graduation.

What Trail are you hiking for your upcoming Thru hike?

This year I will be hiking the Long Trail. While I was hiking the AT in 2016 I almost decided to divert from the trail and head north on the LT with one of my friends (PJs) that I had met a few hundred miles earlier in Maine. However due to logistics, aka not having a map nor knowing how far we would have to go until we could resupply next, or how we would get back to the AT we decided to just keep heading south on the AT. Since that moment I have been eager to do the LT, and finally this year everything has lined up that I will be able to do it.

What will be your starting base weight at the beginning of your trip (all carried weight in your pack, minus consumables like water, food and fuel)? What will your Max weight be with everything?

My starting base weight will be around 9 pounds. I’m guessing my max weight will be around 20 pounds, maybe a little heavier due to the fact that I’m trying to resupply only once or twice.

What are the Top 3 pieces of gear you can’t live without?

My Waymark Gear bag, my running shorts, and my LaSportiva trail runners

What Luxury items will you be carrying that aren’t critical to your survival or safety?

I’ll be carrying an external battery for my phone so I don’t have to worry about taking pictures or how many podcasts I listen to.

Name 1 thing you will miss most about leaving civilization for your hike.

I always miss a nice comfortable couch

What skill you would like to learn that would help you on the trail?

I would really like to learn better navigation skills. While I have not yet run into any serious problems with getting lost in the woods, I would feel a lot more comfortable if I had better compass and map skills.

What is 1 personal strength you feel will help you most on the trail?

The fact that I enjoy walking all day long

What is 1 personal weakness that will conflict with this strength?

Not liking to hike at night, I am always kicking rocks

Name 1 person, a trail celebrity or other, who has inspired you most to get on the trail.

The Hiking Viking

Name 1 animal you have seen or would most like to see on the trail.

Surprisingly I have seen a lot of black bears while on trail, and every time they surprise me, and scare the hell out of me. I would really like to see a porcupine, and bobcat while hiking.

Are you looking more for solitude or for a social experience on your next hike?

On this trip I am looking more for solitude. This hike for me is more about finding my limits and enjoying the tranquility that nature has to offer.

What lessons can we take from the wilderness, and how can we apply them to Urban life?

The wilderness teaches people that you really don’t need so much stuff in your life to enjoy it. It helps put into prospective what you really need in life vs. what you want. We can all do with a lot less materialistic items in society.

Tell us how we can connect with you and your organizations on all of your social networks:

I will be posting on Facebook Matt Poles and on Instagram, my handle is mpoles93.

Tarik Gul

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Where do you call home?   

San Francisco, California

What do you currently do for a living and how did you get into this field? 

I currently work for a hauling company in SF, I have been with them since college 3 years ago, and they allow me to make good money while supporting my long trips and flexible schedule, so that I can adventure as I please. If it wasn’t for that I don’t think I would work there. 

What other trails have you hiked in the past 5 years? 

The Pacific Crest Trail, sections of the California Coastal trail

What Trail are you hiking for your upcoming Thru hike and why did you choose this trail? 

Just local trails, such as a section of the California Coastal Trail and parts of the northwest and Northern California in the redwoods. When it comes to thru hiking I have learned to just try to remind myself why I like hiking instead of training for it. In the end I just want to be outside as much as possible.

What will be your starting base weight at the beginning of your trip (all carried weight in your pack, minus consumables like water, food and fuel)? What will your Max weight be with everything? 

My starting base weight will be about 8 pounds. Depending on snow in the San Juan’s it might go up a little, but overall I will be on the edge of 8-8.5 pounds. I am not sure about what my weight will be with water and food, as I change the type of foods I eat quiet often. I would assume around 16-20 pound pack after food and water is added. 

What are the Top 3 pieces of gear you can’t live without? 

My Down quilt, My Waymark backpack, a 3’x9’ foot sheet of Tyvek.

What Luxury items will you be carrying that aren’t critical to your survival or safety? 

Two bandanas

Name 1 thing you will miss most about leaving civilization for your hike. 

California Burritos

What skill you would like to learn that would help you on the trail? 

Learning how to sleep with my legs up comfortably so that my foot won’t swell up as much.

What is 1 personal strength you feel will help you most on the trail? 

My ability to stay partially happy when things can get low has become very valuable to me. It helps put things in perspective when it’s important.

What is 1 personal weakness that will conflict with this strength? 

The heels of my feet are pretty sensitive, so it’s very important I take care of them constantly.

Name 1 person, a trail celebrity or other, who has inspired you most to get on the trail. 

Alexander “Supertramp” has always been very important to me. He’s what really gave me the push I needed as a young adult.

Name 1 person you’d like to meet on the trail. 

I Would love to meet some goat packers again. 

Name 1 animal you have seen or would most like to see on the trail. 

I would love to see a grizzly bear from from far away at some distance. 

Are you looking more for solitude or for a social experience on your next hike? 

I’m not looking for anything really specific. I very much believe that both are very important, and make a thru hike what it is. 

What has hiking taught you about life? 

Simple is good. 

Tell us how we can connect with you on all of your social networks. 

The best place is instagram. @Tarikonwheels

Suzy "The spoozy" keyes

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Where do you call home?

I live in Ipswich, MA. My primary home is near the ocean, but my secondary home is the White Mountains in NH.

What do you currently do for a living and how did you get into this field?

I am a project administrator at a steel fabricator. I got into this field after I was looking for a career change after I got laid off at my previous job. Currently, I am working towards getting my professional certificate in construction at Wentworth Institute of Technology in Boston.

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your life.

I am 28 years old and grew up in a fishing community in Massachusetts. I discovered hiking in 2015 after I made a commitment to quit drinking on the first day of that year. That decision changed my life – there was A LOT of self-discovery involved. I am a plus size woman, and I always thought I was never able to do such things as climbing mountains. I proved myself wrong – within a year, I hiked all 48 - 4000 footers in NH. I was HOOKED on hiking. I’ve made so many friends and now have someone important in my life thanks to the mountains!

What inspired you to choose Waymark Gear Co. for your newest gear?

Customization. Mark is super accommodating! I have chronic back pain and a long torso. It was so incredibly difficult to find a comfortable backpack for a woman that was long enough that fit my “fuller” figure.

What Trails do you plan on hiking in 2018?

I will be hiking Mount Pico in the Azores, Kings Peak in Utah, and finishing my NE67 list in Maine.

What is your dream hike?

The O Circuit in Torres del Paine, Patagonia.

How did you get the name “The Spoozy”?

A friend from middle school knighted me with the nickname “Spoozy” (rhymes with my name Suzy I guess) and it has stuck with me for years now. I am THE one and only Spoozy J

What are the Top 3 pieces of gear you can’t live without?

Hillsound trail crampons; head lamp; hiking poles.

What Luxury items will you be carrying that aren’t critical to your survival or safety?

Thermarest pillow, a portable battery charger, deodorant.

Name 1 skill you would like to learn that would help you on the trail?

Would love to know how to ice climb. I also have no idea how to ski!

What is 1 personal strength you feel helps you most on the trail?

Willpower. You have to be in the right state of mind if you want to reach the summit. If you start the day with a negative attitude, you will not have a good hike.

Name 1 person, a trail celebrity or other, who has inspired you most to get on the trail.

Trying to be humble here; I am my own inspiration! I’ve proven myself wrong so many times and I’m always wanting to see how much further I can go and see what my limits are.

Name 1 person you’d like to meet on the trail or hike with.

The Blackalachian” @LOGO704

Name 1 animal encounter you’ve had while on trail, and 1 animal you’d like to see on the trail.

Over 15 + scorpions while hiking in Serra da Gardunha in Portugal. Not pretty.
I love birds; I’d love to come across more owls on my hikes.

Are you looking more for solitude or for a social experience on your next hike?

Solitude. I am in my happy place when I’m hiking alone.

Tell us how we can connect with you on all of your social networks or any groups or organizations you are involved with:

You can find me on instagram @the.spoozy

 

Simon "Boo" Zivny

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Simon "Boo" on the PCT in 2017. He would go on to walk continuous footsteps the entire length of the trail from Mexico to Canada.

 

Where do you call home?

     Home is Portland and Utah, and Rome, Ibarra, Ecuador and Patagonia, and anywhere outside.

What do you currently do for a living and how did you get into this field?

     For a living I run a small coffee-centric cafe called “Coffee Lab”.  I got into coffee                     

     because food has always been important to me and my family, and coffee is like                           

     food but a less explored frontier, which is exciting to me.

So you hiked the PCT in 2017 as our first official Waymark Ambassador, what a challenge that was! What was your biggest take-away from hiking the PCT last year?

    The biggest take-aways from this trip are probably a sense of accomplishment  and      

    empowerment.  Having the privilege to take on and complete this big a challenge

    and adventure led to that sense of empowerment.  I now feel more ready to take

    on any challenge life might throw my way.

What is your next big adventure and why did you choose it?

    To summit Pico de Orizaba (the tallest volcano in North America).  My love of      

    mountaineering is one of the things that led me to thru hiking in the first place, and

    now as I push myself in thru hiking, I find myself wanting to test my limits in

    mountaineering too.  Pico de Orizaba is much higher than anything I’ve ever     

    climbed before.  At 18,400 feet, it will be a great way to test myself at altitude.

What will your base weight be for your trip (all carried weight in your pack, minus consumables like water, food and fuel)? What will your Max weight be with everything?

    A lot of my equipment for Pico de Orizaba will be much heavier than on a thru hike.     

    I’ll probably carry around 20 lbs of gear and clothing, with a max weight around

    30 lbs.

What are the Top 3 pieces of gear you can’t live without?

    My Darn Tough Socks, Sawyer Squeeze water filter, and Waymark backpack.

What Luxury items will you be carrying that aren’t critical to your survival or safety?

    A camera, and a zoom lens.

What skill would you like to learn that would help you on the trail?

    I got lots of experience with a map, compass, and altimeter on the PCT, as I hiked

    without a smartphone or GPS navigator, but I’d love to get more practise.

What is one personal strength you feel will help you most on the trail?

    The ability to sleep well on almost any surface :)

What is one personal weakness that will conflict with this strength?

    My fear of the dark :)

Name 1 person, a trail celebrity or other, who has inspired you most to get on the trail.

    Cheryl Strayed.  Her persistence and success against great odds, and a difficult

    personal history, and the honesty with which she writes about that journey… Cheryl

    Strayed.

Name 1 person you’d like to meet on the trail.

    Cheryl Strayed :)

Name 1 animal you have seen or would most like to see on the trail.

    Black bears have been amazing to see.  Assuming the circumstances are safe, it    

    would be amazing to see a puma, lynx, wolf, or grizzly bear.

What are some upcoming hikes you’d like to do in the next 3 years?

    The CDT, AT, and Hayduke are certainly on the list, although one dream of particular   

    interest to me is to help establish a long trail in Chile, from Patagonia to the   

    Atacamas... That’s the big long term goal.

What lessons can we take from the wilderness, and how can we apply them to Urban life?

I think the biggest lesson we learn from being outside, and especially from living outside, is quite simply that it is important to get outside.  The living-in-the-momentness and general calmness and stress relief it brings is priceless.

Tell us how we can connect with you and your organizations on all of your social networks:

          You can contact me, and follow my outdoor and food adventures on Instagram, under the name @foodmountains . You can follow my cafe @coffeelabslc

 

Brittany "Bee" Jones

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Where do you call home?

I live in Sherwood, Oregon.  It’s a suburb just outside of Portland. 

           

What do you currently do for a living and how did you get into this field?

I teach yoga and work in the wellness department at a natural grocery store - New Seasons Market - who happens to support the Pacific Crest Trail Association! I love herbs, natural remedies, and helping others feel happy & healthy.

 

You mentioned you have done trail work and clean up, tell us more about that.

I’ve helped Friends of Trees plant trees in a local park, pick up trash along the Oregon Coast with SOLVE Oregon, and clear the PCT of fallen trees near Mt. Hood with the PCTA.

 

What Trail are you hiking for your upcoming Thru hike? Why did you choose this trail?

I will be hiking southbound on the Pacific Crest Trail.  My boyfriend and I decided to hike this trail together after the first day we set foot on it in 2014.  Over the years we’ve section hiked hundreds of miles in Oregon and California.  We have fallen deeply in love with this trail and can’t seem to get enough so we decided to hike the entire trail in 2018.

 

What will be your starting base weight at the beginning of your trip (all carried weight in your pack, minus consumables like water, food and fuel)? What will your Max weight be with everything?

Depending on the snow level in Washington, my starting base weight varies.  For most of the hike my base weight will be around 9.5 lbs.  If there’s a lot of snow in Washington I’ll bring my microspikes and an ice axe, which will bring my base weight up to 10.5 lbs .  I’m expecting my max weight to be 20-25 lbs. with consumables. 

 

What are the Top 3 pieces of gear you can’t live without?           

1. My Waymark Gear Pack of course!

2. Zero degree Enigma sleeping quilt from Enlightened Equipment (I’m a cold sleeper)

3. Hydrapak Katadyn Be Free .5L water purifier

 

What Luxury items will you be carrying that aren’t critical to your survival or safety?    

My pillow, iPod, notebook & pen, and a good luck charm from a close friend.

 

Name 1 thing you will miss most about leaving civilization for your hike.

Hot showers!

 

What skill you would like to learn that would help you on the trail?

I’d like to be able to identify more plants.

 

What is 1 personal strength you feel will help you most on the trail? What is 1 personal weakness that will conflict with this strength?

I think my yoga practice will help prepare and maintain my physical and mental strength.  The thing that tends to test me the most (mentally) on trail are bugs that bite.  When I hiked the Timberline Trail I got bit by a black fly and the bite swelled up to the size of an avocado!

 

Name 1 person, a trail celebrity or other, who has inspired you most to get on the trail. Name 1 person you’d like to meet on the trail.

It’s hard for me to just name one person…there are so many inspiring hikers out there!  I really enjoyed reading Cheryl Strayed’s book “Wild”, and Carrot Quinn’s book “Thru-hiking Will Break Your Heart”.  Those books really helped me mentally prepare for the trail. I follow so many inspiring people on Instagram and Youtube who have also helped me prepare in different ways.  I’ve met a handful of trail celebrities so far but I’d love to meet them all!

 

Name 1 animal you have seen or would most like to see on the trail.

I’ve seen tons of little critters, I think my favorite one so far is a pika.  I hope to stumble upon a fox someday!

 

What can we learn from hiking in the wilderness? What lessons can we take from the wilderness, and how can we apply them to Urban life?

Live life more simply and enjoy the beauty that surrounds us.  I think being in the wilderness gives you more patience and helps quiet the mind, at least for me it does.  It also restores my faith in humanity.  People seem to treat each other much nicer on the trail compared to urban life. Trail angels are what really restored my faith in humanity, they can really make a difference in a hiker’s day by offering food, water, a ride to town, etc.

 

Are you looking more for solitude or for a social experience on the trail?

I would say both.  Mostly looking for solitude with my boyfriend, we’re always working so much and don’t get to spend much time together.  We’re also looking forward to all the other hikers we will meet along the way. A perk of heading southbound is that we will meet all the northbound hikers and hear their stories.

 

Tell us how we can connect with you and your organizations on all of your social networks:

Follow me on Instagram: @bee.jonesie

Subscribe to my Youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/gbrittanyj7