Ambassadors - Carolyn Blessing & Jeff Podmayer
Basecamp: Ann Arbor, Michigan (Odawa, Ojibwe, Potowatami, Wyandot Native Lands) & Seattle, Washington (Coast Salish, Stillaguamish, Duwamish, Suquamish Native Lands)
- Sierra High Route
- Southern Sierra High Route
- Low 2 High Route
- 3000km Te Araroa Trail in New Zealand
- Wind River High Route
What It Means to Us to #takelessdomore: By traveling light, with only what we need on our backs, our connection to what we value more than our stuff feels like it grows. When we backpack with less, we find ourselves getting closer to each other and the living, breathing world around us. It is a privilege to experience the outdoors in this way. It allows us to work at unlearning the over-consumption of resources mentality from the society we both grew up in, and gives us the opportunity to reconnect with abundance of another kind. It clears a little more space for us to be in relationship with the places we inhabit both in and out of doors.
How We Got Into Ultralight Hiking: Carolyn is originally from the Midwest and Jeff from the Northwest, with backgrounds in social work and student development respectively. We found our way to outdoor education and met working for Outward Bound California in 2016. Since then, we have been hiking, climbing, and romantic partners—passionate about people, mountains, learning and challenging ourselves, and growing as people together.
Favorite Gossamer Gear Products:
- Carolyn: Liteflex Umbrella - This umbrella is such a sturdy, light, and versatile piece of gear. It provides shelter in rain, shade in sun, and more!
- Jeff: LT5 Trekking Poles - They are the lightest and most comfortable poles he has ever used.
Favorite Trail (so far!): We recently completed the Wind River High Route and were inspired by the challenges and beauty the whole way through. We can't wait to go back to the Wind River Range and get to know those mountains better.
Dream Trip: We are dreaming about the Hayduke Trail. We feel connected to the desert, and are excited about the potential challenges this route holds, which would hopefully give us the chance to use many of the skills we have learned from our time hiking and working in the outdoors. We love the process of routes from dream to research to planning to prepping to walking, and the Hayduke feels like a good fit for us next.
Organizations We Support: We have been looking to the leadership, podcasts, writings, posts, and works from Melanin Base Camp, Outdoor Afro, Brown Girls Climb, Flash Foxy, Unlikely Hikers, Native Women's Wilderness, Queer Nature, and others. We are immensely grateful to these and other individuals and organizations that are working to create more equity and inclusion in outdoor spaces. We encourage people who can to give back to folks in their communities doing this kind of important work.
Follow along with Carolyn and Jeff via Instagram!