I have a deep love for the outdoors and enjoy sharing my thoughts and experiences about this through my blog.  Perhaps you are wondering who is Gray Mountaineer, beyond what you have learned from reading some of my posts?  Well, after spending many years living and working in the Washington DC area, I moved to northeastern Wisconsin to begin retirement, which has afforded me the opportunity to spend even more time in the outdoors!

We are fortunate to have wilderness areas throughout our country that are available for us to enjoy and appreciate.  But, they would not be there without the efforts of thousands of volunteers throughout the country and it requires our collective “constant vigilance” to ensure that these wild areas remain exactly that for our future generations to enjoy.  The importance of volunteering and “giving back” cannot be overemphasized.  This was brought home to me in a very immediate way during my AT thru hike.  Simply put, the thru hike experience would be impossible, or at least radically reduced in value and meaning, without the dedication of the volunteers who maintain the trail, as well as the countless random acts of kindness from the people who live near the trail.

I have been a member of the Sierra Club since 1982 and served for a time on the executive committee for its DuPage County Chapter when I lived in the Chicago suburbs.  While living near Washington, DC, I was a member of the trail patrol for the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club.  Since relocating to Wisconsin, I have become a member of the Ice Age Trail Alliance and volunteer as a trail steward for the Ice Age Trail (IAT).  Yes, thru hiking the IAT is on my list!  But, I hope to continue my volunteer efforts so that I am not simply taking, but also giving back to the hiking community and to the efforts to maintain our wilderness areas.  We all need to do our share, whatever that might turn out to be.



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