Interview with Ben

Tell us about your outdoors experience. How much do you like outdoor recreation?

I love being outdoors in all its forms - hiking, biking, kayaking, or just hammocking!  I backpack for a week every year, alternating between the East and West, and try to hike as regularly as possible during the summer.

Are you in love with it? If so...when did you fall in love and where? 

Yes - family trip to Yosemite while in high school.

If you knew someone who was thinking of starting outdoor recreation, what advice would you give them?

Start out in nice weather!  It takes true love of the outdoors to appreciate it when it's cold and wet!  If backpacking, go as light as possible - the luxury gained from those extra pounds is not worth it - trust me!

What was your first GO excursion? How did it turn out? What do you like about GayOutdoors?

Well, not sure what my first was, but I remember some great experiences when I lived in New England, especially hiking in the White Mountains and staying at the Mad River lodge. Met some great, warm, and welcoming people with common interest in hiking.

Describe Pennsylvania to our outdoorzy members who’ve never been there? Is there a lot to do if you are an outdoor enthusiast?

Pennsylvania has many heavily forested long ridges with many miles of hiking trails.  The AT in PA is notoriously rocky.  Two of the best backpacking trails are the Black Forest loop (near the Grand Canyon of PA along Pine Creek - worth a visit) and the Loyalsock (both around 45-50 miles long).  The Pulpit Rock/Pinnacle hike is one of the nicest in SE PA.  Philly also has a real gem in the Wissahickon park - a real deep, forested gorge.  Overall, PA is a really beautiful state, even though the mountains are not as high as the rest of the Appalachians.

What changes have you made to better our environment?

Well, I do climate modeling for my research - so am regularly studying the impacts of global warming.  I also support environmental organizations and sometimes pester my Congressmen about environmental issues.

What is your earliest outdoor adventure memory. Who did you go with?

Short backpacking trips in Shenandoah and the Catskills with college group.

What is your favorite thing to do a perfect summer day?

Hike without a pack!

If you could spend the day on the trail with one person, living or dead, it would be…

Either of my parents. 

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Hiking, backpacking, camping or vacation adventures, GayOutdoors [GO] has been the LGBTQ outdoorzy community leader for the last 22 years. We are an informal group of diverse hiking enthusiasts in the United States with a shared love of the mountains who prefer hiking with friends. We invite you to join us on our hikes, to post hikes for other members to join you and to share your hiking photos, stories and advice.

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