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Dave was a longtime American Literature teacher, English Department chairman and soccer and baseball coach, who now specializes in backpacking, skiing and hiking. He spent several years living, teaching, backpacking and skiing in various European countries, especially Germany, Spain and Greece. He has bicycled across Europe and skiid across the German Alps. He supervises our kitchen whether out on the trail or in ski chalets or log cabins. He loves skiing at Breckinridge and canyoneering at Zion National Park. The student magazine he advised won state and national championships. Dave is a rabid baseball fan, especially of the Cincinnati Reds. As a skiier he gravitates toward upper blues and blacks and tries to be first on the slopes in the morning so he can find untracked snow. As a backpacker he likes trails above treeline along the Continental Divide. Originally from Eastern Pennsylvania, Dave was in the band and orchestra in high school and has remained a music lover ever since. On long van trips, he fills us in on music history from the 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s, and has quite a collection of records, tapes and disks. For 20 years he's been developing his Lexington Beer Bottle Museum and brings back a few display items from each trip. . Dave likes the novels of Jack Kerouac, mainly On The Road and The Dharma Bums. He has an aversion to visiting the same place twice, figuring life's too short, and if he's going to see every national park and wilderness area he has to keep moving on to new ones. This somewhat conflicts with our policy of revisiting locations to keep up with changes, so Dan or Trekker usually do the repeat visits.

Dan (also shown above left in Wyoming's Wind River Wilderness) is a retired teacher of English and Biology at the University of Kentucky and the public schools, and basketball and debate coach in high school and college. Growing up on the edge of a forested valley, he has been hiking, backpacking, bicycling and sledriding all his life and skiing, surfing, canoeing and rafting most of it. He also enjoys windsurfing and amusement parks, particularly classic wooden roller coasters. He loves Wyoming's Wind River Wilderness, Pittsburgh's Kennywood Park, and surfing on Hatteras Island. His coaching career includes eight high schools in three states, and defensive coordinator positions at three colleges, producing six state and two national championships and two college losses one point short of the NCAA Final Four. Two former players became Division I head coaches. Dan has covered football and basketball, a PGA Open and the Olympics for various newspapers and magazines, has written about backpacking and canoeing, and has six books in print. He has directed newspapers, yearbooks, and drama programs. Dan has been secretary and treasurer of the Varsity Lettermen's Association at the University of Kentucky, where an ACL injury sidelined his career as a basketball player and football walk on and relegated him to student manager status. He has three degrees each in Biology and American Lit, and has edited modern versions of The Scarlet Letter, Last of the Mohicans, Moby Dick and Big River. He keeps the house and property where he grew up, spending Christmas and July there. He has been involved with the Boy Scouts since age 11. He has been named high school teacher of the year three times, coach of the year four times, Scout leader of the year twice, UK Outstanding Writing Instructor twice and Kentucky Teacher Who Made A Difference in 2007. He is the Dutch Oven expert of the staff, and is now experimenting with Mexican cooking. Dan never goes anywhere without his beloved McBook Pro laptop computer, and updates and tinkers with this website every single night. He also publishes LexEat.com, a web site of restaurant reviews; and The Coraopolis Record, a Pennsylvania newspaper.

Abby (also seen top right at Big Bend) is a University of Kentucky triple major in Biology (natural history & marine biology), Art (animation & photography), and Cartography and Geographic Information Systems. She's been skiing since two and playing basketball and riding roller coasters since six. She played at Kentucky Basketball Academy for six years. Abby loves wind surfing, deep sea fishing on Hatteras Island, fresh water fishing on the lakes of Kentucky, the Disney/Universal parks of Orlando, canoeing in the Boundary Waters, skiing in Colorado, and everything about Wyoming and Utah. She was on her school's FIRST Robotics team, and has built three robots of her own. She won trophies five straight years at the statewide engineering competitions in bridgebuilding, two first places in science fairs in the biology division and one overall best. Her favorite novels are Harry Potter, Gone With the Wind, Twilight and anything to do with the American Revolution. She sketches and photographs scenes from our trips, is very interested in animation and considers Cars the ultimate full length cartoon. She skiis blues but prefers leisurely breakfasts and midmorning starts. Abby likes pancakes, steak, quesadillas, macaroni and cheese, seafood and vanilla ice cream. Her favorite trips are Big Bend National Park, where she became the youngest girl to scale Emory Peak; the Boundary Waters, where she likes getting up close and personal with the wolves, bear, moose and loons; and Hatteras Island, where from our beachfront headquarters she spends all day every day out on the water either surfing, windsurfing, tubing, or fishing. She handles our amusement park and water sports coverage and does much of our photography. Abby spent four Summers at the Gulf Coast Research Lab studying Marine Biology. Her current love is her new Mustang.

Margaret, at left here with Abby amid Texas cacti, reached the national finals representing Western Kentucky University, then coached high school teams to state championships and national rankings. She taught American Literature, then became a librarian. She has served on various school committees and travelled as far as Japan studying other schools for ideas to bring home. She has also travelled to Seattle, Reno and Washington DC for library meetings and has held various officers' posts in the Kentucky Library Association, including president. As a backpacker, she specializes in trail cookery . Her all time favorite wilderness trip was a two week expedition up Rock Creek Canyon in the Medicine Bow Mountains of Wyoming, but she's also a fan of long distance Amtrak trips, especially on The Empire Builder, California Zephyr, SW Chief, Coast Starlight and Texas Eagle. She reads a novel a week and her idea of the ideal vacation is a stack of books and the beaches of Hatteras Island, but a Boundary Waters cabin or a Wyoming ranch house with fireplaces are close seconds. One of her treasured trips was two weeks studying Cajun cooking in New Orleans in the Pre Katrina days. Lately she's been trying out various recipes in a Tagine, a Morrocan oven. She loves Utah's Bryce and Zion National Parks but only in the Spring or Fall when the heat and crowds are gone.
Trekker is our canoeing and skiing specialist, but he's also active in our other sports as the seasons rotate. He majored in Biology and Journalism, debated, played football and basketball, and freelanced for various newspapers and magazines before joining our staff. He likes skiing at Winter Park (Colo.), riding the coasters at Holiday World, and windsurfing on the Outer Banks. He's an equipment geek; he can debate tents, stoves, sleeping bags, packs, skiis, canoes, paddles, parkas, cameras, sunglasses, boots and vehicles all day. But he's on the road more than the rest of us, so he's the expert on lodging, restaurants and the best routes from here to there. Trekker writes our Blog and answers our Email, which means after a hard day on slopes, trails, rivers or beaches he's up late on the computer. He's proud of the fact that he never carries over 30 pounds backpacking. To do this he's continually updating equipment to feature the lightest and highest tech of everything, except for his 1972 Universal Loadmaster, which he maintains has never been equalled (Kelty bought the company to get the pack off the market), his SVEA stove, and his Vasque Sundowner Boots, which he's been wearing for 40 years. While the rest of us are napping or otherwise relaxing, he likes to unpack his microscope and see what kind of protozoa, snowflakes, rock crystals, moss or other natural details he can observe. In his rare free time he gardens practically year round with the help of cold frames and a greenhouse; he's especially interested in unusual tomatoes and peppers and is always bringing us some new variety to taste. When he goes home it's to a remote, rugged Eastern Kentucky valley known as Kingdom Come, nestled along the North side of Pine Mountain. Accessible only by a winding dirt road, the place was made famous by John Fox Jr. in his novel The Little Shephard of Kingdom Come. Its high school long closed and not even on the maps, it has been protected by obscurity until now, except for hosting the state's largest black bear population. With the 120 mile long Pine Mountain Trail being built high above it, backpackers are discovering the valley and its Swiss Alp like scenery.
Julia the Beagle appeared under the tree Christmas morning of 05. She could open the pedal operated trash can to fish for yogurt cups. She walked around the house on her hind legs, especially at dinner time when she wanted to see what was being prepared or served. She could stand on those hind legs and push the lever with her paw, then drink from the bottled water dispenser. She was the only known dog in history who could stand on her hind legs and use her front paws to turn a doorknob to open a door. In the tradition of Snoopy, the patron saint of all Beagles, Julia's favorite perch was laying across the back of the sofa with her legs up in the air and her head hanging down either watching tv or looking out the front door. She was run over by a car, dragged 100 feet, and left for dead. Rushed to the vet, she was placed in critical care and given intravenous fluids. Once her cuts and bruises healed, she recovered with no long term effects. Julia was a great traveler. She explored her world with her nose. She loved to stand sentry in the front of a canoe or ride contentedly in a bike trailer, but mostly she liked to hike. She is shown here with her beloved red blanket. We lost Julia to Cancer in 2019 at age 14.
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