Charles was born and raised in North Central Texas - just west of Fort Worth. It was his mother who was instrumental in fostering his love of the outdoors. In his educational pursuits, he obtained a BS in Applied Economics and an MBA. His career had him hopping around the globe as a Supply Chain and Operations Consultant for CPG companies. He is now a retired, single grandfather with 13 grandchildren. While living in Augusta, GA, he decided to branch out from his traditional activity of distance running and looked into hiking. While studying the AT, he came across the ALDHA-West website and took them up on their invitation to the 2015 Gathering. Charles currently resides in El Paso, TX and is looking forward to more time on the trail.
Katie "Salty" Gerber
Katie first fell in love with long trails while backpacking on the AT in 2009. She has since thru-hiked the PCT, the Colorado Trail, and the Oregon Desert Trail, among several shorter routes and trails. The more time she spent on long trails, the more she fell in love with the trail community and with finding ways to give back. She is honored and excited to serve as VP of ALDHA-W, to connect with other hikers, and to give her time and energy to a community and causes that she cares about deeply.
Katie has called many places home, but she currently (and for the foreseeable future) resides in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. She feels fortunate to work with hikers and the outdoor community for a living. As a health and nutrition coach, Katie helps outdoor enthusiasts optimize their health and create strength, resilience, and endurance for their first (or next) big adventure. Katie is also a freelance writer for several backpacking publications as well as health and wellness websites. When she’s not out hiking or playing in the mountains, Katie can be found planning her next adventure, digging in the garden, experimenting in the kitchen, or snuggled up with her cat and a book.
Anne "Kimchi" Hildebrand
Anne "Kimchi" Hildebrand is an unlikely hiker, having been excused from PE during high school for spinal abnormalities. After learning to hike while living in Patagonia, and then living out of a Honda Civic in the US Southwest, she thought her big adventure was going to be a two week solo backpacking trip. Needless to say, that backpacking trip turned into the PCT, which turned into the CDT, the Te Araroa and part of the Camino (while pushing a wheelchair, the only hike where she gained upper-body strength).
She's so grateful to the multitudes of people that go into making long-distance hiking a reality and hopes to positively add her small contribution to that work here at ALDHA-West. Her day job has been everything from teaching English in Korea's second-largest metropolis to nannying four boys in the Australian Outback. For now, she's working in HR at a San Francisco startup focused on public transit. No matter what she's doing, she wants to leave the earth a little better than she found it.
Naomi "The Punisher" Hudetz
When Naomi reached Manning Park at the end of her first thru hike, she knew her life was forever changed when she realized she was not ready for her hike to be over. She is now a Triple Crowner (PCT '09, CDT '12, AT '14). She is honored and excited to be a part of this dynamic hiking community. She lives in White Salmon, Washington, where she is probably thinking or talking about one of the many facets of long-distance hiking.
Amanda "Zuul" Jameson
Officer at Large
Amanda "Zuul" Jameson learned about the long trails in 2013, and has centered her life around the outdoors and the greater hiking community since then. While she's hiked about 3300 miles over the course of the CT, the PCT, and half of the GET, she's more focused on giving back. She's raised thousands of dollars for charity over the course of her hikes, volunteered at the ADZPCTKO and the ALDHA-West Rockies Ruck, and spent a year traveling the country as a Leave No Trace Traveling Trainer. Her writing has appeared in Backpacker, Treeline Review, and Griots Republic, and she also maintains her own blog, Brown Girl on the NST, which strives to promote diversity in the outdoors by documenting her hikes with attention to her subject position as a black woman. In addition to her position on the ALDHA-West board, she's working for a non-profit that seeks to diversify the outdoors industry.
Theo "Blis" Davis
Officer at Large
After 5 years living and working abroad in Peace Corps (Kyrgyzstan) and the Middle East (United Arab Emirates), Theo moved back with his wife to the Pacific Northwest. In 2012 Theo took his first overnight backpacking trip in a very long time in the Indian Heaven Wilderness and barely made it back to the car. However, on this same trip he also had his first encounter with PCT hikers on the trail and it created a spark. Every summer since he’s embarked on longer and more successful backpacking trips including the WT, TRT, JMT and in 2017 the PCT. He owes much of his success to ALDHA for training and mentoring his hiking advancement.
Theo currently works as a project manager with the University of Oregon. In his spare time when he’s not hiking he enjoys staying in touch with his trail family, planning his next adventure and developing outdoor products. He’s grateful to be a part of ALDHA-West and have the opportunity to give back to the community, and make hiking accessible to everyone.
Mary "Fireweed" Kwart
Officer at Large
Mary was introduced to the concept of long-distance hiking after her father interpreted a Yosemite National Park trail sign in 1957 before she could read. In 1971, she abandoned Berkeley, CA to backpack in Yosemite with a $5 Boy Scout pack and a couple pounds of sunflower seeds and raisins. She is happily retired now, but from 1977 to 2007 she had a career with several Federal agencies managing wildland fire. Besides the uncounted miles traipsing around numerous wildfires in 11 western states, she has completed many miles of long-distance hiking including the PCT, AZT, CT, Bigfoot Trail, ODT, GET, 600 miles of the Hayduke Trail, the Brooks Range in Alaska, the Kumano Kodo in Japan and Scotland’s Great Glen Way. She lives in Ashland, Oregon. Her current interest is recognizing the needs and accomplishments of senior hikers--teaching long-distance hiking classes at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at Southern Oregon University and leading trips with a local senior hiking group.
Her hiking journals are at
Miguel "VirGo" Aguilar
Officer at Large
Elsye "chardonnay" Walker
Officer at Large
Elsye ‘Chardonnay’ Walker is a life explorer, wine loving, free spirited Girl Friday who works with/for (pretty much anyone) to get things done. Now that she’s completed her Triple Crown (PCT 15 CDT 17 AT 16/18); she’s excited to work with ALDHA West because apparently representation matters. She’s not a writer, photographer or ambassador; but she has a nice blog, ok Instagram and will tell you when she loves some gear.
An experienced woman that hasn’t been everywhere, but she’s been around a bit exploring the fringes (that’s where the truth is). She’s a Burner, cyclist, hiker, skier, hunter, veteran and a bunch of other things (not a fan of labels). It’s the excitement and exhilaration of trying something new that gets her moving (that and good wine). She’s looking forward to her time on the board learning new things, doing stuff, meeting awesome people and sharing it all with her fellow hikers!
Elsye holds a B.A./Masters in Community and Regional Planning from Iowa State University (Go Cyclones!!) Currently leaving San Diego to reside in Tahoe City (think snow)!