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Hikertrash at Winter OR 2014

Hikertrash at Winter OR 2014

Coming back from the Outdoor Retailer Show in Salt Lake City, this “real world” I return to is hitting me with a bad case of culture shock. I miss my hikertrash family, being surrounded by miles of new gear to check out, and endless free food (my hiking friends and nonhiking friends alike will not be surprised that most of the time on the exhibition floor was spent in pursuit of free ice cream, chocolate, and crepes).

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OR did require all of us to be “on” and focused for 18 hours a day. Even the meekest of us found that staying out until 3 am every night talking about hiking was the norm. Then, we’d get up and back on the exhibition floor at 8 am (or 9 . . . or 11).

The Motel 6 became Hikertrash headquarters with 6 to a room, people sleeping on sleeping pads, and a random stranger who got locked out of his hotel room and ended up with us because he'd hiked the Long Trail and we'd all been there.

The Motel 6 became Hikertrash headquarters with 6 to a room, people sleeping on sleeping pads, and a random stranger who got locked out of his hotel room and ended up with us because he’d hiked the Long Trail and we’d all been there.

I also heard some interesting industry presentations on the role of conservation non-profits and sustainability on gear making and selling. It was a privilege to see Secretary of the Interior/former CEO of REI, Sally Jewell, speak on how the outdoor industry can engage young people and conserve the places where we recreate.

One of many grand meals celebrating the end of the day on the exhibition floor

One of many grand meals celebrating the end of the day on the exhibition floor

This was my 3rd trip to OR and definitely my best—mostly because we had a great group of long distance hikers at the show.  What could be more awesome than having AllGood, President of the American Long Distance Hiking Association-West, walking the show floor, letting his smile brighten everyone’s day?

AllGood and the ladies

AllGood with Kristina Guerrero and Liz from Turbo Pup, the meal energy replacement bar (aka Probar) for dogs. Kristina was kind enough to let Turbo Pup’s booth be hikertrash central.

Who could be a more stellar ambassador of the trail life than hikertrash Double Triple Crowner (and on his way to a Triple Triple Crown), the colorfully tattooed, ever-charismatic Lint?

Lint arm wrestling the founded of Granite Gear

Lint arm wrestling the founded of Granite Gear

It was an honor for the hikertrash to hang out with OR veteran, Trauma, whose humble demeanor and insane talent for free-food hunting prevented the rest of us from being intimidated by his godlike skills.

Trauma loves chocolate milk!

Trauma loves chocolate milk!

 

Barefoot Jake covered the ever-exploding new market of minimalist footwear and wowed people with the extreme cross-country-glacier-rock-climbing he manages in barefoot shoes.

Barefoot Jake and Lint with Barefoot Ted of "Born to Run" and Luna sandals fame.

Barefoot Jake and Lint with Barefoot Ted of “Born to Run” and Luna sandals fame.

Nabor J, director of PCT Days and trail photographer, inspired me to talk to more people as he fiercely advocated for long distance trails and hiking and sharing the beauty of the outdoors.

Nabor J, Kristina from TurboPup Dog Meal Replacement bars, and me.

Nabor J, Kristina from TurboPup Dog Meal Replacement bars, and me.

Getting a solid group of hiking athletes together at OR, telling gear manufacturers face-to-face how we use their products and even that long distance hiking exists, is a huge step towards getting recognition for the trails we hike and the cool places we go. When the corporations with the money and sway start realizing that people do what we do, we’re that much closer to protecting and preserving the places we love.

AllGood and Lint scored some free jerky

AllGood and Lint scored some free jerky

There’s a lot of controversy over hiking going “mainstream” but one thing is for sure: as our stories become known, the wildlands we walk will be valued for what they are—wild—instead of what they could become: another place for condos. Unlike many athletes of other outdoor sports represented at OR, many long distance hikers are actually making a real difference in stewarding and advocating large swaths of land we love. OR is the place where the industry goes to sell stuff. Our job as hikers at OR is to tell our stories and keep it real.

Hikerlove

Hikerlove