Each RRT Staff member has their own list of past, present, and upcoming adventures as well as little tips and tricks they learned along the way. Here is a chance to meet the team and get to know everyone a little bit better. Want to see pics from some of their trips? Check out the Gallery tab where we share adventures from the owners and team members. These trips are what separates us from generic gear websites and corporate gear stores. We have a passion and expertise to make the difference!
Bryan Wolf – Ice Man – Owner
Hi, my name is Bryan. I’ve never been a writer before but like most gear junkies I feel like I always have something to say. I’ve not always been a gear junkie either, in fact I had not owned a single piece of gear through my first 25 years on this planet: it sure does accumulate fast though. My passion for the outdoors actually spawned from rock n’ roll and road trips. The national parks, endless landscapes, and curiously bright colors sent me into an obsession with nature and adventure travel.
My first backpacking trip then lasted 170 days on the Appalachian Trail from Maine to Georgia. Since then some trips I’ve enjoyed are; 40 miles of barefoot backpacking in northern Vermont, remote trekking in the wilderness of Alaska, countless revisits of the AT including 4 Katahdin summits (and counting), Canadian Rockies, Iceland, and all the local trails that I can find time for. I also enjoy kayaking, camping, hiking, climbing, running, and site seeing.
That passion has landed me here. Today I am part owner in Roads Rivers and Trails, an adventure outfitter in Milford Ohio. To us selling good gear means fully believing in it, so we gear test nearly every item and allocate ourselves a budget to do so. So as I try something new I’ll let you know what I think, and every now and then I’ll revisit some of those items that have earned a spot in my “Hall of Fame”.
If you have a question or comment, or if you’d like to know about some gear that has not yet been discussed, email me at email@example.com
Joe White – Tundra Wookie – Owner
Welcome to the RRT adventure blog!I am Joe White, one of the owners and founders of Roads Rivers and Trails.As I attempt to write a bio for the blog, I fight with the excitement to list all of the amazing places I have gone and tell of all the amazing adventures I have been on.I guess that is what the blog is for though.When I ask myself who I am, many things come to mind, but I believe “backpacker” would be the best way to describe my inner workings.There are many types of adventurers, but nothing compares to traveling on foot, living out of a backpack.
I’ve been all over this great country and to several others, but I was born and raised right here in Milford, Ohio.I grew up with 6 brothers, awesome parents, and 150 acres to run wild.With that many boys in the family, my father utilized the Scouting program to help bring some order and discipline to the chaos.He taught us many things, but most importantly helped us become men with character.I did attain the rank of Eagle Scout as well.
After taking a High Adventure trip to Alaska just after High School, I landed a summer job guiding trips for the High Adventure Base. For 6 summers, I enjoyed backpacking, canoeing, sea kayaking, and road tripping all over Alaska with groups of Boy Scouts from all over the US.In 2006, I had to fulfill an urge to hike the entire Appalachian Trail.In order to do so and ensure my employment as a guide in Alaska, I had to start after Alaska, which meant a winter thru hike.Bryan Wolf, fellow RRT owner, joined me on the 6 month 2200 mile adventure from Maine to Georgia.
While traveling, I found an amazing community of great souls that I wanted to continue to be a part of.While guiding, I realized my title as guide carried more weight and respect than any title achieved before.I was responsible for a safe and successful trip, but I had the power to help make it an amazing eye opening or life changing trip.With each trip, I strived to better my skills, experience and knowledge so I could share that with others.To encourage and help others take on such incredible adventures is the only real reason RRT came to be.
Emily White – Karma – Owner
I am a habitual daydreamer; my bucket list is the size of a small novel. The backbone of my obsession with adventure began with my parents and the camping and travel vacations I embarked upon as a child. Finding friends and family with similar mindsets fueled this obsession, and I’ve now traveled to 47 of 50 states, worked and accompanied multiple expeditions in Alaska, traveled in Europe and backpacked sections of the AT to name a few.
My outdoor experience, a college degree in business, and 11 years of experience helped to springboard my entrepreneurial dreams into opening Roads Rivers and Trails with my husband Joe and my cousin Bryan. Owning a small business has taught me to carefully plan my adventures in order to maximize the number of peak experiences. You can walk into the store any day of the week and I can tell you my adventure goals for next year and the year after. The best way to achieve a dream is to book it.
Louis Pasteur put it best when he said; “Let me tell you the secret that has led me to my goals: my strength lies solely in my tenacity.” These key characteristics fuel my passions. Being described as energetic, adventurous, and inventive, my life has been guided by my determination for achievement and exploration. Live adventurously. Feel free to contact me: Emily@roadsriversandtrails.com
Craig Buckley – Goatman – Chief Blog Editor
Howdy, folks! Getting to know Craig “Goatman” isn’t hard. Just start talking about the wild places between cities, where the rivers run from the hills and the mountains rise to meet the sun and you’re already speaking my language. I was born on the side of a Kentucky foothill and run back to the high, lonely places whenever I can. In my years aboard Spaceship Earth, I’ve hiked, ran, climbed, kayaked, canoed, and rambled my way around America whenever and wherever I’ve been able. I consider the Red River Gorge my true address, if anyone’s looking for me outside of the city.
In 2013, I walked south for ~1200 miles of the Appalachian Trail (Maine-Virginia), the greatest experience of my life. I can’t wait to finish up and get on down to Georgia. Although long-distance backpacking is forte, the Goatman fears not a road, river, nor trail! Nor cave, beach, nor canyon for that matter. If I could hike to Mars, I’d be on the way.
I’m excited about joining the RRT team and I’m willing to help in anyway I can, so just ask and I shall elucidate to the best of my ability. Happy trails, joyful rivers, and smooth roads all around.
Olive Eads – MC Earth Nerd – Wildcard
Hello! My name is Olivia. I am a scientist by education and baker by trade. I recently (December 2015, the day after my birthday) graduated from the University of Cincinnati with a Bachelor’s of Science in both Geology and Environmental Studies! My love for the outdoors stemmed as a child with countless hikes through a local park with my family and fossil collecting with my brother and father at Caesar’s Creek. Over time that love of nature evolved in high school to participating in various competitions surrounding the tri-state area (i.e. soil, forestry, and ecology). After those competitions that same lust for knowledge of the world surrounding me and being able to identify those features never stopped. There are too many questions to be answered.
In the scientific realm, geology is definitely my main squeeze. Ask me about some rocks, fossils, or geologic features and I can geek for hours explaining their significance. Unless I don’t know the answer, then countless hours of research will commence to determine an answer. I cannot get enough. If you’re in a trail party with me, expect to learn something about the geology and ecology of that area. The encyclopedia of knowledge inside my brain cannot be contained! The best part about backpacking for me is being out in the field identifying features (i.e. faults, drainage patterns…), collecting samples, identifying minerals/thinking about pressure temperature windows those rocks were exposed to, and overall being a part of something much larger than myself. Over the years I have dropped many parts of myself on the trail and gained new insights in my search for a sense of place.
Kayla McKinney – Clover – Gear Slinger
Hello! Hallo! Hola! Bonjour!
I am a UC graduate who loves adventuresplorin’. I have a serious wanderlust and love traveling as much as possible. My main passions are rock climbing and backpacking, but I also love exploring new cultures and languages. I returned this December from a year abroad in Austria, and I was blessed to explore many different countries and to also spend a good amount of time trekking in the Alps. I believe that if travel is your main priority then anything is possible when combined with a simple lifestyle. I am always scheming and day dreaming and my bucket list grows a little every day. Some of my favorite places in the USA I have traveled to have been Canyonlands National Park in Utah, Durango, Colorado and the surrounding San Juan Mountains. I also spend as much time as I can in the Red River Gorge, climbing and backpacking, and consider the place a second home.
Brandon Behymer – Gear Guru
Hi, I’m Brandon! My biggest outdoor pursuits are backpacking, trail running, cycling, swimming, and I hope to make climbing a priority in the near future. The outdoors have always been a focal point in my life; from camping trips growing up, to mountain biking in Daniel Boone NF, to running endless miles around East Fork State Park. My favorite trip thus far was an attempted thru-hike of the Continental Divide Trail which runs the length of the Rockies from the Mexican border to Canada. Due to injury I returned after five hundred miles and never made it out of New Mexico. Nonetheless its one of the best experiences I’ve ever had and plan on completeing the thru-hike in the next few years.
Other trips have sent me exploring the Dolly Sods, Mt. Marcy, speed hiking the Sheltowee Trace, and mountaineering winter ascents of four different 14ers’. I look forward to meeting you and getting you ready for your next trip!
Mackenzie Griesser – Nature Lover
Hello friends! My name is Mackenzie and I am so excited to be a part of the team here at RRT! I grew up here in Milford, graduated from Milford High in 2010, attended the University of Cincinnati and graduated at the end of April 2016 with a Bachelor’s of Science in Environmental Studies and minors in Anthropology and Spanish. My love of the outdoors began with my parents, who always opted to go camping instead of staying in hotels while traveling. During the summer, we would spend nearly every weekend camping at East Fork or Stonelick State Park. Growing up so close to nature helped develop a love and respect that now fuels my passion for adventuring.
I first heard about the Appalachian Trail when RRT opened in 2010. Since then I have learned so much about backpacking, hiking, and adventuring in general. I did not have the opportunity to travel much in high school, but since graduating in 2010 I have traveled to Death Valley and Zion National Parks, made several trips to Red River Gorge and Hocking Hills, and left the country for the first time in October 2016 for a 2-week New Zealand adventure with my father. I plan to begin my southbound AT thru-hike in July 2017.
Past/Part Time RRT Contributors
Robby Hansen – Adventure Addict
Hi, my name is Robby. My story begins Freshman year at NKU when I took my first camping trip to Red River Gorge with the NKU Vertical Frontier Climbing Club. For me, climbing was love at first sight. After this first trip you could say that I was pretty much addicted. From then until now, I have spent many hours running, mountain biking, hiking, climbing 14ers in Colorado, and paddling. Climbing still remains my first love, and will hopefully turn into more mountaineering and alpine climbing in the near future!
My passion for adventure and the great outdoors slowly evolved into a passion for helping others to get outside and explore their surroundings. Whatever happens next in my life, there is a high possibility that it will be rooted deep into the outdoors.
James Mobley – Gear Manager
Hello, my name is James. My journey in my careers has taken me from a number of leadership positions being an Assistant Manager, Store Manager, and a District Manager with a number of companies. These experiences have brought me to my current leadership position as the Store Manager at Roads Rivers & Trails. I am honored to be apart of something as genuine and pure as RRT. The owner’s passion for the outdoors, community, delivering customer service, and living life to the fullest aligns with my passion, and I’m lucky that they have taken me into their team!
I have traveled to over 30 states and hiked in over 25 National Parks throughout my life. My top three National Parks have been Zion, Yosemite, and Arches National Park so far. I have experienced all of these natural wonders with my wife and two boys at my side. In addition to hiking I enjoy camping, mountain biking, kayaking, frisbee golf, relaxing in my hammock, and in general being outside in the fresh air. Over the past 14 years I have become an avid rock climber. I have had the opportunity to climb throughout the United States and have met a great number of amazing people along the way. My passion for climbing runs through my mind, body, and spirit, in a way that I can’t explain. This passion, in addition to RRT, led me to being a part of Vision Climbing.
Louie Knolle – Gear Ninja/Real Ninja
Greetings! My name is Louie and I couldn’t be happier to be an employee here at Roads Rivers and Trails. Despite never having experienced the wildly, wonderful world of the wilderness until I was 19 years old. I have definitely dove in head first since then. My first ever trip was a 4 day backpacking trip to Shenandoah National Park after graduating high school in 2010, and to put it simply, that trip changed my life. Since then, I have rock climbed in Maine, backpacked sections of the Appalachian Trail in Virginia and Tennessee, winter summited 14ers in Colorado, and hiked in more areas than I am able to count. And the list will continue to grow, I promise!
Forever a hiker at heart, I try to enjoy as many other outdoor activities as possible. In addition to hiking all over the country, I enjoy exploring with my dog Korra, meeting and sharing stories with new people, and simply taking a step back from it all and lying in my hammock to read a good book. My wandering in college led me to the University of Cincinnati’s Mountaineering Club where I have met some very amazing people and fellow adventure lovers. This connection to the outdoors community in Cincinnati then introduced me to everyone at Roads Rivers and Trails where I’m now working my dream job. I am always ready and willing to go out of my way to assist others, and love sharing my experiences with others who are interested.
If you have a question or need to reach me, you can contact me through RRT’s email at Louie@roadsriversandtrails.com .
Eric Hagen – Bear
If I had to peg where it started, I would say it began with the woods behind the house where I grew up. That is where the journey began. Once upon a time, when the States were young, Ohio and her inhabitants were known as the wild, lawless forest people. Growing up in Clermont County, I have seen the sleepy town of Milford grow from an antique river town to a bustling suburbia, but little has changed in the interim of the 1700s until now regarding the spirit of Ohio’s children. I spent the majority of my time in the trees; whether that involved building forts, hiking miles over mud-soaked terrain or simply finding my favorite spot down on the Far Ridge Trail at the Cincinnati Nature Center to sit and think about the journey so far. Every time I make it back there, the trees are a little taller and the housing developments are moving a little closer.
Nature has a way of keeping you honest. The exhaustion and heave of a sweaty pack doesn’t care that I have a degree in Education from UC or that I’m a published writer. The exposed root and the pop-up storms so frequent to this area catch my kids just as equally as they do me. It is a reminder that there is something more than our hubris and creature comforts, some connection to life only those who go outside know about.
My name is Eric Hagen, and I live for the outdoors. I am an English teacher, a poet, a father of two fledgling outdoor fanatics and nature lovers. For me, hiking and backpacking are meditative practices, and I always come back with more insight than I had when I set out. It is my nature to share what I have learned with the people I meet, and it was this love of life and experience that led me to Roads, Rivers and Trails. I am an outdoor educator with RRT’s Outdoor Adventure Club, working with local school districts around the Tri-state area to get youth out to educate and explore their communities. In my personal time, I enjoy catching salmon and swiping the occasional pic-a-nic basket.
Eli Staggs – Shinbone
Hello! My name is Eli and I am very excited to be working at RRT. I couldn’t be happier to surround my self in an environment that I feel so passionate about. It is my hope I can share my love of the outdoors with you and answers any questions you may have.
I was raised in a family where camping was common and being outside was valued. But I never had an extended backpacking trip until high school. A 50 mile trip through Shenandoah National Park in early spring inspired me to thru hike one day. One week after graduating high school I found my self in Maine beginning my thru hike.
Over the past few years I have also become an avid rock climber. I love to gym climb and traverse at the Eden Park reservoir wall. I have climbed traditionally a few times down at the Red River Gorge. Climbing is a sport that I hope to continue practicing through out the rest of my life along with long distance back packing.
George Ferree – Too Tall
A teacher once told me that “you’re only young once but you can be immature forever.” While I’d like to think that I have matured over the years one thing I have tried to hold on to is a desire for adventure and spontaneity. My need for nature blossomed while growing up in the last frontier; my home state of Alaska. It was here that my character was forged in the fires of Boys Scout campouts and the icy waters of early morning polar bear plunges. I achieved the rank of Eagle while finding a passion for sharing nature literacy with others. My wife and I now run a Nature camp in Fairbanks, Alaska where we focus on getting kids outside while creating a fun and safe environment. We also try to sneak in some education on the side. My family spends as much time as possible at our lakeside cabin nestled in the Alaska Mountain Range. It is here that some of the best Aurora viewing in the world can be found (source: me). Of late, my time at the family cabin has been limited as my wife and I have been living in different parts of the Lower 48 (this is how us Alaskans refer to the contiguous 48 United States). However; Nature is calling and I must go; A 2016 winter trip is already in the works and this time I get to share the experience with two of my favorite people, Emily and Joe White (store owners). Stay frosty my friends!
Michela Ferree – Song Bird
Howdy. My name is Michela Ferree, best known to friends as Kelly. I’m a song-writing, tree hugging, dirt lover and I’ve been part of the RRT team since it was just a twinkle in Emily, Joe, and BJ’s eyes. I can blame/thank Emily and Joe for being the catalysts of pretty much every adventure that I’ve had in the last 5 years. They set me off on a whirlwind when they talked me into working at a Scout Camp in Fairbanks, Alaska in 2010. I met my husband, George, at camp, and he talked me into leaving nice, temperate Ohio and moving to Fairbanks (in winter, when it was -30F).
I spent three years in Fairbanks where I slept in snow caves, rode snow machines, ran away from moose, and tried to look fashionable in bunny boots. In that time, George and I made three cross country road trips. We figure that we’ve spent over 20,000 miles roadtripping together. As a result, planning roadtrips is my area of expertise in the outdoor adventure world. Also, I’m a pretty good camp chef, even on a JetBoil. Other than my love of road tripping, one of my greatest passions is environmental education and nature literacy. George and I started and continue to run a nature camp in Fairbanks so that we can both share our passion for nature with kids.