2015 Mentor Team
April “Bearclaw” Sylva
April was the first mYAMAdventure hiker to complete a PCT thru-hike with our program. We’re proud to welcome her back as a mentor! This year, April is hiking the Continental Divide Trail.
Jennifer “Lion Heart” Smart
In my mid-20’s, I remember standing in REI looking at guide books for the Pacific Crest Trail and thinking that something like that could be fun. But hiking long distances in wild places all by myself? Way out of my comfort zone!
In fall 2006 at the age of 29, I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. After a total thyroidectomy, radiation treatment and parathyroid complications, the fragile balance of life was drawn into focus. In 2009, I finally set foot on the PCT for my first thru-hike. There’s no simple way to say that the trail changed me and the direction of my life. My fellow hikers, the angels, the scenery, the trail culture and the strength instilled within, became a permanent part of my soul. Listening to my heart and embodying a new sense of life, I thru-hiked the PCT again in 2013. I finally had the guts to set off on a journey all on my own.
I am thrilled to have the opportunity to team up with YAMA and help future PCT hikers find their own path. The PCT community has given me innumerable gifts and I am honored to be able to give a small piece back. By guiding the next wave of hikers, I can do my part to ensure the protection and preservation of the Pacific Crest Trail.
Joshua “Bobcat” Stacy
“The beginning of my Southbound PCT thru-hike in 2013 was perhaps the most challenging and rewarding hiking I have ever done. The snow levels in northern Washington put all of my skills to the test and required me to learn a few new ones as well. For all they put me through, the North Cascades have a special place in my heart. I absolutely loved hiking southbound and meeting all of the northbounders was a huge highlight. I have had some incredible hiking mentors through the years and I am very excited to pass some of that wisdom forward.”
Bobcat recently completed the Triple Crown with a thru-hike of the Continental Divide Trail in 2014. He has also hiked the Lowest to Highest Route, Wonderland Trail, Long Trail, and a self designed Urban Thru-Hike of San Francisco, among others. Bobcat is an Environmental Educator for 5th and 6th grade students in the Santa Cruz Mountains of California.
Heather “Anish” Anderson
The PCT is fresh in Anish’s memory. Not only did she thru-hike the PCT this past summer, she set the self supported speed record by hiking the trail in 60 days, 17 hours and 12 minutes! Anish thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail solo (2003), her first long backpacking trip, and thru-hiked the Pacific Crest (2005) and Continental Divide (2006) trails with a partner. She’s worked for the National Park Service in Glacier National Park, and has hiked extensively in the Pacific Northwest and the Southwest, and runs ultramarathons all over the country.
Ryan “Dirtmonger” Sylva
‘The supple person is the lover of life; the rigid person is the disciple of death.’ I believe in pushing your limits; then go farther. There is no other place I find that element than on trail, preferably in the mountains. We should not settle in life, but take whatever comes your way with determination and grit, and keep moving forward. There is so much to experience that I want it all at once. ~Dirtmonger
Dirtmonger has hiked the Pacific Crest Trail, Continental Divide Trail, Kokopelli Trail, and most recently the self-dubbed Vagabond Loop around the Four-Corners region.
Seth “Naturally Caffeinated” Brewer
“Born and raised in Connecticut, I’ve successfully hiked over 5,000 miles of glorious trail; and I have other hikers to thank for much of that success. Without the selfless and enthusiastic support and knowledge of more experienced ultralight hikers, my own inexperience could have foiled my hiking dreams early on. I hope to give back at least a portion of the help, knowledge, and tricks that were taught to me that have helped fuel my 4 successful thru-hikes. I am excited to team up with Yama to help you accomplish your goal of hiking one of our nations finest long trails. I hope that I can pay-forward all the assistance that I have received over the years, and help other adventurers realize their dream.” ~Naturally Caffeinated
Naturally Caffeinated completed a thru hike of the Pacific Crest Trail just this past year. He’s hiked Appalachian Trail, Long Trail, Ireland’s Wicklow Way, and the New England Trail. He’s also climbed the tallest peaks in the UK and Ireland.
Noah “Prophet” Kanter
After completing his first long-distance hike on the PCT this past year, Prophet said, “Part of the reason I decided to hike the PCT is that I wasn’t sure if I could do it. When I hiked a 75mi section in 2009, I was firmly convinced I would never do the whole thing. I didn’t think I had it in me. I didn’t know if I could handle the mental element, let alone the physical challenge. This initial doubt, that I kept to myself until now, makes finishing even sweeter.”
“I’m excited about this program because it will allow me to give back to the community that has given me so much. While I was planning, I was sometimes overwhelmed by the amount of information and opinions about thru hiking. I connected with a few former hikers and it helped me tremendously to consult with them and synthesize all of that information. I look forward to providing that service to future hikers to keep the tradition alive!” ~Prophet
“When I decided to hike the PCT in 2009 I was lucky to have a friend who had hiked thousands of miles and enough patience to answer emails like this “I have some more questions for you about hiking and materialism. What are your thoughts on bivy sacs, sleeping bags, and sunto watches? Oh– and socks and shoes too…. Do you mind geeking out on gear a bit?” My hiking mentor, Shawn Forry, helped greatly to smooth out the rough edges of my thru-hiking learning curve, and aided in my discovery of the unmatched freedom and joy I have while walking long trails. It’s time for me to pay it forward & share some of the knowledge I have gained on my meanders through the wilderness.” ~Sage
Sage started out her thru-hiking adventures on the Grand Enchantment Trail in New Mexico, then went on to surprise herself by hiking the Triple Crown in 18 months. She’s also created her own 1,300 mile route across California called the Japhy Ryder Route, and in 2013 hiked the newly created Oregon Desert Trail.
Junaid “Speshul 41″ Dawud
My formative years were spent exploring the world around me and many of my fondest memories from childhood were collected in the great outdoors. Sometime in 2005 I found out about the Triple Crown of Hiking – the Pacific Crest Trail, the Continental Divide Trail, and the Appalachian Trail. I was quickly obsessed… in April the next year, I found myself walking north on the PCT. It was a truly life changing experience, though I didn’t make it quite the whole way (2420 of 2663 mi). I returned the following summer, 2007, and completed the remainder of the trail. In 2010, I was at it again, successfully thru hiking the PCT. ~Speshul 41
Speshul 41, with his friend Luke, recently completed a thru-hike connecting all of Colorado’s named fourteeners! Read about it at the link below.