We're recognizing Trailspace's outstanding reviewers and community members as part of our 20,000 Reviews Contest.
Today we meet D&G in the Smokys from Tennessee. DJ (he's the D in D&G; G is fiancée Gretchen) was rated one of the top two helpful reviewers during the contest period (we'll meet the other tomorrow).
Here's a little about DJ, in his own words.
Activities: I mostly enjoy hiking and camping. Typically on a regular day hike, I just start driving and when I see a trailhead I have never taken, that's the one I try to take. The thing that makes it enjoyable is that my fiancée enjoys it just as much as I do!
In the past I have been into mountain biking and plan to get back into that in the near future as there are many good places near Knoxville, Tenn., for such thing. Also, I have gained an interest in trail running and am looking forward to doing that, just wonder how different that is from running my 10Ks!
Trails: I don't have a particular favorite trail, but just like being on one. I have done all of my hiking in the Tennessee and North Carolina area, but I would like to make my way around the country and try to hit as many trails (short or long) as possible.
Background: I grew up in Longmont, Colo., and could see the mountains from my bedroom window, but I had never gotten into the outdoors that much when I was that age (11 years old).
Fast forward...I joined the U.S. Navy right out of high school and that took me to Chicago, Ill., Charleston, S.C., and Virginia Beach, Va. I was in the nuclear propulsion program as a Reactor Operator. Eventually I decided I wanted to find somewhere to plant my roots and I found a job in Tennessee working with TVA as a Senior Reactor Operator.
I started to carpool with a guy in my class that had been hiking and camping for more than 20 years, and he got me really interested in the idea. So I started doing a lot of reading and learning about hiking and camping, and after doing so for about a year found Trailspace.
Gear Reviews: While accumulating my gear I learned a lot of things about the equipment that is out there, and also learned what type of reviews were actually helpful for my selection of the gear I have purchased. I had seen some reviews that weren't all that helpful unless you want to know if someone thought something was "cool." So I made it a personal goal that if I was going to review a product I would try to give the best idea of how I used it and what kind of abuse I put it through, pros/cons...you know the stuff that makes a "good review"!
This has also led to me becoming a gear junkie. I have purchased some items solely because I thought they looked cool. While some have turned out to be useful, others have turned out to be "just cool to have." I am just glad that the users here have found my reviews helpful. Goal accomplished. Thank you, voters!
Other: I also play electric and acoustic guitar and the bass guitar and work on old cars. I used to do lots of wakeboarding when I lived in South Carolina, but haven't since I moved to Tennessee.
Great job, DJ! For his efforts, DJ will receive:
Thanks to Nikwax, CamelBak, Clif, and Leave No Trace for donating the prizes.