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Meet Ashleigh, Trailspace's Reviewer of the Month

by Seth Levy
January 9, 2013
 On the summit of Sentinel Dome, Yosemite National Park.
Ashleigh on the summit of Sentinel Dome, Yosemite National Park.

Congratulations to community member Ashleigh. Ashleigh's Killer Review of her Eagles Nest Outfitters Twilight LED Lights was voted December's most helpful review by the Trailspace community. 

Congratulations, Ashleigh! You win a goodie pack of gear from InnateGUProBar, and Trailspace for your most recent effort.*

Write your own helpful gear review and you could be next month's most helpful reviewer.

Meet Ashleigh

How did you get started exploring outdoors? Any favorite stories, memories?

I have vacationed in the mountains of western North Carolina my entire life. My mother and father started taking me hiking with them when I was a toddler. I always enjoyed it, but I never went on a hike that was more than a few miles or on any substantially tough terrain.

First backpacking trip on Sassafras Mountain, S.C.

About four and a half years ago, my husband Jay and I met some friends, Ryan and Lisa, who took us to Great Smoky Mountains National Park with them for a weekend. We hiked up to Clingmans Dome and then we went to what is now my favorite place in the East, Max Patch Bald. I had never seen anything so beautiful. The grass was so green, the wild flowers were so vibrant, and the mountains (360-degree view) were all blue around us.

After that, I knew that there was a LOT more that I needed to see! We started going backpacking with Ryan a few months later. My first backpacking trip was on the Foothills Trail in South Carolina. We went from Sassafras Mountain (the highest mountain in South Carolina) to Pinnacle Mountain and back. We had so much fun!

Ryan is an expert backpacker and taught us all about gear, destinations, and terrain. We’ve learned so much from him! He is responsible for me being the gear nut that I am today.

Ashleigh and husband Jay on Max Patch Bald
Ashleigh and husband Jay on Max Patch Bald.

What do you enjoy doing outdoors?

Hiking and backpacking are my favorite outdoor activities, but I also wakeboard, snowboard, kayak, golf, disc golf, play softball and tennis.

I am so lucky I have a husband who also enjoys doing all of these activities, so we stay busy all the time. We enjoy the outdoors so much that we actually got married in Yosemite National Park in an outdoor amphitheater!

Why were you motivated to review your ENO Twilight LED Lights? Anything you'd like to share about its history?

I decided to write a review of them because they have been so useful to me. I haven’t seen them advertised very much, so I thought I should spread the good word about these great little lights.

I love that I can use them at the campsite and at home. The fact that I could put them on my Christmas wreath honestly was what initially sold me.

Being from the South, I also wanted to buy them because ENO, which is based out of Asheville, N.C., makes them. Also, you can never have too many battery-operated lanterns/lights!

What are your favorite pieces of outdoor equipment? Why?

My very favorite piece of gear is my Montbell U.L. Spiral Down Hugger #1 sleeping bag. It is not only my favorite piece of gear, but is actually my favorite thing that I own. I have never been cold in that bag and it is so comfortable!

My husband got me a Montbell U.L. Spiral Down Hugger #3 for Christmas. I love it as well. I haven’t used it but twice so far, but I am pretty sure that it will be my new “go to” bag, since it is rated to 30 degrees, instead of 15.

Wedding party at Glacier Point in Yosemite National Park. Photo credit: Jovan Rodriguez.
Wedding party at Glacier Point in Yosemite National Park. (Photo: Jovan Rodriguez)

Tell us about your favorite outdoor destinations.

Yosemite National Park is definitely my favorite outdoor spot. As much as I love the Southern Appalachians, Yosemite will always be my favorite because I got married there and because it is the most amazing place I have ever seen.

My favorite places in the East are Max Patch Bald and Black Balsam Knob in Pisgah National Forest (N.C.), Grayson Highlands (southwest Va.), and Roan Highlands (N.C./Tenn. border).

All of these places have fueled my love for the outdoors. They are all incredibly beautiful! If you look at my profile, I have links to my trip reports to all of these places.

Anything else you'd like to share with the Trailspace community?

Just a little piece of advice. Get out there as often as you can. There are so many beautiful places to see and you sure won’t see them by staying at home!

Encourage people who haven’t ever been to go with you. You never know when you might change someone’s life!

Experiencing the wilderness has truly changed my life. I see things from a different perspective and realize that I can do things that I never thought I could do. Also, always take your camera with you and always use it!

Great job, Ashleigh!

*Besides Trailspace glory and appreciation, Ashleigh gets a goodie pack with a Trailspace beanie, a Trailspace pint glass (for après-backcountry use), aInnate Kaze Modular Vacuum Bottle, a selection of ProBarsGU Recovery Brew Drinkand Trailspace stickers.

Wondering how you can be as lucky as Ashleigh? Write a great gear review of your own. Next month the Trailspace community will recognize another reviewer (who'll win prizes), and it could be you and your gear review.

Help recognize the best reviews on Trailspace by clicking that up arrow whenever you read a truly helpful review. You'll not only recognize good reviewers, you'll help highlight the best reviews of products for other members looking for outdoor equipment.