This is our good friend, Zack! He is more than just our good friend, he has been a valuable employee with us for about six months. He has been a good friend for even longer. In fact, when Zack started working for us this summer, we weren’t even looking to hire anyone. He was just a quick study and kind of had to keep jumping in and helping on busy summer days at the shop. Plus, he’s got that kind of personality that you’d rather have around than not!
Zack was born and raised in the suburbs of Nashville, Tennessee and you can see that the influence of such an iconic town runs deep in him. He’s a good ol’ southern boy with a big heart but you may not think it just by looking at him. We he rolls up on his Harley, arms covered in tattoos, you may not think he was such an affinity for the Appalachian Trail either!
In 2011, Zack transformed into ‘Blueyes’ on his thru hike of the AT, a trail name that he comes by with striking honesty. Like most hikers, he fell in love with the trail and had to find a way back soon after his hike. This desire to stay connected with the trail brought him to Virginia, where he worked with the Konnarock Trail Crew along the AT. The next year he upped his connection between trail and job even more by becoming a ridge runner in both Pennsylvania and Georgia, where our friendship began. When it came time for a hot meal and to get a shower, Blueyes would have a stay in the hostel at Mountain Crossings during his regular patrol.
Zack then found a less nomadic role on the AT when he took a job at the Hike Inn on the Approach Trail. Besides offering a unique backcountry experience focused on sustainability, the Hike Inn also offers nightly educational classes on varying topics. On his off days, Zack would come up to Mountain Crossings and hang out until we began to put him to work in place of several of our own staff who were thru hiking. For quite a while, he worked at both until moving over to the mountain full time to help with the busy fall and spring seasons!