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Meet the Instructors


Chloë de Camara

Chloë de Camara grew up in Boone, North Carolina–less than an hour away from the Appalachian Trail (A.T). She took an abnormal approach to learning more about the A.T. by researching the culture of thru-hiking for her BA in Religious Studies from UNCA. After receiving her diploma, she began her relationship with the Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) as a volunteer, which led to a seasonal position working with volunteers in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. She completed her own thru-hike of the A.T. in 2015, and hasn’t left the Trail since. Chloë has worked with the ATC for two years educating hikers on the best practices that will help them achieve their version of success for a long-distance hike. She believes in empowering hikers to make informed decisions, which helps limit the impact on the Trail that inspires us all.


Stephen Eren

500 miles by dog sled, 500 miles by kayak, 4000 miles by trail, and dozens of Chinese buffets in between. Stephen is an A.T. thru hiker, class of 2014, has worked 6 seasons as a Wilderness Ranger from the Sierras to the Linville Gorge, and spends most of his time picking fur from his two huskies off his clothes. From his first Leave No Trace Trainer at 18, Stephen knew he wanted to spend his life stewarding and protecting amazing wild places and public lands.  “I’m so excited to help usher in the next thru hiking class and help nurture budding environmental ethics. Nothing brings me more joy than setting people up for success to venture out into the wild.”


Kathryn Herndon-Powell

In 2006, Kathryn Herndon-Powell followed through with a plan her best friend had schemed up in the eighth grade and hiked the A.T. from Georgia to Maine. They joked that they were just trying to put off using their brand-new college degrees as long as possible, but once Kathryn fell in love with the Trail there was no going back. She worked as a seasonal Backcountry Caretaker in Vermont and thru-hiked the PCT before landing her first job with ATC in 2011, as an Assistant Crew Leader for the legendary Konnarock Volunteer Trail Crew. Three seasons of trail building was a transformative journey of its own, and Kathryn is still just as happy to spend a Saturday digging sidehill as hiking on it. She now works as the Education & Outreach Coordinator in ATC’s Virginia Regional Office, where teaching Leave No Trace and How To Hike the A.T. courses are one of her favorite duties. When she’s not volunteering to maintain her A.T. section or off on a new adventure, you might find Kathryn working in the garden, tubing through town on the Roanoke River, or taking entirely too many pictures of her tabby cats.


Leigh Rothermel

Leigh Rothermel’s passion for the outdoors began in Middle School when she went on her first backpacking trip. After college, she followed the “normal” routine of life and got a job in Atlanta. After three years working in Cybersecurity, she decided to quit to fulfill her lifelong dream of hiking the Appalachian Trail in 2015. After she completed the A.T., she worked for the Len Foote Hike Inn, as a Ridgerunner for the ATC in Georgia, for Mountain Crossings Outfitters, and thru-hiked the Pacific Crest Trail in 2017. Leigh is always happy to help hikers and make sure they have the most enjoyable experience on the trail!


Maury Hudson

Maury first caught the hiking bug when she thru-hiked the A.T. in 2008, her first major backpacking trip. In 2012 she hiked a 1,000-mile section of the Pacific Crest Trail and returned to the A.T. in 2014 to hike from Georgia to Harpers Ferry. While she wasn’t on the trail, she was interning with the National Park Service, teaching English in South Korea, and guiding teenagers through the backcountry as a field instructor at a wilderness therapy program. She finally got paid to section hike when she became the Smokies long-season Ridgerunner for the ATC in 2015 and 2016. Maury believes that anyone can hike the A.T. if they truly want to (even lazy people, like her) – all it takes is the right mindset and the proper amount of planning. She is excited to help people find what works for them on their own A.T. journey, while also sharing the best ways to protect the trail for future hikers.


Casey Quarterman

Casey Quarterman was born and raised in a small town in Northeast Georgia called Toccoa. He’s loved nature and the outdoors his whole life and grew up hiking and camping on and around the AT. He studied Outdoor Education at Montreat College and after receiving his bachelor’s degree in 2011 he began his career in the outdoors. Over the past 8 years he has been a teacher, guide, outdoor instructor, and most recently a Wilderness Ranger. He has witnessed so much growth and positive change in himself because of spending time in the outdoors. Because of this he’s passionate about facilitating opportunities for people to have these experiences themselves.


David Schafer

David was born and raised outside of Asheville, NC, where the beauty of western North Carolina helped his love for the outdoors blossom. He has hiked over 9,000 miles across North America, including thru-hikes of the Appalachian Trail, Pacific Crest Trail, and Continental Divide Trail. Additionally, David is a graduate of the Creative Writing program at Warren Wilson College and loves to reflect on the natural environment through the written word. David is the Fontana Ridgerunner in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park for the 2019 season.