Hike Leaders & Shepherds

Friends’ volunteer hike leaders and shepherds make our hike program possible. They enjoy sharing their knowledge, passion, and stewardship ethic for the Gorge on every hike they lead. Read about some of our most involved volunteers and all that they do. We are lucky to have friends like these!

Become a Hike Leader or Shepherd

You too can lead hikes with Friends! New volunteers please submit a Volunteer Interest Survey so we can learn more about your interests and experience. We'll contact you within 2 weeks to talk next steps.

Formal Checklist Process to Become a Hike Leader or Shepherd (as of 2019)

  • Attend at least two Friends outings as a participant
  • Attend a Hike Leader & Shepherd Training, offered each spring and fall. You are welcome to attend any subsequent trainings, but a training every 2-3 years will be required. 
  • Basic First Aid is required from all hike leaders and shepherds. Submit evidence of current First Aid & CPR
    • After three outings in role as leader or shepherd, Friends will reimburse your class fee with receipt, up to $40. 
    • If you alternatively opt to take a Wilderness First Aid (WFA) course, Friends can reimburse you up to $60 of the course cost.
  • Read our Hike Leader & Shepherd Manual entirely, then sign the Acknowledgement Agreement.
  • Submit a completed Volunteer Interest Survey to let us know more about your interests and experiences (new volunteers only).
  • Co-shepherd at least one outing.
  • Work with Outdoor Programs Coordinator to make arrangements to lead or shepherd a hike in an upcoming hike season. If not all of the above items are yet complete you will be assigned to co-shepherd in the meantime.

Questions? Contact Outdoor Programs Coordinator Kate Lindberg:

971-634-1265  katel@gorgefriends.org

 Hike Leader & Shepherd Documents

Meet Our Hike Leaders & Shepherds

  • Roland Begin
    Roland Begin
    Roland grew up in New Hampshire but didn't really do any serious hiking until after he hitchhiked to California when he was 20, where he started spending weekends backpacking in the San Gabriel Mountains. Since then, he's hiked all over the West - from the depths of the Grand Canyon to the heights of the Rockies and the Sierras. After moving with his wife to Oregon in 1989, he rapidly fell in love with the wide range of habitats found in the Pacific Northwest. Since retiring two years ago, Roland has dedicated himself as a volunteer naturalist for multiple organizations including Tryon Creek State Park, Tualatin Riverkeepers, Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge, and Friends of the Columbia Gorge, where he combines his educational skills and sharing his love of nature with children and adults. During this same time, he has worked closely with Friends staff to enhance the Explore the Gorge Outdoor Youth Education Program.
  • Daivati Bharadvaj
    Daivati Bharadvaj
    Daivati moved to Portland 16 years ago to attend medical school, but the real reason was because she fell in love with the Gorge! She's been hiking in Oregon and Washington since then, always exploring the next trail or waterfall, and continually falls in love over and over again. For the past few years, she has volunteered with Friends to lead "Herbal Hikes" as a way to share her knowledge and passion for the medicinal qualities of our local plants. When she's not hiking, she can be found tending to her patients as a naturopathic doctor, dancing, reading, or traveling around the world.
  • Jesse Brownlee
    Jesse Brownlee
    Born and raised in Georgia, Jesse now lives, works, and plays in the heart of the Columbia Gorge. She is a US Army Corps of Engineers Park Ranger, a volunteer firefighter with Skamania County Fire District 1, a volunteer EMT with Skamania County EMS, a volunteer with Wind River Search and Rescue, and, for the past few years, a hike leader for Friends focusing on ethnobotany. In her spare time, she loves hiking in the Gorge, specifically on “trails off the beaten path.” She’s also a certified interpretive guide and leads educational hikes on the Fort Cascades Historic Trail near the Bonneville Dam.
  • Jim Chase
    Jim Chase
    Jim grew up in Missouri and started hiking, camping and canoeing at a young age. After spending most of his working life in the Midwest, Jim and his wife Mary retired and moved to Portland in 2007. Jim joined Friends of the Columbia Gorge immediately, and immersed himself in the geology and history of the Gorge and the Pacific Northwest.

    Today, Jim gives talks about the Ice Age Floods, as well as leads hikes and participates in stewardship and advocacy work. Jim is especially excited about Gorge Towns to Trails and the potential for a loop of trails encircling the Gorge. Jim was a member of Friends' Board of Directors from 2015 to 2017.
  • Chon Clayton
    Chon Clayton
    Chon first got involved with Friends in 2011 leading Petroglyphs tours at Horsethief Lake State Park. He enjoys researching the natural and cultural history of the Gorge and sharing stories about the importance of the cultural resources that surround all of us. When not leading hikes, you can find Chon on the volleyball court coaching or participating in the game himself.
  • Scott Cook
    Scott Cook
    Scott Cook is a 20-year Hood River resident and the author of one of the Gorge’s best hiking/exploring guidebooks, Curious Gorge. Scott likes to lead hikes that have a historic bent, and on many of his outings Scott will provide materials like historic photos to compare and contrast how they relate to the Gorge area today. If you like hiking, like history, and love the Gorge, then no doubt you’ll be both entertained and enlightened on an outing with Scott.
  • Pappy Corbitt
    Pappy Corbitt
    Pappy holds degrees in pharmacology, pharmacognosy, and chemistry from Auburn University in Alabama. His practice in pharmacy was in academics where he taught psychopharmacology and served as a preceptor for doctoral students of pharmaceutical science. After retirement, Pappy dove into a second career and started a drug testing business, GS Testing, based in Lake Oswego. His favorite Gorge hike is “every one of them” and is fascinated by all of the geological formations and wildflowers found in different areas. In his spare time he enjoys writing about and painting wildflowers, hiking, and performing service work for his church. Pappy leads wildflower ID hikes with a focus on teaching others about the medicinal properties of each plant.
  • Margo Earley
    Margo Earley
    Margo is an avid hiker and tireless advocate for wilderness protection. Before "retiring" to Oregon with her husband 27 years ago, Margo lived in Connecticut and raised four children while pursuing a career in classical music: opera, recital, church, and synagogue soloist. Her family’s summer vacations were backpacking expeditions all over the west. For the past 15 years, Margo has been secretary of the Board of Directors of Hood River Valley Residents Committee. She has served on the President’s Council of the Wilderness Society for nine years and also for three years on the Hood River Wilderness Committee. In addition to leading backpacking trips for the Sierra Club for 15 years, she spent 25 years running a dogsled! Margo has been a hike leader and shepherd for Friends for many years.
  • Paul Freeman
    Paul Freeman
    Since moving to Portland in 1977, Paul has hiked in the Columbia River Gorge countless times, likely over 1,000 different trips. He feels that the Gorge is a special place geologically, and because of that it has a unique biodiversity. He especially enjoys identifying wildflowers in the Gorge. Paul says that to live so close to such a wonderful place, it is our duty to preserve it for future generations. 
  • Jane Garbisch
    Jane Garbisch
    Jane grew up in Minnesota, and moved to Oregon in 1996. Her passion for hiking and other outdoor interests has grown deeper every year since moving here. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Studies and in Community Health. After college she pursued a profession in alternative health and has been a licensed massage therapist for over 20 years. Jane joined Friends of the Columbia Gorge in 2006, becoming involved with the hike shepherd and leader program right away. The oldest of eight, she admits to having a bit of a mother hen tendency, so ensuring the well-being of and fun for other hikers seemed natural for her. Jane is also a volunteer hike leader for Trails Club of Oregon, board member and work-party volunteer for Trailkeepers of Oregon, and involved in many opportunities related to her health profession.
  • Gloria Gardiner
    Gloria Gardiner
    Gloria shepherds many Friends hikes each year and has experience leading day hikes and cross-country ski trips for other organizations. With degrees in both art and law, she  enjoys continually learning about the geography, geology, biology, history, and cultural anthropology of the places where she travels and explores. Gloria’s favorite Gorge hikes include Multnomah-Wahkeena Falls loop, Angels Rest, Catherine Creek-Labyrinth loop, and Silver Star Mountain. She appreciates the Gorge due to its proximity to Portland, beauty any time of the year, and variety of climates and ecosystems. She appreciates Friends for their work in protecting the Gorge from development. In her free time she enjoys reading, listening to classical music, and indulging in sweet treats.
  • Annette Hadaway
    Annette Hadaway
    Oregon native Annette Hadaway started hiking with her grandparents when she was in elementary school. Her grandfather worked on the Historic Highway as part of the Civilian Conservation Corps, a public work relief program that operated from 1933 to 1942. When Annette is not solo hiking, leading hikes, or shepherding kids hikes in the Gorge, she is trekking in other countries. Her latest trek in Nepal during the October 2014 storm was a life-changing experience. She made many friends in Nepal and is currently raising money for earthquake relief. Her day job as a real estate broker in Portland keeps her busy but not too busy to advocate for the planet, animal cruelty, and the 10 essentials of hiking.
  • Tom Kloster
    Tom Kloster
    Portland native Tom Kloster started hiking in the Gorge with his family at a very young age. Tom appreciates the many different features the Gorge has to offer: waterfalls, cliff top viewpoints, ancient rain forests, and the amazing legacy of trails that allows us all to explore these places. Tom’s favorite Gorge hike is the Wahclella Falls trail due to its changing beauty every season. Tom has been involved with Trailkeepers of Oregon (TKO) since 2007 as a founding board member. TKO is a stewardship organization dedicated to caring for our trails, including many projects over the years in the Gorge in partnership with Friends. TKO also operates the OregonHikers.org forum and field guide — a great place to learn more about trails in the Gorge reported by the hikers who know them best. Tom leads Friends hikes in the Starvation Creek and Wachlella Falls areas.
  • John Morris
    John Morris
    John and his wife Brenda moved to Portland from Alexandria, VA in 2003 after 30+ years in New England and Virginia. Together they have hiked extensively along the Appalachian Trail in Pennsylvania, Connecticut, New Hampshire, and Maine, the White and Green mountains, and have a special affection for the Presidential Range in New Hampshire. They continue their love for the outdoors in the Pacific Northwest and especially the Gorge, which they visit frequently. John volunteers both as a hike leader and shepherd each year for Friends.
  • Ivan Phillipsen
    Ivan Phillipsen
    Ivan is a naturalist with a background in scientific research. He holds a PhD in Zoology from Oregon State University. Ivan loves to share his passion for natural history with other people through teaching and guiding. He is fascinated by the Gorge's amazing geologic history and its ecological wonders. The Catherine Creek area is his favorite spot to explore, and he leads an Ecosystems of the Gorge hike there and at Wahclella Falls each year for Friends.
  • Sharon Ross
    Sharon Ross
    Sharon is retired which gives her ample time to indulge her passion for hiking and international trekking. She walked the 500-mile Camino Frances in 2014 and Camino Portuguez in 2015, and hiked for 10 days in the Italian Dolomites in 2016. She leads hikes and snowshoes for a local hiking group and has just started leading Friends hikes after several years of shepherding. Identifying wildflowers and gradually learning their Latin names is currently an enjoyable “work in progress" for Sharon.
  • Bob and Mary Ann Schmidt
    Bob and Mary Ann Schmidt
    Bob is a retired ODOT bridge engineer. Mary Ann is a retired director of the Student Watershed Research Project and the Environmental Professional Program at Portland State University. She has been an environmental educator for over 20 years. Bob and Mary Ann have been Friends hike leaders and shepherds for a number of years. They enjoy bird watching, photography, and checking out the wildflowers in the Gorge. Other hobbies of theirs include gardening, ocean fishing for salmon, kayaking, and playing in the Lambert Street String Band (a regular at Friends’ Summer Picnic!).
  • Judy Todd
    Judy Todd
    Judy Todd, a fourth-generation Oregonian, has been wandering through Pacific Northwest landscapes all her life. Over 15 years ago, she founded NatureConnect NW and continues to offer programs and outings that encourage our inherent naturalist and educate and inspire. After completing 700-plus miles of the Great March for Climate Action, she became an Elder Earth Activist. She now uses her passion for wild places to advocate for rivers, forests, and public lands. Judy is a volunteer leader with Great Old Broads for Wilderness, Sacred Earth Foundation/Ekone Ranch, and Radical Joy for Hard Times, three non-profits she loves because they let her mostly be outside! Inside she likes to read good books and write poetry.
  • Bill Weiler
    Bill Weiler
    Bill is a wildlife biologist who lives on a 20 oak-woodland acres and has a new yurt for rent to anyone who would like to get away from the city! Bill founded the Columbia Gorge Ecology Institute based in Hood River and works professionally for the Sandy River Basin Watershed Council. He loves the diversity of natural habitats in the Gorge, the large amount of publicly and privately conserved lands, and the phenomenal community members. Bill writes a weekly Wordpress Blog about land conservation & community stewardship. He leads hikes for Friends highlighting wildlife in the Gorge.
  • Steven Woolpert
    Steven Woolpert
    Steven has been hiking and exploring in the Gorge for the past 35 years, the last 15 of which he’s been a Lyle, WA resident. He is continually in awe of the Gorge’s unique character – the diverse geology and plant life combined with the powerful Columbia River. Steven is always on the lookout for the first spring wildflowers at Catherine Creek and other eastern Gorge trails where he enjoys his hobby of photography. The Klickitat Trail is his year-round favorite and he currently serves as vice-president of Klickitat Trail Conservancy, co-leading hikes for both KTC and Friends. In recent years, Steven has combined his career in counseling with on-trail experiences to lead “Earth Walks with Mindfulness” outings, opportunities for learning “relaxed awareness through walking and the breath to help calm our minds, to focus on our senses, and to let in the positive power and beauty of creation all around us”.