I took my first hiking trip at age nine to the Camden Hills in Maine. I’ve been hooked ever since.
As a teenager, I spent my summers working at Camp Chewonki in Wiscasset, ME, where I lead trips along the rivers, trails, and coasts of Maine. (I remain on the board of advisors). During college, I joined and eventually led a search and rescue group, the Blue Ridge Mountain Rescue Group, and I spent several years after college teaching wilderness medicine with the Stonehearth Open Learning Opportunities school.
Some of my personal travels have taken me canoeing the St. John and Penobscot rivers in Maine, mountaineering on glaciers in the Chugach range in Alaska and the Tetons of Wyoming, kayaking in Glacier Bay National Park, cycling in Cape Breton, Belize, Iceland and Norway, and climbing in Cathedral Ledge, the Shawangunks, Joshua Tree and Arches. I climbed Longs Peak in Colorado with my wife Elsa, who is a relative of Agnes Vaille, one of the pioneering women of American Mountaineering and the first woman to summit Longs Peak in winter. We took our daughter, Adella Vaille Olivetti, on her first multi-day trek at the age of 9 months through the hut system of the Italian Alps.
In recent years, I’ve traveled internationally with groups of students. I’ve taken high school groups to Tanzania and India, and I started service learning expedition for the Jefferson’s Scholars Program at the University of Virginia to work with the Jifundishe Free Public Library, the first rural library in Tanzania.
In the old days, we captured our travels on Kodaks and Polaroids, and my most recent adventures have their photos trapped on Facebook accounts. But for a few years, the best way to share was on blogs, and so one student-led trip to Tazania and a ccycling trip across Iceland and Norway were fairly well documented online.
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