Derek hails from Roanoke County, Virginia. A land of gentle mountains, the region is home to the "Triple Crown" of the Appalachian Trail (a challenging hike across Dragon's Tooth, McAfee Knob and Tinker Cliffs) and the best mountain biking east of the Mississippi. It was there in Virginia's Blue Ridge that he fostered his love for the outdoors. After receiving an undergraduate degree in history from Radford University in the Appalachians, Derek left home to live abroad in Europe before settling in Lake Tahoe. He lived just beyond the "Big Lake" in the Desolation Wilderness for nearly a decade in a single-room cabin. There, he cultivated his wilderness skills as a hiking guide, mountain biking guide and climbing instructor, flavoring these endeavors with his passions for history and natural interpretation.
Today, Derek splits his time between East and West, working as a professional guide and carpenter, two vocations he feels very fortunate to pursue professionally. Living and working around the world has cultivated in Derek a love for many things wild and beautiful: alpine deserts, Wyoming paintbrushes, Japanese hand saws, deciduous valleys, ungulates, glacial waters, western tanagers, literature of all varieties, incense cedars, wolf lichen, gravel bikes, and the list goes on.
Derek joined the Nat Hab team in 2022 as a U.S. national parks Expedition Leader. He is eager to share his passions with his guests and to hear about theirs as well.