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Jennifer Potts - Illinois/Missouri



Trail Name: "SnackPack"


CPR/First Aid/AED, WFA, LNT Awareness, Food Handling

I am based in the St. Louis Metro area. I've spent 20 years in the hair & beauty industry. In early 2016 I stepped down as a full-time studio cosmetologist and began to utilize hiking, camping, and backpacking as a way to disconnect from long workdays and to help process grief. It was then I found a passion for organizing group hikes and other events to connect with like-minded individuals in my community.

In my free time, I spend every minute I can getting sections completed on the Appalachian Trail (4/14), camping, roadtripping and visiting National Parks (28/63) and traveling with my husband and our dogs. I love writing, good coffee and sleeping outside.

My goal is to share with you an authentic and memorable outdoor experience. I strive to create genuine connections with people and help them find their place and their passion for the outdoors. There is no friend-family like a trail family; I can’t wait to have you join us!

Instagram: @jennythetrailhead

Sarah Lindgren

Sarah Lindgren - Illinois

Yoga Instructor/Guide


Karauna Yoga, Healing Chakra, Intro to Viniyoga, Intro to Purna Yoga, 200hr ERYT, YACEP & TSY, CPR/First Aid/AED, LNT Awareness, Food Handling

I love the honesty of the yoga practice and
how it demands self-acceptance, which is truly the heart of this practice. I provide a heart-centered approach to mind-body wellness
for adults and children of all ages and abilities. I strive to assist my students in self-discovery, allowing for growth within their current capabilities and setting them up for success not only in their pursuit of yoga but in their daily lives.

As a Yoga Teacher, I’ve been teaching yoga since the summer of 2015, gaining 200-hour
certification in 2016 from Moksha Yoga in Chicago, completing the program with more than 700 hours of training. I continue to enjoy learning about this practice and developing creative and challenging sequences as well as workshops relatable to students.


My mission as an Experienced Registered Yoga Teacher is to help make the world of yoga more accessible to all students through my classes and YACEP workshops. Showing them this is a practice to access the language of the heart not about touching your toes.

When I’m not meditating, or playing on my yoga mat you can find me in the garden.
Exploring Illinois with my family and whipping up tasty and nutritious food.

I can’t wait to meet you on the mat and together cultivate more.


Mike Buckel - Illinois

WFA/CPR Instructor/Guide

Trail Name: "Ya Whatever"



LNT Awareness, Food Handling, NIMS

I’m am a family man, happily married to my wife Terry for 35 years. we have two adult children and two grandchildren. We reside in Island Lake Illinois; our children live nearby. All the things I enjoy doing revolve around family, friends, and the outdoors. Over the years I have enjoyed camping, fishing, hiking, working with my bird dogs, and off-road adventures. These adventures have taken me far off the beaten path. I have been lucky to explore Utah, Colorado, North and South Dakota, Tennessee, Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin, Georgia, North Carolina, and of course my home state of Illinois.

For the past 30 years, I have worked in the Fire Service for 30 years, 25 of those years I was a certified Paramedic. I currently hold the rank of Battalion Chief for a suburb of Chicago. During my fire service career, I have specialized in training, safety, public education, arson investigations, and rescue diving being certified in both open water and ice diving. I know that my experiences in the fire service, background in emergency preparedness, and the time I have spent in the outdoors will add to the safety of your True North outdoor adventure.


I look forward to meeting you and being part of your next adventure!  


Jason Schneider - Illinois

Guide/WFA Instructor/RAGBRAI Team Captain


LNT Awareness, Food Handling, WFA, CPR/AED, Paramedic

I am married and have 3 children. I serve as the Ministry Coordinator for my church which calls for planning and organizing disaster relief trips in our area and other parts of the country on occasion.

I love the outdoors, whether it be biking, hiking, backpacking, kayaking or camping. Being a full time Paramedic comes with it's job related stress. The outdoors allows me the time to reset and stay focused. 


I've been into hiking most of my life and then got into backpacking maybe  5 or 6 yrs ago.  Last year I was able to thru-hike the 160 mile River to River Trail in Southern Illinois.  This trip took us 11 days to complete.  Definitely one of my biggest highlights on a trail. 


A couple years ago I got into cycling and shortly after started bikepacking/touring trips.  I've rode several trails like the Katy Trail in Missouri, the C&O Trail in Maryland and the Rock River Trail in Illinois. 


I've also participated in RAGBRAI the last 2yrs.  In today's fast paced lifestyle, hiking and biking allows me to slow down and appreciate what's out there. Thankful for the opportunity to share the knowledge I've learned and teach someone new to the outdoor experience the skill sets to go out and make enjoyable and safe adventures of their own.

H Sipes_edited.jpg

Heather Sipes - Illinois



CPR/First Aid/AED,


My passion for the great outdoors began years ago, and it's been a journey of personal growth and adventure.  My hiking adventure took a significant turn in the summer of 2020 when I ventured into the world of backpacking. The challenge, both mentally and physically, captivated me instantly. Over the miles, I found solace in nature, a place where my mind could find stillness, and I could be completely present in the moment.


 I've been on a quest, slowly making my way through the Appalachian Trail and other locations throughout the Midwest and beyond, immersing myself in the beauty and challenges they present.


The joy of guiding others, especially beginners, along the trail is a fulfilling experience. Sharing the skills, knowledge, and enthusiasm I've gathered over the years brings me immense satisfaction. I firmly believe in the transformative power of nature, and being a guide allows me to facilitate that transformative journey for others.


The excitement of discovering new places fuels my enthusiasm, and I'm always eager to embark on the next adventure. Join me, and let's create unforgettable memories on the trail together!


Ingrid Sootla

Guide/Lead Kayaking Guide


Profile currently being updated, stay tuned!


Anthony Pompa - Illinois



Trail Name: "Tesla"


WFA, CPR/AED, EMT-P, LNT Awareness, Food Handling, Avalanche Awareness, NIMS 

After serving 7 years in the military I became a career firefighter/paramedic. I have been a paramedic since 1999 and have also served as a technical rescue technician as well as a safety officer.  I have always enjoyed spending time outdoors and have great admiration for the United States and its national parks and forests.


Most of my time on trail was spent day hiking, I discovered backpacking later in life. What began as a form of stress relief for me quickly became as much of an obsession as it did a necessity. When I'm not backpacking, I'm planning my next trip.


My hope is that I can share the knowledge I have obtained as well as my passion for the outdoors with others. I also believe it is important to pass on the importance of preserving nature, especially to children.


Safety and planning are important to me. One of the biggest challenges of backpacking is proper planning. My goal is to make our clients feel as comfortable and safe as possible, I thoroughly enjoy taking care of all the fine details so our clients can fully enjoy their outdoor experience with us.

The Appalachian trail has a special place in my heart, as do the many small towns it passes through. These are parts of Americana most people will never see and are filled with some of the kindest people you will ever meet.


Kathie Armstrong - Illinois


Trail Name: "Moose Girl"



LNT Awareness, Food Handling

The summer between Freshman and Sophomore year of high school is when I discovered the great outdoors.  My mom sent me to a YMCA summer camp where we went out on trips in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area. I was hooked.  From there, my high school summers were spent paddling, portaging and having a great time.  


Having always loved walking this next phase of life led me from venturing the concrete paths of the city to the dirt covered paths of the forests.  This new passion began as day hikes that lead to backpacking. These hiking days have been as short as a couple miles of day hiking to attempting a solo thru hike on the Superior Hiking Trail. 


All of these experiences in life have given me a passion to pass on the love of the outdoors and hiking to others.  My focus right now is to encourage novice hikers, (especially those who have said to me that they should have done this earlier in life) to try it and to be there with them along the way. 


When not on the trail, I enjoy spending time with the joys of my life, my two children and three grandchildren.  We go on "field trips" that include trips to the city, the symphony for a Star Wars concert, explore small towns, visiting farmer's markets and gardening together. 


See you on the trail...which one?!?...wherever the adventure leads.


Alicia Davies - Illinois


Trail Name: "Sparky"


LNT Awareness

I was born and raised in Springfield, IL. I grew up camping and fishing with my family-I love spending time outdoors. I attended college at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale where I  earned a Bachelor’s degree in Criminology and Criminal Justice. I currently  work full time with the State’s Attorney’s Office as a Domestic Violence Victim Advocate.

When I’m not in the office, I’m either playing outside or planning adventures for a local adventure group my friend and I started in 2020. It has been so much fun meeting new people who have a passion for the outdoors and really being able to get them out of their comfort zone and enjoy nature.

I got my first taste of outdoor adventures while in college. I spent a lot of my free time in the Shawnee National Forest camping, kayaking, repelling and hiking. I was part of a Kayaking and Outdoor club and ever since then I was hooked! Aside from getting to experience some of the most beautiful and remote places in the country, there has always been something attractive about living a minimalist lifestyle, with complete freedom and solitude.

For me, the outdoors gives me a break from everyday life, pushes me both mentally and physically and drives me to rely 100% on myself and my abilities. I find that the outdoors is exhilarating and really gives me an appreciation for life itself.

I really look forward to meeting everyone and guiding you on your next adventure and being able to experience with you what life is really about.


Lesley Fong - Illinois



LNT Awareness, WFA, Basic Life Support (BLS)

I was a couch potato before a life changing trip in 2012: I went on a 4-day backpacking trip with my cousin in New Zealand while I had zero knowledge or experience about hiking or backpacking.

The weather was constantly changing from hot, to heavy rain, hail and snow. The painful experience triggered me to dive in to learn more about hiking.


Fast forward, I have completed many overseas hiking and backpacking trips in Nepal, France, Chilean Patagonia, Taiwan, Hong Kong, South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Botswana, Iceland, Norway, Peru, and hiked 21 National Parks out of 63 such as Haleakala, Yosemite, Sequoia, Great Smoky, Shenandoah, Rocky Mountain, Zion, Canyonlands, Bryce Canyon, Arches, Yellowstone, Wrangell-St. Elias, Denali, Crater Lake, Indiana Dunes.


My former life as a nurse also help me to assist/assess situations calmly. I am 60-years old and not athletic, don't let age define you. If you want to try an event and need assistance - you can count on me and I will be THERE!


Rochelle Palminteri - Minnesota


Trail Name: "Northern Belle"



I recently moved to northeastern Minnesota but will forever consider myself a Yooper, being raised in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. I grew up in a small town out in the country, where summer days were spent outside exploring in the woods and family vacations were always spent camping. I consider myself a “Weekend Warrior” always thinking about and planning my next trip! My weekends are spent hiking, camping, backpacking, exploring the outdoors, or traveling around the country trying to fit in as many miles (or air miles) as possible between Friday and Monday.

My backpacking experience began with a ten-mile hike straight up a Colorado mountain with a rented oversized and very overweight pack. Since then I have experienced a wide variety of locations and all seasons; from the higher elevation Rocky Mountains, to rainy days in Montana at Glacier National Park, to the desert in New Mexico, and of course around the Midwestern states that are closer to home!

Attending numerous backpacking events with True North has given me the skills and confidence to venture out on my own backcountry adventures, as well as the skills needed for trip planning for myself and friends. I look forward to sharing my time on the trail helping others learn and grow as well.

See you on the trail, I’ll be the one still carrying the heaviest pack of the group!


Dr. Robert Joseph DPM, PhD, FACFAS


I am an Associate Professor at Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Health Sciences.  I have been engaged in outdoor adventure and discovery since my first through hike as a Boy Scout. True North provides an opportunity to combine my passion for education with the outdoors through hiking, camping and kayaking.

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