You see free soup, you make a decision to eat it.
I first met Drew about mid-way through my college career. He was in a group project with one of my best friends from childhood, so as they would meet I would study nearby and then we would chat after…or many times during that time we should have been working. We had many similar interests in music, the outdoors, and of course our studies at the university. We have since become great friends and now we are once again roommates in Raleigh, NC. I am excited to see where this year takes us, many adventures and good times to be had. Take it away, Drew!
Hey y’all my name is Drew (not Andrew) Fraser. I met Garret during my sophomore year of college and unfortunately we’ve been friends ever since. Now, roommates of 2 years in Raleigh, NC and enjoying the hell out of life!
What do you do for a living, how did you end up in that field?
I am an Industrial Engineer with the United States Postal Service, yes the largest logistics company in the world…looking at you Jeff Bezos! It is kind of a funny story. I started in accounting at West Virginia University because I thought that is what I wanted to do, and then half way through college I decided to switch to engineering because my brother, Kyle, also an engineer, did not think I could do it. Looks like I proved him wrong after all.
When did you first start enjoying the outdoors?
Honestly I got more appreciative of the landmarks in nature aspect when Michael, Kyle and I went out West in 2014. That was really the first time I have seen any big, well-known National Parks. Obviously as a little kid, playing outside was always a good time.
What is your favorite place to explore?
I would say Raleigh, NC because I have had more opportunities to explore this great city over the last two years. Specifically when I first moved down here, as I ran through the city and all the parks around this area. Shout out to Nash Square, the Central Park of the South. Basically I like everything from the little nooks and crannies of the city streets to state parks, city parks, lake adventures, there is an abundance of things to do.
How many of the 50 United States have you visited? Favorite?
I have been to 28 states so far. I literally have not been anywhere in the North East. My favorite state would be North Carolina, the reason I moved here.
How many countries, where?
Two. I went to the British Virgin Islands and Cancun, Mexico.
Best hike you have ever had?
Where do I start… I enjoyed the Mariposa Grove hike in Yosemite which takes you around meadows of Sequoias and maybe a mix of Redwoods. It was not terribly strenuous, but we went past where the tourists stop and then it was just a group of us, my cousins and I. It almost felt like a movie, like an elf walking through an enchanted forest. Everywhere you looked trees were towering over you. It was a good seven mile loop, it was a nice workout and beautiful scenery.
Essential items for summer hikes/winter hikes in your opinion.
I don’t know, I am honestly never really prepared. Water, sunscreen, chapstick (with SPF 25).
What would be different for Winter, I don’t think I have ever done a legitimate Winter hike. Uhhh, good wool hiking socks.
Most comical hike/adventure story?
A hike with Michael and I in Shenandoah National Park. We were just hiking the Appalachian Trail for a couple days and we had underestimated the intensity of the trail in these parts. We have backpacks filled with pop tarts, gushers, fruit rollups, donuts so aka nothing we need or that was any use to us. We got to a point where we hadn’t seen water for a while. We had an uphill climb and saw a sign for water ahead, and Michael could no longer continue because he was dehydrated. He told me to go on without him and get water, so I fetched water and bought it back to him. He got replenished and we went back up to the water station on top of the hill. We went back and spent two hours at the water station with this little old woman that looked like a ‘water fairy’ who was filtering water for us like we were her own. It was the most perfect thing for this situation, because otherwise Michael would not have been in good condition. She reminded me of Madame Zeroni from the movie Holes.
Scariest hike/adventure story?
This most recent time in Yosemite, we decided it was our first day and we wanted to do a light hike. We drove around and found a hike, ended up at Yosemite Falls. It was seven miles round trip and thought it would be easy, getting a late start in the day. Similarly, we underestimated the intensity of the hike, and it turns out it is considered the most strenuous hike in the park because it gains 3,000 feet in such a short period of time. The scary part was once we made it to the top and enjoyed it, we decided to go back down. A couple of us started to feel sick, maybe due to altitude sickness and were struggling with the hike back down. There was some heroic piggyback rides to get the group back down the mountain. Long story short, we were the last people down the mountain and it was pitch black. We had to break out flashlights for the last hour and a half. A little dangerous and scary to be up there by ourselves.
Upcoming trips planned?
My girlfriend and I are planning to go to Santa Barbara and San Lois Obispo to visit a friend over Columbus Day weekend.
Favorite outdoors gear/lifestyle companies? Any local?
What does conservation mean to you?
Using what you need and being mindful of your portions/usage.
What can we do to make sure our parks and wild lands stay clean and pure forever?
Probably just respecting any rules or regulations put forth by the Parks and Recreation Departments whether it is National or State parks. Those are the people who know what they are talking about, the rules need to be respected. For example, that is why Ewelina recommended for us to use organic hemp soap on our Yosemite trip to wash up because you are not allowed to put regular soap down the drain into the water.
Drew, thank you for always being a great friend and explorer. I hope we can plan several good trips in the near future and get outdoors as much as possible. Looking forward to many more adventures and not knowing where the road will lead us next. Cheers!