GTT Team

GTT Team

Bretwood “Hig” Higman, PhD, Executive Director

Occasionally a happenstance photograph becomes a perfect headshot.
HIG — Occasionally a happenstance photograph becomes a perfect headshot. — Get Photo

Co-founder and Executive Director of Ground Truth Trekking, He and Erin Mckittrick are responsible for the exisistence, vision, and ongoing development of the organization. In particular Hig specializes in geologic research, website development, photography, figure creation, and of course the Journeys that explore the “ground truth” of natural resources issues in Alaska.

Hig received a PhD in geology from the University of Washington in 2007, following a BA in geology from Carleton College in 1999. He studied the geologic record of tsunamis and has particular expertise in geologic hazards, sedimentology, and geomorphology. More broadly he studied geology, physics, and computer science. Hig has also studied Yoshokai Aikido, invented the jewelry manufacturing method behind Sundrop Jewelry, and sews some of the gear for expeditions.

Hig grew up in Seldovia, Alaska, where his family moved when he was 8 months old. After graduating from high-school there he spent 13 years in college and grad school, studying glass art, and walking from Seattle to the Aleutians before moving back to Seldovia. He and Erin now live in a yurt a hundred yards from his mother where they’re raising their children and running Ground Truth Trekking.

Erin McKittrick, M.S., Director

Erin paddling in the Aleutians
ERIN HEAD SHOT — Erin paddling in the Aleutians — Get Photo

Co-founder and Director of GTT. In addition to overseeing GTT and planning the journeys, Erin is one of Ground Truth Trekking’s primary writers, responsible for communication of our mission and journeys through essays, books, blogging, media coverage and Facebook.

She is the author of Small Feet, Big Land: Adventure, Home and Family on the Edge of Alaska and A Long Trek Home; 4,000 Miles by Boot, Raft, and Ski

On journeys, you’ll find her taking long notes on every day of a trip. Erin also edits and writes issues article on the site and has taken many of gtt’s most memorable photographs (she’s a photographer when the kids let her be, anyway).

Before moving to Seldovia, Erin grew up in Seattle. She received a MS in Molecular Biology from the University of Washington in 2005, following a BA in biology from Carleton College in 2001. She met Hig in college, studying aikido (which she studied for many years both before and after college). Erin and Hig have been trekking together for over a decade, logging over 8000 miles of wilderness travel, mostly in Alaska. Their son Katmai joined them in 2009, and in 2011 his sister Lituya became part of the expeditions as well.

David Coil, PhD, Director

David in a packraft
DAVID COIL — David in a packraft — Get Photo

David is a long-time member of GTT, a Director, has written most of the articles on natural resources issues such as Coal and Metals Mining and has participated in the evolution of Ground Truth Trekking and this website.

Originally from Colorado, David received a B.A. in Biology from Carleton College in 1999 and a PhD in Biology from the University of Washington/Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in 2005. He has done post-doctoral work in Belgium and at the UC Davis in California.

David currently lives in Northern CA where he and his family enjoy hiking, fishing, hunting, camping and rafting. In addition to working for Ground Truth Trekking, David is involved in outreach/education in Microbiology and in Genomics mostly through the microBEnet project. His current work involves sending bacteria to the International Space Station.

Bjørn Olson, Director

Bjorn before an attempt at spearing salmon
BJORN AND SPEAR — Bjorn before an attempt at spearing salmon — Get Photo

Bjørn is a lifelong Alaskan and wilderness adventurer. He contributes to Ground Truth Trekking through writing, photography, filmmaking, guiding and some behind the scenes data entry.

Bjørn has always been inspired by 19th and early 20th century exploration, wherein adventurers took a renaissance approach to their travels and significantly contributed to the scientific community. In Ground Truth Trekking Bjørn has found an outlet to communicate and share some of what he experiences and sees while on his excursions through the rapidly transforming landscapes of Alaska.

Andrew Mattox, MBA

I think of him as Andrew, but others just call him "Shaggy."
ANDREW AND AUGUSTINE — Raft from Alpacka Raft. One of our sponsors.Get Photo

Andrew is a geologist, scientist, writer, and sometimes-adventurer.

He holds an MBA in Sustainable Systems and a Certificate in Energy Solutions from the Bainbridge Graduate Institute, and a BA in Geology from Carleton College. Beyond gtt, he works as a technical analyst in the oil spills industry. He has special interests in systems theory, operations, economics, and industrial accidents.

Andrew served six years as a forester and firefighter for the U.S. Forest Service, in the Baker River Hotshots and the North Cascades Smokejumpers. Andrew was also a co-owner and executive Vice President at Alpacka Raft for three years.

Kim McNett

Kim McNett volunteers with gtt mostly through expedition based inquiry, and contributed to the documentary ‘Where the Heck is Donlin?’. A life long naturalist, she holds a BS from The Evergreen State College and works as a sea kayak guide and environmental educator in Kachemak Bay. Partnered with Bjorn Olson, she has completed many human-powered expeditions in Alaska by kayak, packraft, and fatbike. Living in Homer, Kim spends free time tidepooling, unicycling, and nature journaling.

Damien Tougas

Damien is a forward-thinking father who lives for the journey. Not content with the status quo, he is continually engineering family life for more adventure. Happiest wherever there are mountains and computers, Damien loves exploring creative ways to integrate his passions for family, technology, and wild places. You can find him being a geek behind the scenes for gtt, writing at Backpacking Light, and building an online community for minimalist footwear enthusiasts at Toe Salad.