My name is Ulisses Guimaraes. A city boy, I was born in a small municipality in Brazil where I grew up. I moved to California early in my 20’s, and I have lived in Los Angeles for the past 20 years.
Like a lot of Angelinos, I work for the entertainment industry as digital product designer. A casual hiker for years, I had a life-changing moment in the Summer of 2017 while driving back from a hike with friends at Glacier Point in Yosemite National Park. We had to stop the car because the sunset was absolutely breathtaking. We stood in silence for several minutes, watching the sun, as it lowered, changing the spectrum of light and colors on California’s most majestic range of mountains.
I knew then and there I had found my passion.
Only a few months later, my friend John Binninger invited me to participate on a hike to raise money for charity. I immediately said yes, and I signed up to hike up Mount Saint Helens. It was there, on top of the volcano that we discussed partnering up to form what later would become Trailmixer. I had been involved with the AIDS Lifecycle for ten years – five years as a cyclist and five years as a roadie – and I loved the idea of creating an organization that gives back to the LGBTQ+ community.
I am thrilled to be part of this journey and look forward to helping build a community that is as excited about climbing mountains as it is about giving back.
Hello my name is John Binninger. I grew up in Oregon hiking and backpacking with my friends as often as I could. My dad was a lumberjack and a forester who instilled in me a love of the outdoors. My mom was a women’s rights activist who taught me the importance of giving back.
When my mom became stricken with Alzheimer’s, she got to the point of not enjoying birthdays anymore. So, in 2013, on her birthday, I decided to celebrate her in a different way: With a small group of friends, I climbed a mountain to raise funds for The Alzheimer’s Association in her honor.
Each year that followed, we climbed more mountains, eventually raising over $70,000 for charity. Each year our community of climbers grew, and organizing the event became more challenging.
Last year as we climbed down over the unforgiving slopes of Mount Saint Helens, I asked Ulisses Guimaraes to partner with me. Luckily he accepted!
We founded Trailmixer in 2018 with plans to grow it into a bigger and more multifaceted organization. Some of our original hikers now hold Board positions. There’s really nothing holding us back!
Howdy, I am Rick Gilles, and I have been a lifelong Outdoor Enthusiast. From skiing at 3, to backpacking trips with my father starting at age 5, to my first Wilderness Survival training with the Scouts at 10, I have always had one foot in the Mountains or Ocean (and lately desert). Nature is my Spirit and Meditation. I am also a longtime LGBTQ activist: I helped start Colorado’s first Gay and Lesbian Youth Group, Outright, when I was 16, which morphed into being on the front lines in HIV activism with Queer Nation, ACT Up, and others. I have continued that fundraising activism in my adult life in each state that I have lived in. I am loving this opportunity to combine my spirit and activism with Trailmixer! An artist/carpenter and builder by trade, I have contributed as navigator and logistics planner for these charity climbs since the first year - map nerd, through and through. See you on the trail! And really, it’s only another mile…mile and a half……
Hello hikers and welcome to Trailmixer. My name is Francesca Koe (aka @kelpprincess on Insta and @free_dive on Twitter) and while it's true that my usual habitat is found underwater, I am #gratefulfornature everywhere. As an ocean advocate I helped to design & implement marine protected areas (MPAs) along the California coast as a primary stakeholder during the California Marine Life Protection Act Initiative, and I was proud to play a role in the passage of AB-376 (which bans the possession & sale of shark fins in CA). I am a multi-agency dive instructor (PADI MSDT #186082/ DAN #11837/PFI Safety Supervisor #1102 + AIDA judge), a competitive freediver, and the Editor-at-Large for Deeperblue.com. When I'm not in the water you can find me encouraging young people, friends & family to #gooutsideandexplore because hiking really is good for the soul. I am thrilled to collaborate with Ulisses and John on #trailmixer and eager to build more community as we meet out on the trails together.
Howdy, my name is Jason Wise!
Nature is a healing force for me, and while that mindset was instilled in me at a young age, by adulthood I thought I had to give it up to live as an out gay man in the city. Luckily I discovered that nature was indeed all around us, even in the big bad city of Los Angeles. And from then on I dedicated my life to showing everyone just how powerful our nearby nature can be in healing our mind, soul, and body.
These days I keep myself busy doing any and all things nature. I use my political science and LGBT studies degree (from UCLA) and my masters in public policy and environmental studies (from USC), to guide my advocacy work as Conservation Chair of the Sierra Club Angeles Chapter. I use my California naturalist certification, recent biology and geology studies, and training with NatureBridge in Yosemite to work as an outdoor environmental educator and trail guide for kids of all ages. I use my experience as an Artist in Residence for the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument and passion for writing and landscape photography to promote access to nature, especially the wilderness that surrounds all the large cities in California.
I'm beyond excited to bring my particular recipe of experience to the knowledgeable and passionate board of Trailmixer, and figure out how I can help further our mission to use all the beautiful gifts of nature to empower the LGBTQ+ community.