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The Desert Explorers Behind the Website

Gerald Trainor

Gerald Trainor grew up in the Lahontan Valley, in the desert of central Nevada. During his high school years he would spend weekends and summers hiking and backpacking through the Great Basin lowlands and surrounding mountain ranges. There he tackled many challenges, overcame obstacles, learned how to survive and thrive under the harsh conditions the desert sometimes presents, and grew to love the desert and all that it has to offer. He learned about the desert firsthand, about the weather, plants, animals, geology, archaeology, and the lifeways and rich cultural history of the Paiute and Shoshone peoples that inhabited the area for centuries before him. It can truly be said that the desert is in his blood, and that it will never leave him.

After graduating high school he left the desert for a time and spent eight years in the U.S. Army's Special Operations. Much of this time was spent in the field, surviving and subsisting for weeks at a time deep in the bush where his wilderness skills were not only helpful, but essential.

Later he studied archaeology, receiving his degree in anthropology from the University of Colorado. He spent seven seasons in the jungles of Belize, and throughout Central America and Mexico, studying the Mayan culture and traveling. He has also worked as a contract archaeologist in Colorado and Wyoming.

Gerald's current wilderness obsessions include minimalist and primitive wilderness experiences, ultralight backpacking, river running, mountain biking, trail running, tracking, and searching out the most remote ruins and rock art he can find.

Gerald and his wife Mia are the owners of Two Hands Paperie in Boulder, Colorado. Gerald is also an active real estate investor in both Colorado and Nevada. He currently lives in Lafayette, Colorado where he is passing on his skills to his son and planning his next trip to southeastern Utah.

 Gerald Trainor at a ruin in upper Grand Gulch, Utah.


Nicolai Trainor

Nicolai was born in our home in Lafayette on October 21st, 2004. He made his first trip to the desert at age 2, in 2007. He has since visited there countless times and seen much of Utah and teh Four Corners, Nevada, and southern Wyoming. He has floated on the Green, San Juan, Dirty Devil, and Colorado rivers, explored ruins, rock art and quarry sites, backpacked and hiked canyons, and explored many backroads. He is very interested in primitive skills and survival, tracking and hunting, and the people of the Four Corners and their ancestors. He is studying archaeology, geology and learning about the Diné- the Navajo- their lives, history and language. He is currently planning his own trips to the deserts of Egypt and South Africa. He plans to contribute more to the site very soon.

Above- Nicolai at work in southern Utah, examining a large rim sherd of Mesa Verde Corrugated he just removed from our unit.

Robert Pritchard

Robert has lived in the desert all of his life. He grew up in the Lahontan Valley of central Nevada and spent as much time as possible in the desert outside of his small town home. He grew to appreciate and love it there and along with Gerald, spent weekends and summer vacations backpacking, camping, climbing, and hunting. During these excursions he began learning about the landscape and the history of the Great Basin desert, and it became a lifelong pursuit.

After graduating from high school Robert left rural Nevada to study architecture in Phoenix, Arizona. While there, he spent his weekends exploring the Sonoran desert, floating the Salt River, and exploring in the mountains outside of Phoenix. After graduation he returned to the relatively cooler temperatures of Nevada.

Robert spent two years living in Reno while launching his career in architecture. While there he hiked the Sierra Nevada Mountains. But it wasn’t long until the call of the desert brought him back to the lowlands. He moved to Las Vegas shortly thereafter and resides there today. He currently spends his outdoor time exploring the area around Las Vegas whenever possible, and works in time for trips to Utah and other southwest destinations.

Robert has always been interested in advances in outdoor technology. In his early years of backpacking and camping the gear he used was rather crude and heavy. Today his pack weighs about ten pounds. He has always welcomed these advances but notes that the most important elements of visiting the wilderness have never changed- be prepared, be informed and have fun.

robert pritchard crossing the excalante river, utah. Photo by Gerald Trainor.

Robert Pritchard on our recent trek down the Escalante River, on one of the countless river crossings along the way.

Contributing to the Site:

Also contributing to the Desert Explorer website- mostly by putting up with Gerald and joining him on his trips now and then is Spike Naughton. He lives in Minneapolis and travels to southern Utah when he can.

Spike Naughton climbing up the last stretch of Three Canyon along the Green River, Utah. Photo by Gerald Trainor.
On the left is Spike climbing up near the top of Three Canyon on the Green River.

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