Like many Tucker County residents, the wild places around Davis, Thomas, and Parsons hold a special place in Alex Snyder’s heart.
Snyder has been coming to Tucker County his whole life, exploring the places his grandparents, Victor and Ruth (Gnegy) Ujcic, roamed and played in their childhood. In the summer of 2000, Alex’s father took him on his first backpacking trip with a boy scout troop in the Otter Creek Wilderness. “I remember that trip so vividly; it was a wild week full of river crossings with backpacks, canoeing and rafting on the Cheat, exploring caves and mountain bike trails. That trip set the foundation for a lifetime full of outdoor adventures.”
Since that time, Snyder pursued a degree in Adventure Education with the intention of coming home to Davis to provide opportunities for people to get outside and enjoy this wild, wonderful place. Appalachian Expeditions, founded by Snyder and his wife Libbey Holewski, is an outdoor adventure education program based in Tucker County.
“We all know what a special place Tucker County is.” Snyder said, “We are lucky to live here and have access to these beautiful wild places. At Appalachian Expeditions we want to create opportunities to explore this area and teach people how to get out and enjoy the outdoors safely and mindfully.”
Snyder and Holewski, have spent years leading outdoor education excursions through rugged wilderness and national forests across the U.S. They’re excited to bring those skills to Tucker County, to serve as ambassadors to the great outdoors.
“Of all the places I’ve been blessed to see and explore, the wild places around Tucker County are truly unique. The forests and creeks, the butterflies and dragonflies…it’s magical,” said Holewski,.
On a recent excursion, Snyder led a three-day backpacking trip with four boys from Tucker County. The crew first spent two days learning the basics of backpacking, before putting their skills to the test in Otter Creek. The backpackers crossed several creeks, cooked meals on backcountry stoves, and spent time learning about the flora and fauna along their trek.
After the trip, one of the campers, Sebastian Crawford, said to his stepmother, Casey King, “This is the best thing I’ve ever done in West Virginia.”
Appalachian Expeditions plans to offer more trips for kids of all ages that include backpacking, biking, and boating activities.
Snyder and Holewski, are excited to continue learning more about the many wonders that Tucker County has to offer.
“We hope that Appalachian Expeditions can be a place where people come together to share their knowledge and love of this amazing place,” Snyer said.