Cast of Characters

A work in progress; we would love to add you to this list!

Ethan Zook: Author extraordinaire, mountain-tromper, cliff-climber, cave-crawler, river-rider.  Went to Eastern Mennonite University.  I’m an EMT in a busy, eastern-USA EMS system.  Basically, I ride an ambulance all day.   I’ve been thinking about an AT trail name; I’ve begun liking the sound of “Iggle.”  Thoughts?


Melissa Zook: Goes by “Porkchop” when hiking the Appalachian Trail; wife of the author extraordinaire.  Partner in crime on all outdoor adventure pursuits.  Also graduated from EMU; currently goes to Eastern Mennonite Seminary, where she is studying pastoral counseling.  A good cook and a natural strawberry blonde.  Is picking up skiing rapidly.

Elijah Zook:  Our tiny little boy!  Eli was born in May 2012; he’s a charming little fellow, and loves being outside with mommy and daddy.  We call him Eli for short.  I’ve already decided that as soon as Eli is walking, I’m going to start dressing him up in a climbing harness.  Just so he gets used to the feeling.


Oliver: Wild kitty.  Guards the Zook house from dangerous villains, UPS men, and the like.  Is absolutely CRAZY, and is very much in love with Duck (a stuffed animal/duck).  Not much of an outdoors cat, but is still part of the craziness.  We met Oliver (who also goes by Ollie) when he was just a kitten.  Melissa decided she wanted him when, as soon as he got out of the cage, he first said hello, then promptly started attacking things.  Big ears, long tail, big eyes.

Josh King: Maniacal Methodist Minister Man; Up for any and all outdoor adventure opportunities.  Graduated from EMS with Melissa, where they drive each other crazy with obscure, theological arguments.  Pastors down in Roanoke; preaches well.  Former frat boy, but we like him anyway.  Likes to climb in very, VERY cold temperatures…

Jackie King: The Maniacal Methodist Minster Man’s Mate.  Can also be easily persuaded to brave various outdoor adventures.  Has her master’s degree in education, which means that she should probably know better than to hang out with the likes of us!

Spencer: The King’s mountain puppy.  Makes up in cuteness what he lacks in size.  We took Spencer on a three-day backpacking trip; by the middle of day 2, he gave up and had to be carried for the rest of the day.  High adventure isn’t always his thing…  Still, he tries.  He definitely wears the nicest jackets of all of us; I mean, check out that style!

Jared Stoltzfuz: Pronounced “Stultz-foos.”  Another seminary-type studying to be a pastor-type.  Puppy babysitter extraordinaire, and probably the smartest one of all of us.  Melissa, Josh, and Jared were the three amigos at EMS, and had their work desks in a nice little row.  Whenever I used to go in to talk to Melissa, I always ended up trading little barbs with Jared.  Jared now pastors in PA.

Elizabeth “Liz” Stoltzfuz: Jared’s better half, and the youngest of the Pastor’s Wives Club (the Pastor’s Wives Club is made up of Jackie, Ethan, and Liz).  Takes awesome pictures, loves animals.  Has two dogs, a cat, and a whole menagerie of other furry critters (including ferrets!).  Liz is a camp person, and is currently based in PA with her pastor husband, Jared.

Megan Hiatt: Another early childhood education type, and is also working on her master’s degree.  This gives her a lot of patience to deal with the rest of us, and a saint-like ability to deal with her dog, Louie.  Had an amazing time rappelling.  Megan used to live with the maniacal Methodists, Josh and Jackie (fun fact: Jared and Melissa have also lived with Josh and Jackie).

Lester Zook:  My dad, and a truly “Wild Guy.”  Lester teaches at Eastern Mennonite University, where he heads up the Adventure Leadership and Outdoor Ministries program.  He also owns Wild GUYde Adventures, Llc., a guide service in the Shenandoah Valley (I work here on occasion).  He literally taught me everything I know about the outdoors.

Mary Zook:  My “Leetle Seestor” (that’s little sister).  Mary is in high school, and is turning out to be quite the adventurous young lady.  Recently inducted into the “Seneca South Peak Summiteers” club, brand new skier (as of last winter), and a cross country runner.  I’m looking forward to sharing more adventures with her and the rest of my siblings.


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