All About Us

Erica Little, Trip Coordinator and Guide:  The passion for the outdoors started when I was very young.  After school, Mom would take my twin sister, Erin, and me hiking to the “big rock” or the “big field.” Along the way we identified wildflowers and feasted on wild mint and blackberries.  This began my thirst for knowing what surrounds me…my lifelong learning.  One of my first jobs was working as Hut Crew at Mount LeConte Lodge in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, which you must hike into.  From here, my twin and I through-hiked the Appalachian Trail (AT).  Falling in love with the White Mountains, we returned to work in the Appalachian Mountain Club’s hut system for two fall seasons as hut crew.  During the summers, we explored many new rivers while working as whitewater raft guides.  I have been guiding boats for 18 years. Summers are spent floating the Pigeon River in Hartford, TN.  In the winter I work in Terlingua, TX guiding single/multiday river trips and leading hiking and backpacking trips.  I have a Wilderness First Responder first aid certification and am a self-proclaimed thorn and blister expert. 

 

Terlingua has been my winter home for 12 years. My twin and I worked five winters building our "off the grid" rock house in the Terlinguan desert.  It is situated on a “four-wheel drive only” road with views of Pinks Peak and Blacks Peak and what we call “the edge of the world.”

Over the years, my travels have landed me on many trails, besides the AT. These trails include hiking the first 942 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail, Refugio to Refugio Trekking in Patagonia and Andes, Teahouse Trekking on the Annapurna Circuit in Nepal, Hut to Hut Hiking in Switzerland and Bushwalking in Tasmania.

 

Jimmie Ivy, Guide: The love of the Big Bend region started when I was a boy.  My summers in Big Bend were spent running cattle with my Grandpa living in what he called a “spike camp” consisting of an old tent and a wagon, camping out wherever the cattle roamed.  From my Grandpa I learned to rope, ride and hunt for dinner.  After high school I became Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) certified allowing me to work as a mechanic. My 30's was spent working as a bay fishing guide off the Texas coast.  During my 40's I moved to Terlingua and worked as an Emergency Medical Technician in the ambulance service and serving as Captain for the Terlingua Fire Department for five years.  Working in a region where the closest hospital is 80 miles away and 3,000 square miles to cover with one ambulance, makes overcoming challenges a daily task.  I am now a Wilderness First Responder.  Additionally, I worked as an ATV guide during this time. Currently, I work construction as a welder, carpenter, electrician, and plumber.  I specialize in "off grid" construction utilizing rain water catchment and solar power systems.  Construction styles in the Chihuahuan Desert include adobe bricks, cob, straw bale, earthbag, rock walls, "Earthships" from recycled materials, shipping containers, and stick frame construction.  Getting construction materials to remote building sites is the first challenge in the builder's story.  

This region’s wildlife is my passion. This passion includes tracking and identifying animal signs.  Being able to spot animals, from the smallest lizards and birds to bobcats and big horn sheep allows me the opportunity of sharing my binoculars with others.   My experiences allow me to bring many stories to this Road Scholar program. Participants will take away with them the essence of what it is like to be a local in this rugged, remote, vast, and wonderful wilderness.  They will see that you must be inventive, creative and a lifelong learner to survive in one of our country’s last frontiers.  

* Erica Little and Jimmie Ivy are married to each other.

Erin Little, Guide: Above is my twin sister, Erica Little’s, biography. My biography closely mirrors her. I decided to share my thoughts on travel and what it has brought to me and can bring to others. When one travels, they take a step out of their ordinary routine.  With this step, a new mindset opens eyes and broadens horizons.  It causes us to discover that we all have common threads and desires. I have always had this desire for knowledge.  This knowledge is gathered through our senses and experiences.  Through experiences we grow.  How to enhance these experiences?  On my travels I sign up for guided tours, I want to see the local perspective, hear the local wisdom and lore.  What are their traditions, what can I learn, how has this influenced my life? 

I come from the Appalachian region of Tennessee, where storytelling is a tradition.  As teachers we must contemplate how best to deliver our lessons.  It brings me joy to be able to share what I have learned.  From each person I meet, I want to hear their story and understand their passions.  I welcome the opportunity to be able to engage with likeminded people…seekers of knowledge.

Erica and Jimmie

Erica and Jimmie