Humans We Heart: Outdoor Enthusiasts Colleen Hammond & Jeff Thrope
Whether they’re exploring a national park, producing films and photoshoots, chain sawing wood for their stove or creating crossword puzzles (!), true multihyphenates Jeff and Colleen are always up to something fun. So, we figured they were the perfect pair to take our Parks Project collaboration for a spin. Aside from expertly modelling the clothes, they also took the time to talk with us about instant coffee, dream destinations and their local country station, plus more.
Hi Jeff, hi Colleen! Tell us a little about yourselves—what do you do, where do you live?
Colleen: Hi! We live in an off-grid adobe home in beautiful northern New Mexico, in the high desert on Jicarilla Apache and Pueblo land.
I do a few things. I’m a film producer (check out Yes, God, Yes on Netflix!) and a fundraiser for an amazing nonprofit called Voice of Witness that advances human rights by amplifying the voices of people impacted by—and fighting against—injustice through an oral history book series. I’m also the cruciverbalist (a wonderfully fancy word for crossword puzzle maker) for a monthly newspaper called The Smudge.
Jeff: Hello! Like Colleen said, we live off-grid (our water supply is rain collected from the roof, electricity comes from solar panels/batteries, etc.) in northern New Mexico on Jicarilla Apache and Pueblo land. It’s just the two of us and our idiot dogs, Frankenstein and Mona. There’s a bull snake that lives under our porch too. We call him Norman.
I have worked in the outdoor industry for over a decade, mostly doing brand marketing, producing photoshoots and writing articles about travel/camping. For the last couple of years, I’ve been doing more and more environmental NGO work, and now I suppose I’m a professional model too?
Yes, you two were naturals! Mind if we go through a few quick getting-to-know-you questions?
Colleen: I’m one of those people that doesn’t drink caffeine, but if we’re talking about morning routines, Jeff usually makes me an English muffin with peanut butter and bananas and a chamomile tea.
Jeff: For better or worse, I have always drunk shitty instant coffee in the morning. Black. Only one cup or my body hates me. Plus, there’s no coffee shop where we live!
Colleen: Jeans and a hemp T-shirt.
Jeff: Jeans and the paint-stained-three-sizes-too-big T-shirt that was left behind when we bought our house.
BOOKS ON YOUR NIGHTSTAND:
Colleen: Red at the Bone by Jacqueline Woodson, Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng, How We Go Home: Voices from Indigenous North America edited by Sara Sinclair, Farm Lunch by Marjory Sweet and Vegetable Kingdom by Bryant Terry.
Podcasts/albums/playlists in your earbuds:
Jeff: I also love my buddy Zach’s new album, Now Be Here. We have a solar-powered radio in our sunroom, so we often end up listening to the local country station, 92.9 KBYR, which plays a great mix of old and new.
Let’s talk about the great outdoors! How has getting outside helped you get through these strange times?
Jeff: Our only heat source at the house is a wood stove, so Colleen and I have to chainsaw wood to stay warm through the cold months. We had quite a bit of time on our hands this fall, so we sawed A LOT of wood (yes, we have a permit). That was probably my biggest stress relief during COVID. It felt great to pack a lunch, drive to the mountains and fill up the back of the truck, then do it again, and again and another time.
Colleen: We feel really, really fortunate to have immediate access to the outdoors and wide-open spaces right now. Daily walks and weekend hikes have been an especially welcome break from the news and our screens.
What should potential visitors keep in mind when planning a trip to a national park?
Colleen: I’d say to look up the history and get an idea of whose original land you’re on. Ditch your car as much as possible. Know where you can safely have dogs and when you should leave them at home. Hydrate!
Jeff: And for all that is holy, don’t litter or make cairns!
Any dream destinations left on your travel bucket list?
Colleen: Isle Royale National Park! You can only get there by boat or seaplane, and Lake Superior is my favorite ocean.
Jeff: So many dream destinations! We really want to walk the entire length of the Continental Divide Trail in New Mexico. We’ve spent time backpacking sections of it since we’ve lived out here, but we’re excited to do it all in one shot.
Those certainly sound dreamy! And finally, since this is our Humans We Heart series, do you each have someone you admire that you’d like to shout out here?
Colleen: Huge shout-out to my little sister, Julie Hammond. She’s an ICU nurse and works the night shift at a hospital in San Francisco. She’s been on the front lines caring for people during this horrible pandemic. She’s a literal life saver and I’m so proud of her.
Jeff: There are so many people in these trying times that deserve our admiration, but I’m going to shout out Colleen here because I can. She’s a wonderful cook, frustratingly good at word games and always has a smile on her face despite having to spend 24 hours a day, seven days a week with the world’s biggest pain in the ass.
Awww, you two. Thanks so much for chatting, Colleen and Jeff! To get the sweet looks they’re wearing and also help protect our precious national parks, check out our collaboration with the Parks Project, right here.