Coordinator Bios

 The coordinators of the Around the Bend Friends are an affable bunch of accomplished Las Vegas area hikers. They all love a great morning on the trails, on the rocks, in the canyons or just climbing the side of a mountain ... any mountain. But, one of the best things about this group is that they wish to share their adventures with like-minded hikers. It must be said that although safety is their number one priority, joining any one of these coordinators implies taking on the responsibility of your own safety. Therefore, upon arriving for one of their hikes, you will be required to sign in on a sheet that reads as the text below. (The small print!)

I understand that during my participation in Around the Bend Friends hikes and other activities that I may be exposed to a variety of hazards and risks that may result in injury, illness, death, and damage to or loss of property. These risks could occur during travel by personal vehicle to or from the group hike or activity and during the course of the hike or activity, whether on established trails or in remote areas. I also understand that these risks could be enhanced because of lack of qualified or proper medical services or care, the forces of nature, presence of wild animals, reptiles, or amphibians, the inherent dangers involved in physical activity, the negligent actions of other persons or agencies, and other unforeseen circumstances. I acknowledge these risks and assume full responsibility for all risks stated above and any other risks not so stated. I further agree that I, my heirs, or any personal or legal representatives hereby release and hold harmless Around the Bend Friends from all liability and promise not to bring suit against participation in any Around the Bend Friends hike or activity.

I further understand that it is my responsibility to have the proper equipment, including a basic first aid kit, to wear appropriate clothing, including proper footwear for hiking, to provide for my own hydration and nourishment during the course of the hike or other activity, and to carry a specified contact form with appropriate information in the event of emergency.

I also understand that members of the Around the Bend Friends may take photographs, video recordings, and/or audio recordings of this hike or activity that may include images or recordings of myself and that these photographs or recordings may be used on one or more of the group's web sites or other media. I consent to this use and waive any personal claim to their ownership, possession, or use.

Phew! Okay, that's out of the way. We would like to introduce you to this great bunch of club members. (This list is incomplete.)
Note: for E-mail replace (at) with the symbol @

Kay Blackwell

I have coordinated hikes for the Around the Bend Friends since 2009. Along with having knowledge of most of the traditional hikes, I love to explore and create hikes of my own. I can hang with hikers of all levels except those who hang from their fingernails off of walls! I am most at home with hikers at the levels of moderately strenuous but I also enjoy the occasional leisurely day on the trails. I like to keep my stronger groups together by setting stop points along the routes. This way I attempt to know where everyone is at a given time. My hikes include distance trail hikes, moderate scrambles with moderate exposure, and several interesting easier hikes for the leisurely crowd. I am also the blog mistress for the Around the Bend Friends. So, if you join me on any of my hikes, expect to be photographed!

Brian Dodd

England (30 y), Oregon (20 y), Vienna (6 y), Las Vegas (12 y and counting)…but I really started hiking in earnest when we came to LV in 2004. I was introduced to the Valley of Fire and it has been my passion ever since. I love exploring out there, then building hikes that I can share with the club. I also lead hikes for the VoF Park rangers (check their Facebook page). During the VoF off-season, my hiking is largely for training and fitness, so distance trail hikes with elevation gain are favorites. Since few folks like doing these longer hikes (10-20 miles) I’m mostly with 2-3 other friends who like to keep moving. Contact: briandodd (at)

Tony Fountain
I enjoy hiking (my other outdoor passion is sailing) and I especially enjoy introducing young people and adults to the wonders of the outdoor southwest. I've been a member of AtBF since 2011 and started coordinating hikes in 2014. I enjoy a variety of hiking levels from easy to strenuous, but most of the ones I coordinate are easy to moderately strenuous, and include both trail and scrambling. Interpretative pauses along the hikes are welcomed. My hometown is Pittsburgh, PA. Before I retired I worked and lived in 8 states and 10 cities.

Lettie Gutierrez

About 10 years ago, I began hiking again and luckily found AtBF here in Las Vegas. The first 2 years were spent learning the trails and my own comfort level. Retired now, I spend most of my time on the trails. I prefer to coordinate moderate and moderately strenuous hikes either on trails or scrambling hikesI do love to explore off trails and find new hikes, trails and connectors to existing trailsI don't care for exposure at level 3+ so I look for alternate routes. I'll see you on the trails.

Ron and Sandi Hindmarch
We joined the club over twelve years ago. Little did we know that fateful day would change our lives forever here in Las Vegas. We have enjoyed hiking both here in Las Vegas and on many of the out of town trips the club has sponsored. We are relatively new to leading hikes but we felt the need to give back to our hiking club which has given us many new adventures. Many of our hikes are designed to be at a more relaxed and leisurely pace.  
   We are both retired teachers from Western New York. Both of our children moved to Las Vegas. We followed them here and are now permanent residents of Las Vegas. Besides hiking we enjoy golfing, traveling and socializing. The club has provided us many amazing hiking experiences and we have developed many new friendships!

David Morrow
50 years hiking experience in CA, NV, AL, TN, GA, NC and other places. Photography is a major interest. I seek to find good hikes to great locations that do not take superior fitness in order to get there. I hike at a slow pace and take photos and find the shortest and easiest route that I can.

Mike O'Connor

Originally from Delaware, I've called Las Vegas home since 1967. I spent four years in the US Navy, followed by 40 more at the Nevada Test Site, working in nuclear testing and seismology. I retired in 2008. I enjoy challenging hikes with my fellow ABFers, as well as an occasional 'stroll in the park.' Equal emphasis on the workout as well as the camaraderie. Contact me for questions at oconnorx (at) or seven zero two - six three zero - nine zero two four .

Jerry and Cheryl Thomas
Jerry retired to Las Vegas in 2010 and fell in love with the almost unlimited outdoor activities here.  Jerry married Cheryl in 2018 and they hike and climb as a team. We like to coordinate mostly strenuous and moderately strenuous hikes. Most of our hikes involve reaching some kind of summit.  We like to post hikes that haven’t been done before or have been posted infrequently.  See you on the trails!

John Ward

Previously, I was a snowbird that came every winter from Michigan to hike with AtBF. I recently moved to Las Vegas permanently. Last year, they elected me president of the club! I'm easy going and enjoy leading moderate hikes for the club. I try to hike at a pace that allows for conversations and photo ops.

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