As a child, my parents let my sister and I explore the lush, verdant hills and backwoods of the Pacific Northwest, encouraging our curiosity as we bounced around building forts and letting our imaginations run wild. My adult life is not very different and I’m prone to spending all of my spare time and money, bright-eyed and wild in the outdoors
I have been incredibly lucky to have the opportunity to travel the world. Each trip has left an indelible mark on my soul and I’m thankful for all of the experiences and places I have been. In the past few years, I have spent most of my time exploring my own backyard–hiking, climbing, backpacking, scrambling and mountaineering. There are some places you can only see if you’re willing to walk or climb to them and believe me, I’m willing. I have logged around 1500 miles in the past three years alone and my only regret is not having more time to do what I love!
The sheer, raw beauty of our wild spaces is breathtaking. I have been stopped in my tracks by the play of light across a distant ridge or the fiery display of the setting sun. I have tiptoed through fields of wildflowers, playing an adult version of “Hot Lava” in order to prevent myself from crushing any of their delicate blooms. I have swam in alpine lakes until my lips turned blue, peeled back over an omnipresent and irrepressible grin of delight. I have watched baby goats frolic over weathered granite, howled at the rising blood moon just for giggles and danced under the northern lights.
I have done all of this with the best of friends and been transformed by each experience. Sharing the trail with others builds bonds swiftly. Each adventure is uniquely challenging and there are times where your partners literally hold your life in their hands and vice versa. Trailchat inevitably runs the gamut from lighthearted banter to more soul-baring topics, allowing each person a deeper look into the other. Unexpected challenges force collaboration, innovation, and the mutual respect that comes from overcoming an obstacle together. Laughter and shrieks of pure joy abound. This human connection is shared across travel experiences and makes each moment that much more special. I’m lucky to be surrounded by those who share my love for the wild and wouldn’t have it any other way.
If I can offer any advice to Dame Travelers out there looking to break into the outdoors, it would be these three things: be safe, practice good ethics, and know that you are capable. As with anything else, outdoor endeavors require a requisite amount of knowledge and skills and you should never undertake something that you aren’t prepared for. Take the time to do your research, take a few classes, and then get after it! Practice good ethics. Many of these spaces are delicate and require extra care and attention to preserve them for generations to come. Spend some time learning how to Leave No Trace, tread softly, and leave each space a little better than you found it. Know that you are capable. It’s easy to look at the adventures of another and think “that’s well and good but surely I could never do that.” Let go of that notion. Sure, you might have to put in a little work to prepare but with some time and determination, you will get there. I believe in you and hope that someday I will meet you on the trail, wherever our paths may take us!