My love for the outdoors was instilled into my core from a very young age. My parents never skipped a beat when it came to integrating me in the outdoor lifestyle. Whether it was camping, canoeing, skiing, or hiking (even as a little baby in the backpack), my parents made sure I was able to experience as much as I could. However, growing up in Chicago made it difficult for me to fully appreciate the outdoors, although my weekends were always filled to adventures in Wisconsin and Michigan. Around the time I was 11, my parents knew it was time to move out to the Pacific Northwest. My world view shifted, but I still wasn't fully immersed in the outdoor lifestyle.
After moving back to the area when I had finished college I would go on a couple different hikes, to eventually branching out to backpacking. I think my own individual passion and Wildway of Life came the first time I felt like I couldn't complete a hike, everything hurt and the path in front of me felt impossible, I wanted to quit many times. As I reached the top, I felt a sense of accomplishment that I had never felt before. It sounds cliché, but I almost feel like my overall perspective changed the more I was able to accomplish these challenging hikes. Suddenly, I realized I could take these same mindsets and apply them to challenges I was facing in my day to day life.
Recently, I have been getting more involved in the outdoor community, and have been overwhelmed by the amount of support and respect these people have for each-other, as well as for protection of our lands. I look up to so many women conquering challenges in the outdoors, that sometimes I feel like I don't belong. I am definitely not the most accomplished 'outdoorsy' person, but when people tell me that they look up to me, I am absolutely flabbergasted and honored. All I ever wanted to do was share my love of the outdoors, adventures, and my Wildway of Life. So many of these people make me feel at home and like I belong in this community.
I'm still not sure where I'm going in life, but as long as there are mountains involved, I know I'll be ok.