Hiking and adventure were not always the deep loves of mine that they are now. Discovering the joys of the outdoors has been more of an adult development. I attribute this to having grown up in Dallas, Texas where there is little else but driving, shopping, and concrete. Instead of an “outdoorsy girl”, I was more of an “urban couch potato”. That completely changed after being enlightened to the joys of nature, exploring, and ultimately moving to Seattle to pursue my passion for clean energy.
After Texas (and getting an undergrad degree in Austin, arguably the best city in TX), I decided to further my education in Germany in public policy with a focus on energy and climate policy. Living in Berlin for four years illuminated some of the alternatives to the highways and heat I was so familiar with back home. The Black Forest, Alps, farmers markets, efficient train systems, and recycling programs all supported my interest in living sustainably and opened the door to a new stage of my life.
But it was after my move to Washington DC when I really grew a love of the outdoors. Our nation’s capital is surrounded by Maryland and Virginia with the Potomac river flowing through it and West Virginia just 90 minutes away. DC offered climbing at Great Falls, biking trails through Rock Creek Park, and plenty of opportunities for sailing and kayaking. And within a few hours is Shenandoah National Park where I was able to access hiking and backpacking trails, see black bears, and enjoy campfires. But this was just the beginning.
In 2014, on a whim, I signed up to join a 5-day guided hike through Glacier National Park through Climate Ride. Climate Ride is a nonprofit which facilitates fundraisers for climate advocacy and organizes hiking and cycling trips across the country. I had never really explored The Wild West and had no idea of what to expect from Montana, so I thought, “Why not include a few more National Parks?” I heard they’re pretty nice.
I started my adventure in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, with a visit to Grand Teton National Park. From there, I made my way to Yellowstone National Park. Next, I joined the Glacier hike with a group ranging from 17-71, hiking 5-15 miles per day. After Glacier, I went to Banff National Park in Alberta, Canada, then all the way West to Vancouver and Whistler, British Columbia. Lastly, I visited Seattle for the first time before flying back East from Portland, Oregon after some time enjoying breweries along the coast.
On this journey, I came within a few feet of an American bison, got stuck in traffic thanks to a family of elk in the middle of the road, saw my first moose, mountain goats, and many chubby marmots. It was my first time seeing smoke from a wildfire, 7,000 year old Glaciers, and some of the bluest alpine lake water I’ve ever seen in Banff. (Seriously, if you haven’t been to Banff, open up another tab right now and start planning a trip… you won’t regret it).
I thought, “Wow, people actually live here, near all of this beauty. This doesn’t have to be only part of a too-short vacation. This could be my life.”
In July 2019, after much deliberation and with tearful goodbyes, I quit my job in international relations at the Department of Energy to pursue a passion dear to my heart: renewable energy (solar energy, woop woop!), and in a city with proximity to every outdoor activity imaginable. Since moving to Seattle, WA, I’ve hiked almost every weekend, swam in lakes, visited breweries and coffee shops, explored biking trails. Yet there’s still so much to do! That’s why I’m drawn to Mappy Hour, and why I wanted to start the first West Coast chapter. The Pacific Northwest is literally surrounded by opportunities for adventure and tons of people who are interested in experiencing it. I’m excited to get to know my new home and meet more people with whom to explore all it has to offer.
MAPPY HOUR SEATTLE LAUNCH DETAILS:
Who: Anyone who loves to walk, hike, kayak, ski, picnic, run, climb, and generally explore the great outdoors.
What: A happy hour with a twist to bring together the local outdoor community. Every month a new speaker will highlight local recreation opportunities. This month, we’ll be lucky enough to hear from Seattle area local Pete Athans, aka Mr. Everest, about his experience mountaineering and guiding in the Himalayas. He’ll also be sharing his favorite local spots, and ideas for hiking and adventure in the PNW. We’ll be gathering at the “campfire” area of the newly revamped North Face Pike Street Store.
When:November 13, 2019, 6:00-8:00PM
520 Pike St., Suite 100
Cost: Free – just bring some guidebooks and maps to share!
For more information and to RSVP please see: