"LEVO OCULOS MEOS IN MONTES"
"I lift my eyes to the mountains" - UNC Asheville's Motto
Growing up in the Blue Ridge Mountains, you'd think that I'd know Appalachia like the back of my hand. Unfortunately, it's one of those things that I didn't realize how wonderful it is until I was gone. My parents took me on hiking and camping trips, and I went out with my friends on weekends in the warmer weather days. I didn't find backpacking until I was in college, and it has stolen my heart. I like the challenge of carrying everything that you need for days at a time; it's an act of radical self-reliance. I love turning off all of the electronics (besides the camera...) and breathing ridiculously fresh air. It is a spectacular relief from the hustle and bustle of New York City.
I am a member of the New York-North Jersey Appalachian Mountain Club, and currently the Conservation Committee Chair. As Chair, I hosted post card parties to write to elected officials, facilitated Leave No Trace Awareness workshops, and organized a conservation speaker for the Member Speakers Series. After attending the Chapter's Leadership Training Weekend of Fall 2016, I've since facilitated at the summer Leadership Training Weekend in 2017 and was lucky enough to be the Leadership Training Weekend Lead Facilitator for May 2018.
I completed an Instructor Development Course with Outward Bound in May 2017. I got hands-on learning about leading backpacking, mountaineering, rock climbing, and white water rafting trips in Oregon (Deschutes River, Smith Rock State Park, Central Cascades). I also earned my Wilderness First Responder (WFR) certification. Last summer I was learning how to use a baby-backpack on neighborhood trails with my niece, and look forward to leading more backpacking trips (likely with no babies) this summer.
A long-term goal is to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail - a commitment of 6 months and 2,190 miles to one major trail. While I haven't quite picked a year for this, I'm always saving up for any extra gear I'll need, funds to set up auto-pay for my college loan and phone bill, and all the food I will need to consume during the trip. Not to forget: Extra cash for blissful stops in little towns with bed and breakfast joints to enjoy the glory of a real mattress and a hot shower.