For the better part of the past 3 years, I’ve spent my life delicately balancing the things I love most: domestic/international travel, hiking, backpacking, and rock climbing. Not only have I been able to accomplish much more in the past few years than I ever thought possible; my passion for life has been reawakened with each and every trip. Some of the highlights include bouldering in the famous Pawtuckaway State Park in New Hampshire, being refreshed by the cool salt air in Acadia National Park, earning a few more chest hairs backpacking during a snow storm in Yosemite national park, refreshing my soul in the freezing mountain streams of the smoky mountains, and spending 3 months traveling in Spain and Morocco while enjoying the delicacies of countries with such a rich history. I firmly believed I would become a ham by the time I left Spain, because I just could not stop myself from entering every butcher I walked by and ordering a few hundred grams of ham. Not to mention that my definition of street market changed drastically when I was walking amidst hundreds of cattle, dodging sheep, goats, and the occasional bull; all being offered for sale in the middle of a remote village off the coast of Morocco. I’ve come face to face with black bears, mountain lions, and fierce backcountry storms- sometimes all in the same week; my passion has truly been to experience the outdoors in a new way each and every time I make a trip.
My most recent escapade involved hiking about 400 miles of the Appalachian trail through Maine and part of New Hampshire, during which I earned myself the trail name ‘Victoria’s Secret’, not because I used their product; rather due to my desire to help. In the middle of the 100 mile wilderness I came upon a sports bra lying in the middle of the trail, I had a good feeling I knew who’s it was; so I stashed it in my pack and kept going on my way. A few days later I returned it to its rightful owner; a few days after that I found another sports bra on the trail. Having gotten used to this by now, I stashed it in my pack; a few days later returned it to a different owner. However, the first girl who’s bra I had returned happened to be with me upon my delivery of the second sports bra, thus earning myself the trail name of ‘Victoria’s Secret’.
Even better than my ridiculous trail name were all of the beautiful mountains, refreshing creeks in which to swim, and the amazing friendships that were formed on the trail. The Appalachian trail presents a great challenge to be undertaken by those who feel called; it’s a time to grow into a better you, find what you’re made of, and experience the mountains in a way few ever will.