Five years ago, my father passed away suddenly after a long battle with illness. He had always been the driving force behind empowering messages; ‘be strong, be courageous, try your hardest, embrace the things that scare you’, etc. In the wake of his passing, I couldn’t help but wonder if I’d really followed his advice. In fact, I really hadn’t at all. I had yet to push the limits of my comfort zone, try hard, or face fear. So, a week later, I signed up for a mountaineering course and purchased an ice axe, crampons, and a textbook about knots and crevasse rescue in hopes of honoring his memory.
Since then, I've found myself seeking more and more time in the wilderness in search of opportunities to grow in these ways. In hopes of sharing the empowering force that I discovered outside, I adopted the budding new Outdoor Recreation program at my college, led hikes, backpacking and climbing trips, and taught skills to students in my spare time.
Moving to Iowa last year, I feared I had left a part of myself behind and my connection with the outdoors would wither away. However, much to my surprise, I stumbled upon mountain biking and quite literally fell head over heels in love with it (learning to ride clipless has involved some pretty dorky crashes). My bike life is just beginning, but I’ve never enjoyed a sport more!