Solo Hiking the John Muir Trail: Fear and Moving Forward

words and photos by Karen Looney-Patterson :: Would I be able to hear an approaching cougar? What about a coyote? A bear? Yosemite Valley is renowned for its over-eager bears. What would I do if a bear came after me? My thoughts get interrupted as the muted grey sky breaks open, and rain begins to fall. I'm hiking on a high, dry ridge [...]

Mountains of Mind: Balancing Mental Health Through a Love of Adventure

words by Adrienne Pastula; photo above by Dave McCollum :: Of all the mountain faces to view as ordinary, I never thought I’d count the Matterhorn among them. The Matterhorn in Zermatt, Switzerland is objectively gorgeous. It’s tall and chiseled, continually tempting many into climbing its summit. I frequently caught myself staring at photos of it with a fixation similar to that of [...]

Climbing Gokyo Ri: The Pain and Joy of Himalayan Dreams

words and photos by Meg Atteberry :: The morning sun shines through the teahouse windows as my climbing partner, John, and guide, Krishna, enjoy a hard-earned breakfast. Spirits are soaring after summiting Nepal’s 17,775-foot Gokyo Ri, but my insides feel like they are being processed through a meat grinder. I poke listlessly at my food. With every passing minute, my head pounds harder, [...]

From Sea Level to Kilimanjaro

words by Katrin Meiusi :: Our bus screams to a stop at the end of the winding dirt road lined with tin houses and littered with kids kicking dusty soccer balls. Through the fog, I can make out  the gate marking the beginning of Kilimanjaro National Park. I glance back at my four sisters in the seat behind me. One of them, Elli, [...]

The Acceptance of Failure: Misadventures in Nepal

It was 8 a.m. and my shirt was already saturated.  With nowhere else to go, the sweat flowed down my back and chest, soaking the pads of my pack. I could feel my feet sliding around in the swamp of my boots, my hard-earned calluses sloughing off in the inescapable humidity. I hadn't seen my alleged "hiking partner" in an hour. We’d met a few [...]

Becoming an Ultra-runner: A Journey to 100 Miles

words by Holly Wielkoszewski :: I dragged my body around the course once more, giant blisters burning with each step. My brain was numb from the monotony of the loop course, and every muscle in my body ached, even the spot inside my ears where my headphones rested. I cursed the clouds threatening the desert sky; my race plan hadn’t called for rain [...]

Trekking Patagonia: A Perspective on Becoming a Mother

words and photos by Betsy Dionne :: As my husband and I travel the long Argentinean road toward Puerto Natales, I can’t help but gaze at the mix of cobalt, gold, and the brightest shades of blue imaginable. I’m tired, but the landscape I see through the windows of the double-decker bus I’ve been on for the last 48 hours distracts me from [...]

Roads to the Summit: Approaching the Dilemma of Accessibility

words and photos by Laura Stasi :: I decided to go hiking while sitting in a garage waiting for an oil change. Even though I would be getting a late start (you can’t rush small-town car mechanics), I figured I had enough time to hike the 8.2 miles to the top of nearby Mount Greylock. It was mid-autumn, just past peak foliage, and [...]

Lost in Ashdown Gorge Wilderness: A Case for Staying Present on the Trail

words and photos by April McPherson :: I was lost. I’d hiked several hours into Utah's Ashdown Gorge Wilderness the previous day and, within the first two hours of the second morning, I found myself anxious and alone. I followed the trail and tried to remain confident in my direction, but I soon realized I had lost visibility of the trail. I was [...]

Micro-Adventures in South Dakota

photos and words by Kat Carney; pictured above: Spearfish Falls. Sponsored by South Dakota Tourism :: South Dakota may be one of the last places that comes to mind when talking about outdoor adventure. When my mom and I set out on a three-day tour of South Dakota in the fall, I didn’t know what to expect. It turns out there is plenty of [...]