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 [...]