As far back as I can remember, I have been drawn to the outdoors. From surfing to summits, every element fulfills my heart in a way that nothing else does. My adventures have made me a better wife, mother, daughter and overall person, it fuels my fire.
I first discovered Wilderness Athlete when I was training for an ultra marathon in the Sierra’s. I was looking for products specific for my very active lifestyle. I am many things; a wife, mother of two, ultra runner, ice climber, hunter, mountaineer, paddler, welder, taxidermist and dirt bike rider. All of these roles require me to be mentally and physically on top of my game, and Wilderness Athlete has helped me do just that.
I have been using WA products since 2014, and they are now apart of my “essentials” checklist. Products aside, the WA team has not only supported my outdoor dreams, but also my dream of becoming a mother. My adventures may have altered into chasing kids around some days, but when I do reach those summits now, they are so much more rewarding than before. I not only have a new respect for my body after bearing children, but I know I have little eyes looking up to me and they love hearing of “mama’s adventures”. I love sharing my adventures with them, and I’d love to share a few with you as well.
I must start off these stories with a short “preface”. I have erbs palsy of the right shoulder, which in short means, I am partially paralyzed. I have had an injured shoulder since birth, and I cannot raise my right hand any higher than my forehead. Many of my adventures have had many obstacles that most people do not encounter due to my injury. When I competed in MMA, I had to hide this injury well, and ice climbing has been challenging breaking ice with my ice tool. Challenging? Absolutely. Impossible? Not at all. I have summited, finished, and won every single challenge I have faced.
One of my favorite stories is the first time I climbed and summited Mount Rainier. I have been blessed to be surrounded by so many elite athletes in my life, and Craig Pope is one of them. We decided to be a two man team and summit together. We began our ascent for the summit of Rainier around midnight from camp Sherman, it’s much safer to climb at night since you want the snow to be hard when crossing ice bridges and avoid post holing as much as possible. Midnight is of course very dark, and all you can see is a few yards in front of you and other climbers headlamps. All else is complete darkness. We made it to the summit a little after 6am, and reaching this summit was quite an accomplishment for me, a very special summit. My grandfather attempted Rainier twice with one lung, but never made it to the summit. This day, I was able to spread his ashes and my brothers ashes up there, which was amazing beyond words. The descent was a very different experience, this is where the whole climb becomes surreal, and you can see all that you’ve climbed passed. Crevasses the size of football fields, ice bridges, and more mountains than you can count. It’s overwhelming and such an amazing experience.
Another of my favorites is harvesting my very first bear.
After harvesting my first deer, it made me want to experience a bear hunt. I told my husband (boyfriend at the time) I was ready to harvest a bear, and I think he fell in love with me right then and there. My husband Josh and his twin brother Ryan have a special bear spot that only they know of. It was my first time up there in early August and it was a very warm day to say the least. We were glassing one area for a few hours, we could hear something moving in the timber below.
Well, enough time passes, it’s time for me to go to the bathroom. Of course, during this 30 second time frame my pants are down, my husband whispers excitedly “bear…. bear!”. I pull up my pants and slowly approach the ledge… slowly getting lower and lower until I’m laying on my stomach with my rifle ready to go. I see the giant black bear walking across a large dead tree, and at this point… I am PUMPED. I breath, trying to remember all I’ve learned about where to aim and trying to keep myself calm. I feel shaky, excited, nervous… my adrenaline is out of control at this point. I am now confident with my crosshair placement on the bears body and I decide to take one last breath. Josh is telling me to take my time and make sure I take a good shot, I had all the time in the world. Finger on the trigger, I’m ready… “BOOM!!”.
You could hear the bullet penetrate the bear, he flew into the air and took off into the timber. We waited for an hour or so before heading down to see what happened. We began our hike down into the timber to search for a wounded and most likely aggressive bear (if it’s still alive). My husband tells me to stay put right outside the tree line while he looks around. A few minutes later I hear “YOU GOT HIM!!”, and I’ve never been so excited!! Josh couldn’t take me to him fast enough… but once I saw him, I was in awe. What a beautiful and massive sow! I was so thankful for that harvest, it was such an incredible experience and that sow fed our family for many months. She is mounted on our wall, and to our son… that bear is “his bear”.
A few months after this harvest, my husband (then boyfriend) took me back to the spot I shot my bear and proposed to me. He had cut open a shotgun shell, and put the ring inside and opened the box of shells when he asked. It was PERFECT.
These stories are some of my favorite, maybe not my most exciting, but definitely some of the most meaningful. Wilderness Athlete has been a large part of every adventure and I can’t wait for all the future adventures with them. I want to thank them for all that they do for my family, and all the summits that they help me reach.
Thank you Wilderness Athlete family!