|Admiring the view somewhere outside Anchorage, circa 2006.|
I felt the same way when I saw Mount Rainier for the first time. But I'll never forget how I felt the first time I saw real mountains, big mountains, flying over the Chugach Range in Alaska in 2006.
I was fresh out of college with the opportunity to explore career options with an incredible company as far away from home as I could get without leaving the United States. I flew in to Anchorage mid-June, and was moved to tears by the expanse of peaks, glaciers, and alpenglow out the window of the plane. I remember thinking, "It's just a bunch of snow and rock, why am I crying?" Those emotions were something so special, something I now have a deeper understanding of.
Generally, life's been pretty phenomenal, and I've been so fortunate to have been able to see places like Alaska, Olympic National Park, Bryce Canyon, Zion, and many others. I certainly have many, many people to thank for those opportunities, including those within the company I work for. But it's these opportunities that have allowed me to explore who I am, what my passions are, and what I truly care about.
Turns out I care about a lot of things! But among those at the top of the list are making sure my generation, the next generation, and everyone else have the chance to have outdoor experiences that help them understand how special our planet truly is. Or at least have the choice whether or not to have those experiences. I believe we'd all be a little happier, healthier, and the world would be a better place if we all understood and spent quality time with Mother Nature.
So after much debate within myself and encouragement from friends, I've signed up to climb Mount Rainier on an all-woman's team in August 2010 with Summit for Someone. The climbing series, sponsored by Backpacker Magazine, lets people like me raise funds to help provide a life-changing wilderness experience to the teens who need it most through Big City Mountaineers. These kids wouldn't have the opportunity to experience the wonder of the wilderness otherwise, something I can't imagine.
I made the decision to do this not only because it will be an incredible personal challenge for me, but because it's for a cause I think is extremely important. Stay tuned for training trip reports, what I'm assuming will be trials and tribulations with respect to trip preparation, and hopefully, a "we made it!" post sometime around the end of the summer!