In my lifetime, I’ve used many different titles to describe myself: research scientist, trail runner, storyteller, backcountry skier, student, climber, adventurer, friend, mountain biker, violinist, etc. The title I value the very most in my life is mother.
Growing up at the base of the Wasatch mountain range in Utah, spending time outdoors was an important part of my childhood. As I grew older I forgot about the little girl exploring trails, climbing trees, and catching frogs. I traded converse sneakers in for high heels. I lost an important part of myself. In my mid-twenties I began to feel the pull of the desert. I learned to become wild again. Climbing, mountain biking, skiing and exploring took up all of my free time when I wasn’t working in the research lab. Spending time outside helps me keep perspective of the most important elements in my life.
During my pregnancy I decided to continue this lifestyle. After consulting with my doctor I continued climbing, biking, hiking and skiing throughout my pregnancy (backcountry skiing a few days before my son was born, and trail running a few hours before going into labor).
On our first hike together, when Huck was four days old, I remember watching his facial features become animated as his senses were stimulated. Being outside was natural for him. Since then he has come backcountry skiing in Utah and Alaska, camped in the desert, explored slot canyons, bagged peaks in the Wasatch, biked past herds of buffalo on Antelope Island, backpacked on the Pacific Crest Trail to a hut through the snow, and spent many lazy afternoons splashing in streams and picking wildflowers.
When I’m outside I feel like I’m a better version of mother I want to be—more kind, more patient, more playful, more brave and a little more wise. Huck gets dirty, runs wild, sits still for long periods of time curiously studying bugs and plants, and pushes boundaries challenging himself. He pushes boundaries challenging me too.