From June 23, 2011 to November 22, 2011, I thru-hiked the ~2,200 miles from Maine to Georgia on the Appalachian Trail with my husband, Sol. It was an unforgettable experience filled with sunsets, bugs, food, beer, and more food. We were hit by two tropical storms (Irene and Lee), followed a few bears, and met a ton of trail angels.
Americorps: Nevada conservation corps
During a gap year between high school and undergrad, I volunteered for a year through AmeriCorps for the Nevada Conservation Corps with my husband, Sol. We lived out of our car, our tent and a pop-top camper for 12 months in three corners of Nevada (Reno-Tahoe area, Lake Mead, and Great Basin National Park). The work involved mostly fence building, road decommissioning, and invasive species removal around southern Nevada, but we also got to do some fun trail work in the Tahoe area and at GBNP!
Trail crew: green mountain club and student conservation association
I spent my summers beginning in high school and through college working on trail crews. If you are not familiar with the concept - it usually involves spending a week living on the side of a mountain, and spending every day (regardless of weather or bugs) building staircases, stepping stones, water bars, turnpikes, and all sorts of other structures to help lessen the impact of erosion on hiking trails.
My first trail crew experience was through an SCA high school summer trail crew at the Humpback Rocks on the Blue Ridge Parkway in Virginia. That was a life-changing experience, because it started my love for working outdoors and it's where I met my husband Sol!
Nearly every summer thereafter, for 5 summers, I worked my way from an intern, to crew member, to crew leader at the Green Mountain Club in Vermont. I clearly can't get enough of this living outside and getting dirty stuff!