From my earliest days as a bonafide tomboy, I have enjoyed a connection with the natural world. Much of my twenties was spent hiking, climbing and ice climbing on the Appalachian Trail, in the Gunks of New York state, out west in the Sierras, Colorado, and in Wyoming’s Wind River Range. I climbed and ice climbed in North Conway NH and the Adirondacks, hiked the Inca Trail in Peru, and did a winter mountaineering course with Dartmouth Outward Bound School. I also worked as an instructor at The Wilderness School, an outward bound adaptive program in Connecticut. It was these experiences that inspired me to take my first EMT and Wilderness First Responder courses during college, and in turn later inspired me to eventually attend medical school and become an emergency physician.
Through the busy years of medical school, residency, raising three children and serving in the Air Force, I always returned to my passion. I was lucky to be the island doctor for the Hurricane Island Outward Bound School for several summers. Moving to New Hampshire in 1999 put all of the White Mountains at my doorstep, where I have hiked year-round. I joined the Northern New England Metropolitan Medical Rescue Service, a FEMA sponsored emergency response team, and continue to be active with this great group of volunteer responders. The military sponsored search and rescue training they offer is first rate, such as the winter SERE course in northern Maine which I was privileged to attend.
Since climbing Kilimanjaro in 2013, I have been active with hiking in Patagonia in 2014, and hiking the Camino de Santiago in northern Spain in October of 2016. I continue to enjoy hiking the 4,000 footers of the White Mountain National Forest regularly.
2013 was my first climb up Mount Kilimanjaro with the Reach for the Peaks expedition. The Machame route which we ascended is a eight-day climb which takes you through five distinct climate zones, is home to many rare species, and is one of the most beautiful places I have ever been. Arriving at the summit as the sun rises to reveal the world spread below, so high that the curvature of the earth is apparent, is an indescribable experience. And because we hike for an important cause, reaching for the peaks to raise funds for the Norris Cotton Cancer Center patients and in honor of our loved ones, this experience combines two major drivers of my life; helping others and connecting to the natural world. I am incredibly excited to climb again this year.