Mirna Valerio is a native of Brooklyn, NY, a former educator, cross-country coach, ultramarathoner, and author of the bestselling memoir, A Beautiful Work in Progress. Although she began running in high school, she recommitted to the sport after a health scare in 2008 and started her blog Fatgirlrunning—about her experiences as a larger woman in a world of thinner endurance athletes— while training for her first marathon. Mirna's athletic story was featured in the WSJ, Runner’s World, on NBC Nightly News, CNN, and in the viral REI-produced documentary short, The Mirnavator. Her writing has been featured in Women’s Running Magazine, Self Magazine Online, Outside Online, and Runner's World Magazine. In 2018 she was chosen as a National Geographic Adventurer of the Year, and most recently appeared the Kelly Clarkson Show.
Angel Mathis is the Lead Adventure Instigator of Boldly Went, a traveling adventure storytelling live show and weekly podcast that’s been downloaded more than 100,000 times. She loves creating inclusive spaces that provide equal access for outdoorists of all kinds to tell their most inspiring, intriguing, and impactful adventure stories.
Angel is an accomplished adventurer herself, running across Spain on the el Camino de Santiago, running the Cascade Crest 100 miler, then getting so inspired to quit her full-time job as a Nurse Practitioner to go live outside for 5 months and hike the Pacific Crest Trail. That led to hundreds of other tiny and big life choices that have made her discover that it is possible to make adventure a lifestyle. She wants other people to feel empowered to find their inner dirtbag too, which is why she and her husband worked together to publish the book, The Dirtbag’s Guide to Life: Eternal Truth for Hiker Trash, Ski Bums, and Vagabonds.
Charlotte Austin is an award-winning adventure writer and mountain guide living in Seattle, Washington. She works for International Mountain Guides, where she leads climbing, mountaineering, and hiking expeditions around the world. She has guided some of the world's biggest mountains, and works in places including North and South America, Europe, Alaska, Patagonia, and Nepal. She is a Wilderness-EMT, a Leave No Trace (LNT) Trainer, and holds Level 2 certification with the American Institute for Avalanche Education and Training (AIARE). She recently became an extra class ham radio operator.
She has written for Outside Magazine, The Washington Post, The New York Times, National Geographic, and many more national and international print and online publications. She summited Mount Everest on May 22nd, 2019.
BACKPACKING BASICS (SATURDAY & SUNDAY): BRENDA GORDON
Brenda has been teaching ninth grade science for 21 years after obtaining a Master’s Degree in Wildlife Ecology from the University of New Hampshire. After school, on weekends, and during the summer she likes to climb peaks. So far this year, she has summited 50 peaks. Also, during the summer, she likes to climb mountains around the world. The highest mountain she climbed was 26,906 foot high ChoOyu, in the Himalayas. She recently returned from a climbing trip in Mongolia.
Brenda has been climbing since the late nineties, when she and her husband found themselves in a precarious position on rocks on the way to a local peak. They took the Mountaineers Basics Climbing Course to learn more about hiking and climbing. Over the years following, Brenda completed a Wilderness First Responder course, an AIARE avalanche course, and multiple extended mountain skill seminars with International Mountain Guides. She has been frolicking in the wilds with Anastasia for over 10 years. Brenda also enjoys weight lifting, mountain biking and scuba diving.
BACKPACKING BASICS (SATURDAY): ANASTASIA ALLISON
Anastasia Allison is a former park ranger and police officer turned full-time entrepreneur after a near fatal car accident became the catalyst for her to pursue her dream of living an adventure-inspired life. A life long classically trained violinist, Anastasia is the violinist for a nationally acclaimed duo called The Musical Mountaineers. Together with her partner Rose Freeman, they carry a violin and a piano (keyboard) into the backcountry for unannounced sunrise concerts.
Inspired by her obsession for the wilderness and her passion for Leave No Trace ethics, Anastasia is also the inventor and founder of a company called Kula Cloth™, which is the very first of its kind - an antimicrobial pee cloth for anybody who squats when they pee. Since the company launched in July 2018, Kula Cloths™ have been shipped to every state and all over the world. The Kula Cloth™ has been featured by Backpacker Magazine, Outside Magazine, The Dyrt, Treehugger.com, Adventure Journal, the She Explores Podcast, and by the Washington Trails Association Magazine.
In addition to her career as an entrepreneur, Anastasia is also a Wilderness First Responder and has been a volunteer backpacking instructor with Washington Outdoor Women for nearly 10 years. She is the Seattle Trail Scout and Gear Tester for Backpacker Magazine, and she hosts the Inspired Adventurepreneur Podcast on iTunes. Anastasia also has a private coaching practice for aspiring adventurepreneurs and runs a group coaching program called 'Stuck to Summit'. She lives near Seattle with her husband Aaron, who plays the ukulele, and their two cats, Niko and Cinder. When they aren't performing music together, they try to spend as much time as possible in the backcountry in a tent.
Raechel is a climate activist, trail runner and meditation practitioner from the Methow Valley. Raechel has over 8 years of Vipassana meditation experience and primarily practices in Sayadaw U Tejaniya's style of natural awareness practice. She has trained under Jack Kornfield, Tara Brach, Keri Pederson, Shelly Graff, and Alexis Santos.
In her free time, she enjoys trail running with her two dogs, backpacking in the cascades
and growing and processing food from her garden.
Autumn is a Seattle-based professional photographer specializing in outdoor lifestyle, landscape, and travel photography. With over 10 years of experience in the industry, she hosts photography workshops around the world aiming to help others learn more about photography, their cameras, and how to capture those perfect moments.
As passionate about the seas as she is the skies, Autumn strives to use her camera to showcase the fragile beauty of our world. Driven by her adoration of nature, she is focused on preservation efforts and inspiring others to join the cause. She can often be found trekking in search of the most photogenic locations and raising awareness about our changing ecosystem.
She partners with companies worldwide to bring ideas to life through visual storytelling. She has won several awards for her work, and has been published internationally
both digitally and in print.
Wendi Barker has been studying the martial arts for 21 years. She is a fifth-degree black belt in Uechi-ryu karate and has run her own karate school, Tiger Marshall Arts, on Whidbey Island for the last 14 years. She was awarded the Ruby Award from the Soroptimist of Washington, for the multiple women’s self-defense seminars that she has run for them. She also taught a self-defense class for them for three years at their Island Girls Camp. A mother, grandmother and artist she loves sharing her passion of empowering women to be the best they can be!
Chelsey Schultz has been practicing Uechi-Ryu Karate with Sensei Wendi Barker of Tiger Martial Arts since she was 14-years-old, and has recently achieved her 3rd-degree black belt. Upon graduating university, Chelsey became a nomad. She lived in Asia for over a year and has been to 23 different countries in the past three years. Chelsey has taken her love of self-defense on the road with her by practicing different martial arts in her travels and creating a travel safety blog called The Ninja Gypsy. Currently, she works as a travel writer. She published her first travel book called 'Inspired: The Stories of Nine Solo Female Travelers' last year.
Anyone who spends time in the outdoors alongside Tracie knows her story and experiences are best retold by the friends who have shared in those moments that have become part of their story, and return to do it again.
A few of the organizations Tracie has shared her time and talents with include:
Professional Ski Instructors of America, Special Olympics North America, National Outdoor Leadership School Wilderness Medicine, American Alpine Institute, Pacific Crest Trail Association, Washington Trail Association, US Forest Service
Beth Baker hated running & it took her a year to train for a 5k. Then she was hooked, and started helping friends start running & created Running Evolution 13 years ago. Since then she has made over 2000 new runners. She launched Coach Running Evolution Certification to train people to coach new runners. These days she travels the world to help runners get into the sport on retreats and clinics. She also loves music and beer.
Do you sometimes feel like you are just, ‘going through the motions’? Does it seem like every week is just a means to an end? This workshop is designed for anybody who is looking for ‘more’ in life, but isn’t sure exactly where to start, or somebody who knows where they want to go, but is feeling unsure of the steps to make it happen. Maybe you have vague ideas of what you want your life to look like - but there are so many ‘unknowns’ and ‘don’t know hows’ getting in your way… In this workshop we will begin to learn the art of deliberately creating your own life. Through tangible steps and a pragmatic process, you will learn the way to start allowing (not forcing) your life to fall into place. It’s time to stop living life on auto-pilot and time to start thriving.
Claire is a painter and writer exploring how art can forge connections between people, place, and science. Her work is grounded in firsthand outdoor experiences and painting outside on-site during hiking, backpacking, and climbing trips. In her workshops Claire strives to share how the fun, versatile, and unpredictable nature of watercolor can be a tool for capturing both how a place looks as well as how it feels to experience it.
Her work has been featured in Alpinist magazine, by the REI Journal and Force of Nature publication, Stay Wild Magazine, She Explores, and the Waymaking anthology of women’s stories. In addition to commercial work for local outdoor companies like REI, Claire collaborates with scientists to blend art and data and was recently an artist in residence at the HJ Andrews Experimental Forest.
You are most likely to find Claire perched beside a trail or in her studio, a paintbrush in one hand and a chocolate bar in the other. To learn more about her work check out her website at www.claireswanderings.com and her Instagram at www.instagram.com/claireswanderings.
Callie is the Assistant District Wildlife Biologist for Skagit and Whatcom counties with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife and has been with the agency since October 2018. Callie received her Bachelor’s Degree in Ecological Restoration from Trent University, Ontario in 2012, and then spent the next few years working seasonal jobs in a variety of natural resource disciplines (habitat restoration, fisheries monitoring, and avian research) all over North America. Three of those years were spent working in Alaska on the picturesque Yukon-Delta National Wildlife Refuge where she focused on waterfowl research and monitoring projects. Callie returned to school in 2016 and has been working towards completion of her Master’s Degree in Wildlife Ecology & Management at the University of Arkansas at Monticello. When she’s not at work, you can find Callie camping, hiking, cycling, or garage sailing with her partner Jacob, alone in the garden gardening, or spending time with her dog Mollie.
I have been a critical care RN since 2009 and managed to make my way from Austin, Texas to Seattle in 2013 after various travel nurse assignments. I immediately fell in love with Washington, more specifically the mountains. All my free time outside of work was spent exploring the outdoors and I quickly became interested in wilderness medicine. I took multiple courses on remote medicine for the advanced provider and it wasn’t long afterwards that my two passions collided. I started working medevac as a Critical Care Flight Nurse for Airlift Northwest. I have the wonderful opportunity of working closely with Firefighters, Search and Rescue, Park Rangers, Medics and Police to provide critical care both on scene and on inter-facility medevac transports. We also provide frequent training and educational opportunities for the community regarding a wide range of medical topics including wilderness first aid and survival skills.
I currently live in Seattle with my husband but recently have spent most our time outdoors prepping for our honeymoon. We recently eloped on a backpacking trip in the mountains and will be spending our honeymoon trail running Tour du Mont Blanc in the Alps!
Rose Freeman delights in the timeless art of music both as a Nationally Certified Teacher of Music and as the pianist of The Musical Mountaineers. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Piano Pedagogy from Whitworth University and has taught piano for the last ten years. She is an active member of Washington State Music Teachers Association, Snohomish County Music Teachers Association Chapter President, WSMTA Certification Chair, member of the Everett Mountaineers, and pianist of The Musical Mountaineers.
Rose embraces the opportunity to teach the art of piano music to 40 students from her home studio in Bothell. Her goal is to equip her students to practice productively with healthy technique, perform confidently, explore creative expression, develop a rounded musical education, and express their unique voice in the timeless language of music. Rose accompanied her husband, Tyler Freeman, through his masters degree in vocal performance at Eastern University and discovered the joy of being a collaborative pianist.
Last year, Rose embarked on a new adventure to carry her Yamaha keyboard to the summit of local peaks such as Granite Mountain, Mount Dickerman, and Mailbox Peak to perform concerts at sunrise with Anastasia Allison. Her least favorite part of musical mountaineering is when the music blows away!
Anastasia Allison, violin, and Rose Freeman, piano, met in 2017 through a serendipitous series of events that began with Anastasia almost dying in a car accident and Rose moving back to the Seattle area. After her accident, Anastasia had a vision that she needed to play her violin on the summit of a mountain. Rose had been drawing sketches of pianos in the mountains for most of her life. Unaware of their soon-to-be-magical friendship, Anastasia hosted an Instagram contest to give away a book about hiking. Rose was the only person who entered to win! They quickly discovered their mutual love of music and the mountains and hatched a plan to make their dream a reality.
Anastasia and Rose never intended to 'become' The Musical Mountaineers - instead, the duo was born organically when they began sharing their simple videos of their unannounced sunrise serenades. Since their first concert, The Musical Mountaineers have been featured both locally and nationally and have performed at Benaroya Hall for the Washington National Park Fund Benefit Concert. They are excitedly looking forward to performing at the WNPF Concert again on October 23, 2019.
“When we climb mountains with our instruments, we transcend the fears and excuses and put our mission first: to bring more good into the world, to inspire others to follow their heart and blaze their own trail. Everybody can find their own version of performing music on a mountain - what would that look like if we each brought our own unique gift into the world? How beautiful could that be?” -Anastasia Allison
Sharon Lacey has had more adventures in the past fourteen years than most people experience in a lifetime. A former national award winning teacher, Sharon is now an internationally touring comedian performing all across the USA and Canada; she’s been to Iraq twice to entertain our troops; and has performed in Belize, and New Zealand. She also performs for Ugandan audiences in two of their tribal languages.
You’ve seen her on the Disney Channel, ABC, Lifetime, and A&E. Sharon’s an alumnus of the San Francisco and Seattle Comedy Competitions, the Bay Area Black Comedy Competition, Bridgetown Comedy Festival, NW Women’s Comedy Festival, finalist in Seattle’s Got Funny Competition, runner up in Portland’s Rose City Talent Contest, and a finalist in the A.M. Northwest Comedy Competition and the Shades of Laughs Urban Comedy Competition.
Her debut book, A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO DEMENTIA: A Stand Up Comedian’s Race Against Time was released to rave reviews.
Lindsey Ganahl is an adventure photographer who specializes in outdoor events, lifestyle, and adventure elopements. She is a proud native of the Pacific Northwest and grew up hiking, camping, and backpacking in Washington’s National Parks. Prior to working as a full time photographer, Lindsey spent 10 years producing content and telling stories for large outdoor retailers like Eddie Bauer and most recently Helly Hansen, where she worked out of Oslo, Norway. Lindsey has visited 26 countries, traveling and photographing. A founding member of the “Nature First Photography Alliance” and official photography partner for Washington’s National Parks Fund, Lindsey is a committed steward to the preservation of public lands. When she's not shooting for her many corporate and personal clients, Lindsey can be found sailing, skiing, rock climbing, or attempting “Turns All Year” in a tutu on Washington’s volcanos.
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