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Explorer Spotlight: Breanne McNitt

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Name: Breanne McNittAge: 21 | Location: Arizona

What’s your day job? 

I am still a college student-- but I graduate in May... wohoo! Right now I'm finishing up my teaching degree, so during the day I'm a full time student teacher at a middle school. Student teaching is rewarding and a lot of work, but I don't get paid for it, so a few times a week I work at the Phoenix Rock Gym, where I've been working for the past year.

What are your favorite things to do outside?

I'm down for any outdoor adventure, but my top two would be rock climbing and backpacking.  Both of these activities take me places off the beaten path and away from the crowds, allowing me to experience the solitude of nature.

What first drew you to the outdoors?

Back in 2002 (when I was 7 years old), my family drove out west from Michigan for the first time.  On this trip we went to Lake Powell and the South Rim of the Grand Canyon.  This trip was the start of my family's yearly road trip out west and also the start of me falling in love with the west and its endless possibilities for outdoor adventures.

What’s your favorite hometown adventure? ...and, almost as important, where’s your favorite spot to get a beer after?

Since right now I consider my hometown Tempe, Arizona, I'd have to say my favorite adventure is ANY of the trails in the Superstitions, especially during the winter/ spring time.  The Superstition Wilderness is full of unique rock formations and miles upon miles of back country trails.  It's only an hour from my house and is perfect for anything from a short day hike, to a few days of backpacking.  After spending a day in the Superstitions, my friends and I always hit up Boulders on Broadway for a great selection of beers and the best pizza in Arizona (in my opinion).

What’s your essential gear that never gets left at home?

No matter the adventure, I make sure to bring a camera with me. Whether it be my iPhone, gopro, or DSLR camera, I always have at least one in my pack. I also always pack my hat (I get burnt very easily) and throw some sandals in the car (because there is no better feeling than taking off your hiking boots after a long day on the trail).

What’s your favorite trail snack?

Dried mangos are my go to trail snack.  Mangos are my favorite food, and having them in a dried, portable form is just the perfect delectable treat to top off any adventure.

Any go-to soundtracks when you’re hitting the road?

No full sound tracks come to mind, but as long as I can jam out and sing to a song with my windows down, you can bet that I'll be playing it while I'm on the road. Three of my current good-vibe songs are Break My Stride by Matthew Wilder, Hey Ya! by The Outcast, and Wish I Knew You by The Revivalists.

What’s the scariest thing that’s ever happened while you were adventuring? And/ or funniest? 

Hear is a short summary about my scariest adventure.
When we started into the slot canyon, the sky was cloudless and the weather was perfect.  After a 300 foot rappel and a few hundred feet of walking through a shoulder wide slot canyon, we started to feel rain drops.  I was at the front of the group, and I remember my mom yelling up to me, "Breanne was that rain?" followed by, "Can you see the end of this slot section?"  Luckily just as she said this I saw a break in the winding slot and could tell that there was a lot of light straight ahead.  Moving faster, I made my way to out of the slot and into a slightly wider section of the canyon.  Soon the rest of the group joined me and we scrambled up the side to a ledge about 15 feet off the floor of the canyon.  Not five minutes after we were all on this ledge, a flash flood came ripping through the section of the canyon we'd just been in.  We got really lucky.  Had our group moved any slower or faster, we would have either not made it to the one escape spot in time or had been too far down the canyon with no other escape possible.

Who’s your number one adventure partner-in-crime? Who inspires you?

My go-to adventure partner and best friend is Dakota Snider.  He is also one of my biggest inspiration.  Being around someone with a contagious stoke for life and never ending smile makes every day and crazy adventure just that much more memorable.

What are your top destinations for adventure travel?

If I had to narrow my top travel destinations down to a top three I'd have to pick IcelandSwiss Alps, and Thailand .

What's on the top of your must-do adventure list right now?

One of the items at the top of my adventure bucket list is going to Val Bragaglia and climbing a few of the 20+ pitch 5.fun routes.  Another item on the list is to hike the entire John Muir Trail in California. And the last adventure must-do I will mention is buying a one-way ticket back to New Zealand, buying or renting a van, and spending at least a few months exploring the South Island more.

Show us your most memorable photo, and tell us about it!

I took this photo while studying abroad in New Zealand. While there I solo-hiked the Tongariro Crossing and summited Mount Ngauruhoe (an active volcano). After going up and down the hot, loose rock to the summit of Mount Ngauruhoe, the trail took me past a few sulfur pools, which were this unreal shade of green and with the bright blue sky and cotton candy-esque clouds, presented me with the perfect image. To this day I still can't believe the colors in the photo are real and unedited, and every time I look at this image, I'm taken back to my first solo-hike and the incredible landscapes of New Zealand.

And last but not least…What’s your personal motto?

Life is a one time offer, use it well.

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

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