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Explorer Spotlight: Brynn Schmidt

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Name: Brynn Schmidt | Age: Doesn't matter for adventure! | Location: Boulder, CO.

What’s your day job?
My husband and I founded a non-profit organization in 2010 that serves people in Gabon and Democratic Republic of Congo, Africa. I oversee communication and operations for our organization on a volunteer basis and have served with our partner programs on trips to Africa.

What are your favorite things to do outside?
Hike, camp, nature/wildlife photography, ski, snowshoe, swim.

What first drew you to the outdoors?
I grew up in Newport Beach, CA and our family had a small cottage at Crystal Cove Beach State Park when I was growing up. My grandma had one too and she spent hours with me at the tide-pools, taught me to love and care for nature and I also spent hours in the ocean growing up. I also learned to ski at Badger Pass in Yosemite and have early memories of the valley in winter.

What’s your favorite hometown adventure? ...and, almost as important, where’s your favorite spot to get a beer after?
Hiking anywhere in Rocky Mountain National Park. It is only 45 minutes from my house. However, I have had 4 knee surgeries due to a ski accident from when I was a ski bum in Vail after college and I cannot do really intense hikes anymore. My favorite spot for a beer after is at Oskar Blues Brewery in Lyons, CO. They brew awesome beer and have really good food too. We always stop there after our adventures – year round.

What’s your essential gear that never gets left at home?
My camera. I love to take photos of everything.

What’s your favorite trail snack?
Trail Mix and Pro Bar Meal bars.

Any go-to soundtracks when you’re hitting the road?
Huge variety of music when I hit the road – Bruce Springsteen, Eddie Vedder, The Killers, Michael Franti, Brett Dennen – depends on my mood. I don’t listen to anything when I am out adventuring though – just nature.

What’s the scariest thing that’s ever happened while you were adventuring? And/ or funniest?
Our family was at Fishercap Lake in Glacier National Park when our boys were pretty young and we were photographing moose. A cow and her male yearling were at the edge of the lake and we were a good 50 yards away across this shallow lake. We saw a large bull moose come out of the willows and head toward the cow. She ran between her yearling and the bull and instantly the bull started chasing her right toward us. The yearling ran into the middle of the lake and the bull chased the female directly to the trail we were at. We started running into the trees as soon as we saw it happening, but it all happened so fast. We made it about 4 steps into the trees and huddled over our boys as the moose thundered into the forest and split right behind us. They stopped on each side of us and stared at each other through the small trees we were in and were about 5 feet on each side of us. We sat frozen until the female took off and the male ran after her. It was the craziest experience ever – way scarier than the year before when we ran into a sow grizzly and her two cubs on a trail near this same lake.

Who’s your number one adventure partner-in-crime? Who inspires you?
My husband is my number one partner and the reason I am still adventuring. My older son inspires me more than almost anyone with his love of nature, hiking, backpacking and rock climbing after a 5-year battle with Lyme disease. He spent almost 3 years in bed and his love of the outdoors and determination to beat Lyme is amazing.

What are your top destinations for adventure travel?
Always Yellowstone, Grand Teton and Glacier National Park. I love Alaska and the time we have spent there and hope to go back this summer. My greatest adventure was probably the safari we did on the Serengeti and the hot air balloon ride over the Massai Mara during the wildebeest/zebra migration – that was a lot different than most of the adventures we take. We usually stick to the mountains.

What’s on the top of your must-do adventure list right now?
Torres del Paine National Park and Iceland

Show us your most memorable photo, and tell us about it!
I love this moment that I captured in Grand Teton National Park a couple months ago (header image). I am somewhat new at nature photography and I was really pleased with some of the photos that I took. I spent 4 days in the park by myself and really enjoyed the solitude and time to myself to explore whatever/wherever I wanted. And kind of a tie with this photo I took 2 years ago of wolf #778 known as “Big Brown” in Yellowstone. He is the last surviving member of the original Druid pack and it was so sweet to capture him as we were heading into the park to ski.

And last but not least…What’s your personal motto?
I don’t really have one. Our non-profit is a faith-based organization and our tagline is “defending the cause of the poor and needy” from Jeremiah 22:16 – which is basically what my tagline to life is. Basically, God comes first, taking care of others and my family next and then adventure. The order of importance has changed for me a lot since I was younger.

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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