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Explorer Spotlight: Christina Warburg

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Name: Christina Warburg | Age: 23 | Location: Moran, Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming

What’s your day job?
Park Ranger for GTNP and Vacation Planner for the Grand Teton Lodge Company.

What are your favorite things to do outside?
It may sound simple, but honestly my favorite thing to do outside, no matter where I am, is just to observe. Observe the clouds passing overhead, the movement of water, the behavior of the wildlife. Just sit in silence and take it all in. All the activity in the world can't replace just sitting still and taking it all in for me.

What first drew you to the outdoors?
Growing up in noisy, loud Southern California, the first thing that really drew me to the outdoors was the silence. I went to Kennedy Meadows when I was about 7, and it was the first place I had ever really encountered silence in my entire life. I quickly learned that it was my favorite sound of all.

What’s your favorite hometown adventure? ...and, almost as important, where’s your favorite spot to get a beer after?
My favorite adventure in the Jackson area is just to chill in Hippie Hot Springs.

Its always a semi-adventure getting there, but once you are there the rewards are numerous. And of course it would not be the same if it wasn't followed up by a beer and wings at The Bird afterwards.

What’s your essential gear that never gets left at home?
My Canon is the number one thing that is never left behind. Also, I don't go on any adventure without my trusty NPS issue hiking boots.

What’s your favorite trail snack?
One word. Almonds.

Any go-to soundtracks when you’re hitting the road?
Legends of the Fall Soundtrack is by far my favorite CD to listen to while I am driving.It makes everything so much more epic.

What’s the scariest thing that’s ever happened while you were adventuring? And/or, the funniest?
Last summer I received some information about two orphaned yearling mountain lion cubs that were frequenting a specific area. My parents were visiting and we decided to check it out. We were very cautious and had read up on how to act in mountain lion attacks. We brought both bear spray and a gun just in case. It had rained the night before and we saw a multitude of fresh tracks in the mud all around us. After following them for about a mile, we lost the tracks in a thicket of trees. Right at that moment, we heard something large descend from the trees almost on top of us. I screamed louder than I have ever screamed and my dad had drawn his gun in less than a second. I swear I saw my life flash before my eyes. It took us a few seconds to realize that it was just a large bird and at that point it became immediately hysterical. We did however realize after that, that as cool as it would be to see the cubs, we were actually terrified at the prospect of a close encounter with them. We promptly turned around and went home.

Who’s your number one adventure partner-in-crime? Who inspires you?
Is it it lame that 99% of my adventures are done completely solo? My number one adventure partner-in-crime is my car, who I have named Tori. You go Tori. As for who inspires me the most, that would have to be my father. He retired early from the Sheriff's Department to work a minimum wage job at a fly shop and volunteer with the forest service because those were his real dreams. If only we could all go after our dream with such enthusiasm and fearlessness.

What are your top destinations for adventure travel?
Besides my own backyard? Glacier National Park is my absolute favorite. The Eastern Sierras are a close second.

What’s on the top of your must-do adventure list right now?
Hiking the entire length of the Teton Crest Trail. Beauty like no where else in the world.

​This photo is by far my favorite that I have ever taken.
The weeks leading up to October 1, 2013 were particularly nerve wracking for me with the threat of the Government Shutdown looming and my future uncertain. When that morning came I was having a hard time sleeping, so I decided to stop fighting it and get up for the sunrise. What unfolded was probably the most spectacular sunrise I have ever seen in the park. But it was the scene that followed after the sun had completely risen, and most of the tourists who were present for the sunrise had left that really took my breath away. It was a scene that assured me that no matter what happened with the shutdown, the Tetons were home and that I would return to them. I was let go from my contract early and forced to leave the park, following a week of basically house arrest due to the shutdown. But that Spring I returned to the Tetons for good because of what I experienced that morning.

And last but not least…What’s your personal motto?
Wake up. Kick A*s. Be Kind. Repeat.

Check out more of Christina's adventures here.

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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