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Explorer Spotlight: Katie Lyons

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Name: Katie Lyons | Age: 19 | Location: Gunnison, CO.

What’s your day job?
I am a student at Western State Colorado University!

What are your favorite things to do outside?
My favorite outdoor activities are trail running and photography.

What first drew you to the outdoors?
I was first drawn to the outdoors when I moved to Colorado at six years old. I had never seen the mountains before and instantly fell in love the first time I went skiing.

What’s your favorite hometown adventure? ...and, almost as important, where’s your favorite spot to get a beer after?
My favorite hometown adventure is camping at Paradise Divide. This is easily one of the top 3 prettiest places I’ve ever seen! Since I’m not old enough to get a beer, my favorite place to get coffee afterwards is Mocha’s coffee shop in Gunnison.

What’s your essential gear that never gets left at home?
I never adventure without my camera! I love documenting where I go and experimenting with different elements of photography.

What’s your favorite trail snack?
Honey stinger protein bars.

Any go-to soundtracks when you’re hitting the road?
I always listen to Mumford and Sons, and Rush!

What’s the scariest thing that’s ever happened while you were adventuring? And/ or funniest?
The scariest thing that ever happened to me was when I hiked to Judd Falls. I wanted to see if I could get closer to the waterfall so I hiked down a steep gulch. When I got to the bottom I realized that it was going to be much harder (nearly impossible) to get back up to the trail. To make matters worse, it had snowed the night before and the ground was especially slick. It took a solid 20 minutes of scrambling to get back to the trail and there were definitely points where I thought I wasn’t going to make it back to the top. Now I know to make sure I can get back up before I go down!

Who’s your number one adventure partner-in-crime? Who inspires you?
My number one adventure partner in crime is my brother, Reece. We’ve summited 14ers, gone cliff jumping, backcountry skied, camped, and hiked desert trails together. He’s always the one to give me the extra push if I’m nervous about something, or be the voice of reason if he thinks one of our adventures may be too dangerous.

What are your top destinations for adventure travel?
My top destinations for adventure right now are Zion NP and Bryce NP. They’re the two Utah parks I haven’t gotten to yet, and I really want to explore all the possibilities of adventure there.

What’s on the top of your must-do adventure list right now?
I really want to go to Great Sand Dunes NP. It’s the only Colorado park I haven’t been to yet and I haven’t seen much of that part of Colorado before. I can’t wait to go!

Show us your most memorable photo, and tell us about it!
This is my most memorable photo from May 2015. After the end of my freshman year of college, I decided to go on a weeklong solo camping adventure in Utah. This picture is from my favorite Utah NP, Canyonlands. When I took this picture, I realized how entirely in love I am with the outdoors, and how I am so lucky to have the opportunity to explore.

And last but not least…What’s your personal motto?
My personal motto is a quote by Khalil Gibran: “Verily, the lust for comfort murders the passion of the soul.”

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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