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Explorer Spotlight: Sara Sheehy

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Name: Sara Sheehy | Age: 35 | Location: Sun Valley, ID.

What’s your day job?
I work as a Product Manager for an international NGO. I design and build software to track our conservation efforts around the globe.

What are your favorite things to do outside?
Hiking, camping, skiing (cross country and alpine), biking (mountain and road).

What first drew you to the outdoors?
I've always been an explorer. I was a tree-climbing, mudpie-making, bombing-around-the-woods-strapped-in-my-dad's-Jeep-Wrangler-without-the-doors kind of kid. The feeling of adventure and pushing my boundaries has never left me.

What’s your favorite hometown adventure? ...and, almost as important, where’s your favorite spot to get a beer after?
Hiking, camping, and doing yoga on the shores of Redfish Lake in the Sawtooth Mountains. Redfish Lake has a soul, and you can feel it from the moment you arrive. There aren't bars nearby, but I never miss a morning at the Stanley Baking Company in the summer.

What’s your essential gear that never gets left at home?
A camera and snacks. The hunger runs deep in this household.

What’s your favorite trail snack?
Dark chocolate.

Any go-to soundtracks when you’re hitting the road?
The Killers and Ben Howard.

What’s the scariest thing that’s ever happened while you were adventuring? And/ or funniest?
In the summer of 2005 I was leading trail crew in the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness. My crew and I had been flown into a backcountry air strip, then mule packed another 20 miles. We woke up for a straight week with a thick coat of ash on our tents. When they finally decided to evacuate us we flew in a smoke jumper plane over thousands of acres of wildfire, barely staying above the flames.

Side story: on that same trip I woke up in the middle of the night to a pack of wolves passing next to our camp, howling as they ran. It was a defining wilderness moment for me.

Who’s your number one adventure partner-in-crime? Who inspires you?
Mike, my husband, has been my adventure partner since we met in college. His passion for adventure is bottomless. He inspires me to think less, do more.

What are your top destinations for adventure travel?
Croatia, the wilder parts of Mexico, and the Pacific coast.

What’s on the top of your must-do adventure list right now?
Trail running the Costa Brava in Spain and getting to the Southwest (somehow, I've never made it there).

Show us your most memorable photo, and tell us about it!
This is a remarkably hard question for a woman with 40,000 digital images. This one is a sunrise on Redfish Lake from two summers ago. Apart from dragging my best friend and her husband (who were visiting from the east coast) out of their tent in the freezing cold at an insane hour to witness it, it solidifies my theory that all the things worth doing require an adventurous attitude, a tendency toward preferring a rough path over a smooth one, and showing up when it's not always easy to do so.

And last but not least…What’s your personal motto?
Be where your feet are. (Live in the moment).

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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