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Explorer Spotlight: Whitney James

By: The Outbound Collective + Save to a List

Name: Whitney James | Age: 26 | Location: Boulder, CO

What’s your day job?
Marketing at Outside Magazine’s travel company, Outside GO.

What are your favorite things to do outside?
Mountain biking and camping, hands down.

What first drew you to the outdoors?
My dad played a big role in getting me outside while growing up. I rediscovered the outdoors in the middle of college, and decided to graduate early to get out of the city and into the mountains.

What’s your favorite hometown adventure? ...and, almost as important,where’s your favorite spot to get a beer after?
My favorite day in Boulder is a grueling mountain bike ride at Walker Ranch, followed by a beer on the tailgate of my truck. Just don’t tell the rangers—they’ve already given me a ticket.

What’s your essential gear that never gets left at home?
This is always a tough one. When I’m camping, the truck is full of things including my camera, mountain bike, fishing gear, and a loaded cooler. When I’m backpacking, which is never, I take my camera and leave the rest!

What’s your favorite trail snack?

Any go-to soundtracks when you’re hitting the road?
I’ve got a Colorado playlist on Spotify that is super worn in. It’s full of things like The Eagles, The Allman Brothers, and The Freddy Jones Band.

What’s the scariest thing that’s ever happened while you were adventuring?
This summer? We had a bear in camp, two nights in a row. We could hear him climbing all over the truck bed twenty feet away, trying to get to the cooler locked inside. Let me tell you, that’ll make your heart race.

But the scariest of all was when my friend went cliff jumping, at my urging, last summer. He cleared the overhang but hit a rock just under the water. He could hardly swim out of the river. I’ve definitely never felt so sick to my stomach in my entire life.

And/or, the funniest?
I’d have to say the funniest was when Outbound explorer Kyle Frost and I met up randomly to hike Conundrum Springs. We didn’t know each other, I’d never backpacked before, and we were not at all expecting what we found at the top. It was the party to end all parties.

Who’s your number one adventure partner-in-crime? Who inspires you?
I’m lucky enough to have two partners-in-crime, my best friend and my other best friend, who I’m now dating. I’m inspired by people who can look above this whole social media thing and see where we can make something meaningful. I’ve only found a couple of those people, so far and they’ve been incredibly motivating for me.

What are your top destinations for adventure travel?
When I first came to Colorado, I made it a point to explore every inch of the state. In the last few years, I’ve picked my favorite spots and returned time and time again. I’d like to branch out in the future and see some of these wildly popular places—Banff, New Zealand, South America. Now I just have to figure out how to get more than 10 days of vacation a year!

What’s on the top of your must-do adventure list right now?
Anywhere out of the country. Go somewhere I can disconnect for longer than a weekend.

Show us your most memorable photo, and tell us about it!
I snapped this photo in front of the Maroon Bells last year on a solo camping trip. My hammock was strung up between two tiny aspens, the only options, and they sagged so much under my weight that my butt was on the ground. I was sure a ranger was going to bust me! Since then, it’s been featured twice on REI’s Instagram.

And last but not least…What’s your personal motto?
A is A. The law of identity and a reminder to always hold yourself accountable.

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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