“The mountains are calling and I must go” – John Muir
One of my all-time favorite quotes.
Hi, my name is Mariah Olive’. I’m an adventurer deep down in my bones. I ache to rack-up miles on the trail, climb rocks, treck through the forest, chase waterfalls, tread riverbeds, and experience as much as I can and as often as I can this amazing place we call home.
It’s no surprise that I’m an outdoor addict. I grew up between Hawaii and Canada and really only slept and ate indoors. I ran across beaches and through the forests, there was always a little wild in me. In recent years, I’ve been able and blessed to take it up a notch.
In the past two years, I’ve made it to the Rocky Mountains National Park, I’ve jumped into the Colorado River in four different states, Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park, Yosemite National Park, Lake Tahoe, the Grand Canyon, Red Rock Canyon National Reserve, and I finish writing this to you from the Valley of Fire State Park.
Gosh it’s epic.
I have learned more on the miles I’ve walked than I have in any classroom. Often, it’s been much more difficult as well. I went to Yosemite National Park with my boyfriend last summer and we got lost! We turned, what was supposed to be an overnight trip, into a two-and-a-half-day adventure (looking back on it I can laugh now). But we overreached with inadequate equipment, not enough food, too little time, probably not enough experience, and a whole lot of optimism.
We ended up nearly 35 miles away from our car and could not get back to it. We hitch-hiked, slept at a post-office, and had to wait four hours for a bus in the morning. But it was the best time ever. We bonded in ways we would not have been able to do, especially because emotions were running high.
I get to say I hitch-hiked! (Which is a lot more common in National Parks than you might think). The post office that we slept at was a thru-hiking campground (thru-hiking is long distance back-packing, most of these guys were on the Pacific Crest Trail). They have stories that’ll fill up that wanderlust pocket inside of you, it’s amazing. Also, trail folk are super nice!
Adventure and travel have taught me I’m truly able to push myself physically and emotionally, it taught me to accept my circumstances and prevail, it made it obvious that we all need help sometimes and to just accept the help, and I know I still have so much to learn.
While in Zion National Park in the winter of 2015 I conquered my fear of heights or more so the fear of falling. There were three of us and we wanted to hike Angel’s Landing (since 2006 six people have died on the trail from falling). I didn’t know that till we got there, and that could have made me choose a different hike alone. But my friends convinced me we would be fine.
Remember it was winter. There was ice and snow. For whatever reason, we didn’t anticipate this. I had good hiking boots, but no spikes to grip the icy parts. If you look up Angel’s landing it ends up becoming a very sketchy trail that you must hold onto a chain that is attached to the rock and some other metal spikes on an area that is the width of your average Chevy Trailblazer hatchback and both sides are sheer drops (death drops). And I was doing it in snow.
I just kept getting encouraged to keep going. That I was braver than I thought. And that in the end it would be worth it. My friend literally became a motivational speaker who had to deter me from turning around countless times.
Hands frozen, muscles tired, shoes slick, nose dripping, nerves about to crack, and we finally made it to the top. I was speechless I just about cried. I was so so thankful for my friends that wouldn’t let me turn around. I still am. I went up to the edge (still super cautious) and stood there to take it all in. You could see all of Zion from up there.
After that I wanted to reach the highest of heights. Forget the fall. The climb is all that matters, and the hardest of climbs often lead to the most spectacular views. I brought that back as a lesson as well.
I also love the road trip, the time that it takes to reach somewhere. Whether you’re with someone or by yourself. Being on the road rocks. I’ve had some of the most serious talks on while driving for hours on end. You also might just find a gem in the rough of a restaurant. You might find a trail that isn’t on a map. You will find adventure.
Stillness is deafening while in nature. Thoughts come rushing through. Every sense is heightened. Rustling in the bushes, wind through the canyons, rushing water, a birds chirp, or a little bit of rockfall are amplified. Embrace it. Encompass yourself with it. Allow it to swallow you whole. This is good, this is healing and rejuvenation. Nature can nurture.
Driving through the forests of California there was a little road side café. Literally the best coffee I’d ever had. The people were the friendliest offering us any extra amenities we might need, giving out advice (which while traveling is gold), really they were just sharing life which I believe we all ought to do anyway.
Don’t rush the journey. Time is well spent if you make it that way. I’ve learned that as well.
Ahh but I come to an end as my lunch is ready now (pasta shells with some dry spices and coconut oil). I’m in the back of my Trailblazer, in the Valley of Fire, with some rad tunes.
I leave you with another quote from the epic John Muir, “Of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt”
If you want to follow along on Mariah's adventures (which I can honestly tell you, that I do ALL THE TIME), follow her on Instagram @_mariaholive or on her Twitter @mariahmydear