Whimsy & Wilderness

A Colorado Adventure Blog

Why I Wild - Vol II

 Foxy coffee found at  Bellwether  in Denver.

Foxy coffee found at Bellwether in Denver.

When I first met fellow Coloradoan Marisa Jarae it was by happenstance at a non-profit event we were both attending. We immediately hit it off after discovering our mutual passion for photography, and the outdoors. After exchanging social media info we realized we had a few photography friends in common, it’s a small world, especially in Denver. She’s happy to be here again, after some years spent in Florida. A far cry, and less humidity, from the sand to alpine, but it seems to fit her best, after all there’s no place like home. New friends bring fresh perspectives, and if you’re lucky, the sharing of adventures. When I contacted her regarding this series she was in the middle of co-founding a non-profit, and of course exploring. Her Instagram stories often show her gleefully ascending summits. I’m glad she found time to meet and trade a trailhead for a cafe, not as scenic, but at least more caffeinated. Marisa’s demeanor is cheerful, her interest genuine, and smiles often; almost as a visual punctuation to her sentences. Our conversation ranged from mountains to the mundane, but spoken with equal zest for both. Her stories are drawn with curiosity, and highlighted with amusement. Her expressiveness may not translate into text ergo I encourage all to reach out and meet the delightful storyteller herself.

What was the catalyst for your love of adventure? Was it a trip? Or a general yearn for the outdoors?

The intensive outbound trip I took when I was 17. That was the trip I realized the shortness of life. It’s where I learned my brain was what was holding me back. This thought I had of I think I can’t therefore I didn’t, I learned to let that go. It solidified in my mind I have to keep doing this, because I realized how infinitely small yet infinitely big I am all at the same time.

What thus far has been your greatest outdoor adventure?

I think spending two years learning things from survival, to first aide, climbing techniques, etc, and having those abilities to help others.

Why do you wild?

Something about the mountains runs through me, it always has, that’s why it feels like home. I don’t know if the reason is genetics, or because my first memories were formed there. Mostly for the connection. I’ve been asking myself “why” a lot, and it changes. Ultimately, it’s a connection with this rock we are on, with the people I meet on trails. We all have this literal common ground, and common language of movement, which is hard to replicate in other places.

I loved her line “literal common ground”. This weaved into a beautiful conversation about how the one giant thing we all share is what unites us more than anything. This planet is OUR home, we share it, differences and all, and what better way to connect and learn from each other than by exploring it together.

What’s your next great adventure?

My photography and content creation. Also, a non-profit called Rising Routes, my partner Jason started it because he didn’t feel represented in the outdoors. There’s a lot of really amazing outdoor groups but a lot are homogeneous, and general, though they are needed for people to see themselves represented. The next step in the evolution of trying to close the adventure gap, and my hope is the bigger social gain in our country, is now these groups need to start talking. The goal of Rising Routes is to bring everyone together to create a neutral platform through which people can authentically engage with each other and build human relationships. Hopefully that’ll feed into areas outside of the outdoors.

Visit Rising Routes to join.

What’s the greatest advice Mother Nature has given you?

Be calm. Keep a quiet mind, because in the quietness you will discover your greatness.

Before we part we talk about the animals we see most out on the trails, she typically sees foxes, an animal with which she feels a connection. All too fitting since one found it’s way into my coffee cup (shown at the top), I’ll take it as a good sign.

You can follow Marisa’s journey here.