Becky Jensen had a lot of things going for her: sweet kids, a caring fiancé, a promising career. But deep down, she wasn't happy. So a few years ago, she left everything (and everyone) behind to thru-hike the Colorado Trail. By herself. On this episode, she shares her story. It's a story about relationships — both with your family, and with yourself. And it's about the surprising things that can happen to those relationships when you do something selfish — something just for you.
Theodore Roosevelt has a remarkable environmental legacy: he preserved an unprecedented 230 million acres of American land. But many of his achievements came at the expense of indigenous communities; conservation was coupled with genocide. Our guest on this episode is David Gessner, author of the book Leave It As It Is. We discuss Roosevelt's ground-breaking efforts to save wild places, and explore how lessons from the past can help us create a new environmentalism that is more inclusive and just.
We often assume that scientists shouldn't fall in love with their research subjects; they’re supposed to remain objective and keep feelings out of their work. Wildlife researcher Joe Hutto did the opposite, embedding himself with a herd of deer in Wyoming. He figured the best way to understand an animal was essentially to become one of them. This is the story of how he did that. It’s a story of love, curiosity, and sadness. And it’s about what happens when the line between fact and feeling becomes blu
Erin Parisi is changing the narrative about trans people, one mountaintop at a time. Growing up, she knew she was a girl. But her body didn't match. And she didn’t feel safe telling anyone her secret. It wasn’t until decades later that she finally mustered the courage to come out. Erin's story takes us from a small town in the U.S. to the the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro, and explores what can happen when you risk everything to become the person you know you are.
Derick Lugo was not a typical thru-hiker. A suave, manicured New Yorker, he wasn’t into hiking and had never been camping. But he decided to challenge himself by doing the Appalachian Trail — and he wrote a memoir about it called The Unlikely Thru-Hiker. On this episode, we discuss the warm welcome Derick received on the A.T. as a hiker of color; we talk about how the generosity he experienced on the trail shifted his habits back home; and we share the highly entertaining story behind his trail name.
In 2001, Donna Martino stuck a photo on her fridge. It was a picture from the newspaper of a handsome kayaker paddling through the surf. A few months later, Donna matched with the man on a dating website. The rest is history. We tend to assume that fairytale beginnings are a recipe for disaster. But sometimes, the world serves up a dose of schmaltz. This story is about what happens when coincidences pile up, and strangers take a chance on each other.
Chris Boskoff was a mountaineer who pushed boundaries and set records. She climbed mountains no North American woman had ever summited, and she was the only American woman to reach the top of six of the world’s 8,000-meter peaks. But despite her impressive resume, Chris’s story went largely untold — until this year. On this episode, Johanna Garton, author of Edge of the Map, joins us to discuss Chris's rise in the mountaineering world: the challenges, the triumphs, and the complicated moral questio
When David Klebosky was out in the desert earlier this year, he ended up being shot at. The gunfire wasn’t malicious, but there were bullets coming at him. Yet David didn’t freak out. This kind of response is typical for David; he always seems to remain calm in the face of stress. On this episode, producer Max Wasserman delves into David’s past and explores what makes some of us so unflappable.
As a marine biologist, Colin Howe sees diversity as an indicator of health: the more diverse an ecosystem, the more likely it is to thrive. But while scientists work hard to preserve diversity in the wild, they often fail to achieve it in the workplace. Colin is one of just a handful of Black biologists in the United States. On this episode, we talk with him about pursuing his passion in a predominantly white field. And we discuss what oceans can teach us about the benefits of diversity.
When KC Cheng decided to hike the Camino de Santiago, she imagined it as a kind of therapy. She wanted to feel young and adventurous again, in charge of her own life. Like so many other thru-hikers, she saw a long-distance trek as an opportunity for an emotional reset. But what does a solo adventure really do to a person? Does “getting away from it all” change us in a fundamental way? On this episode, KC shares the story of a surprising realization she made as a result of her pilgrimage.