From hiking and trail running in the summers to skiing and snowboarding in the winters, 20 years in Bend, Oregon has given me the most extensive outdoor playground.
Bend, Oregon inspired me to spend the last few years traveling the world and exploring the alps and other spectacular mountain ranges, but the trails, snowboarding and skiing of my hometown are hard to resist.
Throughout the years, trying new activities, meeting new people, and challenging myself were the things that kept me motivated and moving.
You can usually find me chatting into a microphone with someone on the top of a mountain as my podcast focuses on living a balanced and active life outdoors.
Becca Recommends: Trail Running
I grew up a long-distance swimmer and runner and always participated in the local triathlons and running races. I also hiked on the weekends when I wasn't racing, but the idea that you could mix running and hiking was foreign to me until my 20s.
Then, a few years back, I moved home and was itching to do something new. I was tired of running on roads because I kept getting injured and needed a new and exciting way to approach the trails I had been on since I was a kid. So I started running all the trials.
You know that feeling when you find something you love and have to keep doing it? That's what it felt like. I became obsessed with trail running. I loved the feeling of moving quickly through the trials and feeling my heart pounding at the top, breathing in all that fresh air and feeling all the elements.
My favorite time to be in the mountains is sunrise, and trail running changed everything for me. I could get up and go with just a light daypack and make it back before breakfast. It was a more fun way for me to experience the terrain. I also built a community of trail-running enthusiasts, making my time in the mountains even more enjoyable.
Of course, I recommend always bringing a buddy with you and starting with trails that you know well and aren't super high in elevation.
Becca’s Favorite Adventures
Backpacking The Routeburn Track, New Zealand
The Routeburn track was the first multi-day backpacking trip I ever did and it has some of the most beautiful landscapes I have ever seen.
This national park has vast mountain peaks, enormous valleys, monstrous waterfalls and deep blue lakes. The environment is perfect for novice backpackers as the highest point in the track is only 1,255 meters above sea level.
You will also find a massive population of birdlife. This trial is home to the world’s only alpine parrot, robins, and wood pigeons.
Winter camping the Enchantments, Washington
One of my favorite hikes in the Pacific Northwest is the Enchantments. These lakes are accessed by hiking and are located in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness in Washington. While these lakes are stunning in the summer, winter adds a new element to the experience. Easily compared to some of the European scenery, the Enchantments are a little alpine paradise.
This trek is about 9 miles with an elevation gain of 2,392 feet. This was one of the first winter trips I ever took. It's the perfect hike for novice winter mountaineers because the terrain varies in difficulty. That being said, this hike is not to be underestimated, and you will need crampons, an ice axe and knowledge of winter weather conditions.
Hiking Mt. Adams, Washington
Mt. Adams is the second-highest peak in Washington, sitting at 12,276 feet. The mountain supports over ten active glaciers and snowfields that vary in difficulty throughout the seasons. If you are hiking Mt. Adams, climbers must be equipped with an ice axe and crampons and be able to find routes.
My favorite part of this mountain is the lunch counter, the most popular camping destination sitting at 9,350 feet. Here, we were greeted with both a beautiful sunset and sunrise at Suksdorf ridge. Leaving our stuff at the lunch counter to hike the rest of the way made it a bit easier and then we were able to glissade from Pikers Peak back to the lunch counter quickly.
Skiing in Andorra
Andorra is a small, independent country between France and Spain settled in the Pyrenees Mountains. It is a popular destination for Europeans due to the appealing prices, but Andorra is less well known for non-Europeans like me. The Pyrenees were not somewhere I had ever dreamed of skiing, but it provided some of the best skiing I have ever done.
With sunshine, plenty of snow and more than 300 km of slopes to explore, this little sleeper mountain is the perfect ski getaway.
Trail running in Switzerland
Visiting Switzerland as a trail runner was the most humbling experience. I spent three months in Switzerland, and with over 65,000km of marked hiking paths, I saw only some of it. The terrain in the Swiss Alps varies greatly from steady and flat to ridges and steep climbs, and let me tell you, the steep climbs are challenging but so worth it.
If the alps are on your bucket list, or even if they aren't, I highly recommend planning a trip. If you are new to trail running or want to avoid going out alone, you can sign up for guided runs led by experts in the field. They will show you their favorite trails with jaw-dropping scenery and take you for breaks at the most idyllic mountain cafes.
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