Ali grew up in Clarksburg, WV. Although her family often spent time outdoors throughout her childhood doing things such as boating and skiing, it wasn’t until she attended WVU that she fell in love with the true outdoors. Throughout her undergraduate years studying Environmental Geoscience and International Studies, she worked leading outdoor trips throughout WV and various places throughout the U.S. She also facilitated for the WVU Challenge Course and studied abroad in Linkoping, Sweden, and Patagonia, Chile. It was during these years she realized she wanted to work in adventure travel.
When Ali is not guiding, she’s pursuing her Master’s Degree in the MAC Program (secondary science education) back at WVU (after having worked as a geologist in Houston for a couple of years). Here, she works as the graduate assistant at the Outdoor Recreation Center and helps plan and lead trips all over the U.S.
When Ali is not working or studying, you can find her outside playing. In the winter, you can find her cross-country skiing, tracking down the ever-rare east coast powder, or hunkering down with a pair of knitting needles and cup of tea. The rest of the year you can find her on a stand up paddle board, some mellow white water, backpacking, hiking, mountain biking, or preparing for some kind of event like a mud run or triathlon. She also has been known to spend a little too much time in her garden.
If we’re talking the kick-back and completely relax kind of vacation, I have to stick with a beachy, Jimmy Buffet-inspired vibe. I’m thinking somewhere in the Florida Keys, so I can dive if I want to take a break from taking a break.
I have no idea how I’d ever narrow it down to one favorite, so a few off my top ten include: Angel’s Landing in Zion National Park, Boquillas Canyon Trail or Window Trail in Big Bend National Park, Antelope Canyon, and Mesa Arch Trail in Canyonlands National Park. Storm Point in Yellowstone would be up there too. I guess since they all have drastically different personalities, my favorite at the moment would depend on my mood!
Favorite Bike Ride
There’s a fun trail ride to a great little WV Bakery here in Morgantown, WV. I think by the laws of pastry-lovers, it has to be my favorite. There’s nothing better than a stout ride that leads you to a chocolatey treat!
I haven’t seen many movies, so I’ll go with Beauty and the Beast. No, wait! Home Alone is the winner.
My favorite book may very well be Ishmael by Daniel Quinn, but again, there’s so many fantastic books out there, picking one is almost painful! For good measure, I should throw out there Bill Bryson’s A Short History of Nearly Everything, Hemmingway’s The Old Man and The Sea, and the Harry Potter series.
On Top of the World by Imagine Dragons.
When did you first catch the travel bug?
I think I always had a deep-rooted calling to travel a bit, but I distinctly remember the moment I stepped off the airplane when I went to study in Sweden. Being alone in a totally foreign place was the most empowering thing I could have ever imagined. That’s when I got bit. It’s the same feeling I get in the backcountry when I know there’s no one out there for miles around, and it’s amazing. Five stars, would recommend to a friend.
What are your hobbies?
I love backpacking, traveling, meeting new people, teaching science, snowboarding, being with my amazing family, cross-country skiing, seeing live music, listening to my grandfather’s stories, cooking, gardening, knitting, planning trips, learning, finding ways to challenge myself physically, and finding ways to make the special people in my life feel special.