I saw Kelsey on Instagram from one of the (way too many) profiles I follow. I’d like to say I remember what account it was that talked about her, but it’s Friday night as I’m writing this post, I’m currently already into my glass of wine, and I’m wearing a tank top that reads “No mas today”–so I think you’ll forgive me for this one.
I started Chasing Challenges after reflecting on some of my own challenges I was pursing. I also really love all the stories I see every day in my feed, in articles on the internet, and even in person. I wanted to be more involved in those stories. It’s been a learning process, and although my first interview was in May, this one jumped over a few months.
Kel decided she was going to summit fourteen 14ft-ers all by the end of this summer, having never done anything like this before nor even hiked a 14ft-er. Some of these she even braved by herself (something I’m not ashamed to admit I haven’t accomplished psyching myself up to yet). I really loved how she made the decision of what she wanted to do despite not having the experience or knowing how it would go; she still went after her goals anyhow.
I immediately sent her an PM asking if I could feature her here. Luckily for me, she said yes! Read on to hear about her epic summer journey.
What is your first and last name?
Where can we follow your story?
Where are you from and where do you currently live?
KS: Originally from Grand Rapids, Michigan but now in Denver, Colorado
How old are you?
What do you do for a living?
KS: I’m an office manager for a balloon company (exciting, I know). It pays the bills and allows me to fill up my gas tank to get to the mountains.
What are your interests?
KS: Pretty much anything that includes the outdoors – camping, hiking, skiing, fishing. Oh! And I have a HUGE travel bug.
What is an odd fact about you?
KS: Hmm…I’ve broken all of my toes at least once. I was a dancer in my younger days…
What is or was your challenge?
KS: Bag (14) 14ers by the end of the summer!
Is this an official challenge?
KS: It is official to me! A few of my friends decided to join me on this challenge after I told them about it, too. We are working together to complete it 🙂
When did you start this Challenge and when will/did you finish this challenge?
KS: I started at the beginning of the summer, my first summit was at the end of May. I’ll be finishing hopefully next weekend (weather permitting). I’m at (13) bagged summits so far!
What made you decide to do this specific challenge?
KS: I have always had a passion for hiking. After moving to Colorado, I wanted to join all of those crazies out there who hiked to the summits of the tallest peaks in the state. So why not start big and try my absolute best to make it happen?!
Sometimes things don’t always go as planned. Have you had any drawbacks or bumps in the road completing your challenge?
KS: Of course! I’ve set out on a handful of hikes to not be able to complete them due to weather or exhaustion. 14ers are no joke and they aren’t easy.
What has been the hardest aspect of your challenge?
KS: Hiking at altitude is a mental game. If you don’t tell yourself you can do it, chances are you won’t be able to. It’s important to believe in yourself the entire hike, even when you are tired and want to give up.
What have you had to give up in order to pursue this challenge?
KS: A social life 😉 I hike a lot by myself because I’m so determined to meet my goal. While hiking is relaxing in it’s own way, it’s exhausting – and I spend the majority of the week following recovering and preparing for the next hike.
What has been the most surprisingly enjoyable aspect of your challenge?
KS: No matter what peak you hike, the view is always different. You’d think that mountains are mountains, but they aren’t. As soon as you reach the summit, it’s a whole different view and experience from the previous summit.
Who or what has supported you most?
KS: I’ve had a lot of supporters. My family is a huge support system, but being in Michigan, they are more worried than anything. But they get it why I’m doing this – I actually FaceTimed my dad from Missouri Mountain this past weekend!
What do you think you have learned about yourself or in general from being in this challenge?
KS: I’m a lot stronger than I think I am. To think that I’ve never done anything like this before May, and now I am at (13) summits completed? That’s crazy to me. I must be a little crazy.
What do you look forward to doing in the future?
KS: While I may be nearly done with my challenge, there are still (42) more 14ers in Colorado! I’ve also started saving for a trip to hike Mt. Kilimanjaro next fall!
What do you feel constitutes something as a challenge?
KS: Anything that get you out of your comfort zone. After all “life begins at the end of your comfort zone.”
What motivates you to pursue challenges in general in your life, and why do you think other people also pursue them?
KS: I don’t want to be at the end of my life and look back to say “I could have done that.” I want to know that I’ve tried things and lived my life to the fullest. I think it’s important to challenge yourself, how else will you grow if you don’t try something new?
Do you think a challenge has to be completed to be successful?
KS: Not at all! Like I mentioned before, I’ve had bumps in the road. I think giving it your all and trying your hardest to be successful is success in its own way.
Any words of wisdom for other people inspired to attempt something challenging?
KS: Believe in yourself. That’s the key to completing any challenge. I had a hard time believing in myself at the beginning, but once I bagged my first peak, the belief just started flowing naturally. Your confidence is there, you just have to find it!