Mikaela Lea: “The best growth experience of my life”

Mikaela Lea: “The best growth experience of my life”

Crew member Mikaela Lea talks:

“The best growth experience of my life”

for the Siskiyou Hiker

29 November 2015 | KALMIOPSIS RIM TRAIL 1124 — Mikaela Lea’s first trip with the SMC was one typically reserved for the most experienced backpackers. Fresh out of Brookings Harbor High School, she hiked 10 miles through bone soaking rain along the steep and trail to Box Canyon to resupply a trail crew working there in June 2014.

“It’s been the best growth experience of my life”

It wouldn’t be the first time Mikaela proved herself to SMC.

She ended up on the 2015 trail crew, and worked and lived out of her backpack for over 60 days in 2015. Now she’s at Oregon State University, but she’s thinking about taking a less traveled path.

“I was able to think about different things…you have to be vocal.”

“It’s been the best growth experience of my life,” she says. Mikaela says, “I already had the hard work part down.” What she got out of it was more personal. She says the experience helped her communicate better with other people.

What about being on the SMC trail crew helped?

“Journaling everyday,” says Lea. “I was able to think about different things.” Working and backpacking helped, too. “Because with that work, you have to be vocal,” she says. “I wanted to be hiking at the front of the pack.

I learned self discipline.”

Lea (left) in 2014 on resupply volunteer trip

She’s considering veering from her class and committing to an entire year or two of service with Americorps.

“Keeping an open mind is completely necessary for going out and living in the woods”

“I’m young, I feel like I need to do the wild stuff now, I want to go to school without going into debt, and I want to do a couple of years of volunteer work.” Americorps provides pay and a scholarship, similar to her 2015 program with SMC.

“I’m looking at natural resources and geography, and do something internationally,” says Lea.

Her advice to 2016 crew members?

“Make sure to journal everyday. Keep up on it. Journaling helped me a lot for tracking my progress, and understanding what we’ve accomplished,” she mentions. “Keeping an open mind is completely necessary for going out and living in the woods.

“Every time I travel, I fall in love with wherever I’m at,” she says. Some of her favorite spots were Canyon Peak a high point along the Kalmiopsis’s eastern rim; and Mule Creek, a tributary to the Wild Rogue. “Pearsoll Peak was amazing,” she remarks. “I like peaks.”

Lea is climbing. That’s for sure.

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