As you all know, our biggest source of inspiration = YOU! We know you each have so much knowledge about the outdoors and we want to share your stories. The #Recreator Spotlight is your foolproof guide to the best camping spots, magical outdoor moments, hiking hacks and more! Each season, we'll provide you with advice + expertise from your fellow alder community members.
Meet Clarice Henry, our second community member to be featured. As an outdoor and travel enthusiast, Clarice spends her time hiking, snapping pics of pretty waterfalls, and camping throughout the Sierras. She considers herself a global citizen who cares about preserving and taking care of mama Earth. She is the co-founder of Her Narrative Collective, sharing women’s stories to empower, inspire and cultivate community. She lives and works in Yosemite National Park with her boyfriend and two Namibian doggos, all of which she brought back with her after her service in the Peace Corps. Check out more of Clarice's work here!
Tell us about a magical moment you've experienced in the outdoors.
"I have had many glorious moments in the outdoors, but the most magical was hiking through Bwindi Impenetrable Forest in Uganda. It was early morning in October when we started trekking through the rainforest. After a couple hours of hiking we found what we were searching for... the mountain gorillas. It was an epic experience being able to see them in their habitat. The silverback, distinguished as he sat pulling leaves to chew on as the mama cared for their baby; a cheeky toddler who was practicing her chest pounds and building nests. After an hour among them, it was time to say goodbye and hike back to the forest trail leaving an unforgettable memory etched in my mind."
What's your favorite local hiking route?
"The Mist Trail to Vernal & Nevada Falls in Yosemite Valley."
What was your favorite "first?"
"Seeing a moose is my favorite first! My family loves road trips. In 2016, we went on a National Park trip to Yellowstone, Tetons, Arches, Canyonlands and Mesa Verde. In 2017, I was living in Namibia serving in the Peace Corps and we did a self-drive tour of the country. In 2019, we went leaf peeping through the New England states and Nova Scotia, Canada. Two of the three trips had potential for seeing a moose and I hoped at every curve in the road that there would be one just around the bend. It hadn’t happened… until this year! We set off again on a road trip to Colorado and Utah. After spending the day in Rocky Mountain National Park, we headed out of the park. Twilight was readying to set in as we came around a curve and saw a car jam. I turned my head to the right and there it was… a moose! Finally, a moment that took years of coming around each curve in the road with anticipation paid off. We parked and silently watched as this young majestic bull standing in his pond enjoyed an early supper of greens."
Tell us about a time you ventured outside of your comfort zone.
"In 2014, just after arriving in Sierra Leone for Peace Corps - Ebola broke out. We were evacuated back to the States just two months after landing. I had made some good friends in our short time together and one of the guys suggested we thru-hike the John Muir Trail (aka The JMT). The JMT is a 220-mile hike from the Yosemite National Park’s valley floor to the summit of Mount Whitney, the highest mountain in the contiguous United States. This hike follows a large majority of the Pacific Crest Trail. With my calendar wide open, I figured why not go and try it. So, two weeks after traveling 44 hours to get home, I was packing up resupply buckets to ship out, buying sock liners, borrowing hiking poles, and trying to mentally prepare for my first backpacking trip. The night before driving up, I spent hours packing my backpack, trying to cut weight, and wondering what in the world did I get myself into?
We were a group of seven Peace Corps evacuees that came together and were able to get permits. One of us had done it twice before and he made us all unpack our bags in the parking lot and cut down even more weight before setting off. We cut the first 20 miles off by starting in Tuolumne Meadows of Yosemite, rather than the Valley. The first day I got altitude sickness and couldn’t eat. By the second day I was feeling better. Pros: we went over our first pass and visited a number of gorgeous alpine lakes. Cons: I tripped and fell down, tweaking my ankle. On the third day, I decided that I was pretty sure that I wasn’t going to make it all the way, given the fact that I was already exhausted and sore from the first two days. I called my parents and very nicely asked them to drive 6 hours to come and get me in Mammoth the following day when the others resupplied. I was disappointed that I only made it about 30 miles, but I knew that it was the right thing to do for my body. I hadn’t trained for hiking so far each day, hadn’t backpacked previously and didn’t give myself time to adjust to the altitude.
Though I was disappointed in not making it further, I am proud of myself for attempting it and taking the opportunity to go on an adventure I might not have otherwise. Nowadays I look back on that trip fondly and consider trying it again one day. If I do try it again, I will take the lessons learned from the first time and most definitely train for the mileage put on your feet. Some lessons I learned: be prepared, wear boots with ankle support and don’t be afraid to try."
What tunes get you movin'? Any recommendations for an adventure playlist?
'Til I Found You by Jeremy Loops
Higher by Clean Bandit & Iann Dior
Golden by Harry Styles
Wildflower by The National Parks
Traveller by Chris Stapleton
Skate by Bruno Mars, Anderson .Paak & Silk Sonic
Sun Comes Up by Rudimental & James Arthur
Wild Life by OneRepublic
To be featured in series three of our #Recreator Spotlight, click here to submit your details. P.S. this is a paid gig + we'll hook you up with all your favorite alder items!