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Unleashing the Spirit of Exploration

Local business owners and hikers share their stories of hiking epic peaks.

There's something undeniably enchanting about venturing into the great outdoors. Surrounded by towering mountains, lush forests, and breathtaking vistas, it's a chance to reconnect with the beauty and tranquility of nature. For Mason business owners, avid hikers and outdoor enthusiasts like Brent Crank, of Brent Thomas Renovations, and Dianna Knudsen, a certified financial planner™ with Edward Jones, the call of the wild is irresistible. They have each embarked on remarkable adventures, creating unforgettable memories along the way.

Brent, an enthusiastic explorer of the national parks, has traversed some of the most iconic landscapes in the United States. One of his memorable moments was hiking Mount Rainier in Washington, the most prominent mountain in the lower 48 of the U.S., where he experienced the exhilaration of conquering an elevation of 14,410 treacherous feet.

"It was on a scale far beyond anything I had ever experienced before,” Brent says. “It is something I will never forget, and the friendships forged through that training and experience will be lifelong.”

Dianna, on the other hand, finds solace and adventure amidst the picturesque landscapes of Colorado. From the rugged peaks of the Rocky Mountains to the serene alpine lakes, Colorado offers a hiker's paradise. Dianna's most cherished hiking experience was conquering the challenging but rewarding feat of hiking 10 of Colorado’s “fourteeners” (mountain peaks exceeding an elevation of 14,000 feet). She felt a profound sense of accomplishment and witnessed the world from a perspective few get to experience.

“I started hiking Torreys at 3 a.m.,” shares Dianna, “and reached the summit to see the sun rise over Denver.”

Both Brent and Dianna have a list of dream locations they hope to explore in the future. Brent's current hiking goal is to go from the rim to the crater of the Grand Canyon. Both, he says, because it is a rare experience, but also because it is the inverse of most of his hiking challenges - going down instead of up. Dianna’s dream is to hike on every continent - to see the world through the lens of a true explorer.

For those who are inspired to start hiking, Brent and Dianna have some valuable advice to share. First, it's essential to start slow and choose trails that align with your fitness level and experience. Begin with shorter hikes on well-marked paths, gradually increasing the difficulty and distance as your confidence and stamina grow.

Investing in proper gear and attire is crucial for a safe and comfortable hiking experience. A comfortable pair of hiking boots, moisture-wicking clothing, a durable backpack and safety equipment like a compass and first aid kit are essential items to consider. Brent and Dianna both emphasize the importance of staying hydrated, carrying enough water and packing nutritious snacks to fuel your adventure.

"Always be prepared for changes in weather and carry extra layers," advises Dianna. "Conditions can change rapidly, especially in mountainous areas. Dressing in layers allows you to adjust your clothing accordingly and stay comfortable throughout the hike."

Additionally, they highlight the significance of respecting and preserving nature. Leave no trace behind—pack out what you pack in, and follow the principles of responsible hiking and camping. Treat the environment with care, appreciate wildlife from a distance, and be mindful of the impact you leave behind. Leave no trace ethics ensures that future generations can revel in the beauty of our natural spaces.

“If you are the type of person that wants to just experience beauty and solitude, a lovely walk along a creek may be the perfect scenario,” says Brent. “If you are the type of person that wants to challenge yourself both mentally and physically, then taking on a quest like a mountain climb might be the experience of a lifetime. My advice would be just to get out there and see what nature has to share with you!”

The great outdoors has transformative powers. The beauty, serenity, and challenges of nature enrich our lives, leaving us with lasting memories and a deep appreciation for the world around us. So, lace up your hiking boots, pack your backpack and embark on your own adventure. The wonders of the natural world are yours to take in. |

"My advice would be just to get out there and see what nature has to share with you!"