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COLORADO AMBASSADORS

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Favorite Adventures:

She loves anything outside – mainly hiking, backpacking, camping, whitewater rafting, and attempting to get the perfect photo! She's hoping to get into climbing, whitewater kayaking, and snowboarding over the next year or so.

 

Why She Always Choose Adventures:

She's learned that life is too short not to. Pushing herself to try something new and that scares her helps her grow and learn so much about what she is truly capable of. After losing multiple close people in her life, she vowed to carry on their legacies and to truly live life. She came to a point in her life where she wasn't happy where she was and was terrified of waking up one day and wondering where my life went and stuck with a list of regrets. She realized that she needed to truly live, explore, and adventure. Soon after that, she went on her first hike and her life has never been the same!

VICTORIA AMICO

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Favorite Adventures:

Julia loves adaptive adventures of all kinds and being a part of community is where she thrives! Julia’s service dog Mowlgi joins her on lots of adventures and has visited 4 different states in the year that they have been together! Julia is always looking for her next adventure. 2019 is not even close to over with two more half marathons in two different states, plenty of snow activities to come and memories with friends to make!

Why She Always Choose Adventures:

At age 11 Julia was diagnosed with idiopathic anaphylaxis that resulted in an eventual diagnosis of Mast Cell Activation Disorder and a permanent tracheostomy for airway support. At age 17 Julia was diagnosed with a rare bone disorder, Hypophosphatasia, and has broken over 38 bones!

JULIA BECKLEY

Favorite Adventures:

Backpacking, Hiking, Camping, Paddle boarding

 

Why She Always Chooses Adventures: Sharadyn starting choosing adventures when she was 19. She was far from outdoorsy growing up. She was the kid who hated bugs, humidity, camping, sunshine, you know, the outdoors. There was a major shift in her outlook after the passing of her sister and some friends that drew her to the forests of Illinois. These passings made her realize there are a lot of places to see and not much time to see them. Upon graduating from college, she answered the mountain's call and headed out for Colorado. Life out west has been nothing if not transformative. Ultimately, she chooses adventures to live a life she will look back on fondly knowing she took enough risks to be comfortably uncomfortable (because no matter how good of a sleeping pad you have, it's called the Rocky Mountains for a reason).

SHARADYN CIOTA

Favorite Adventures:

White water rafting, Couch To Trail hikes, and social outings, meeting new people

 

Why She Always Chooses Adventures: Because why not? Exploring is what we are born to do. From the beginning of time we as humans have explored to learn and become more familiar with our surroundings!

LIANA E'AKELS

Favorite Adventures:

Hiking Alpine lakes, climbing 14ers, cooking, taking scenic pictures, telling jokes, traveling new places, discovering breweries, meeting new people and being an inspiration to the Autism community and all who love the outdoors.

 

Why He Always Chooses Adventures: 

It helps him get through life and it's challenges. He has lost both of his parents and has mild autism. He has a huge passion for being outside, enjoy nature and taking amazing scenic pictures of mountains. He has the dream and the large goal of completing all 58 of Colorado's fourteeners. When he completes this feat he will dedicate his CO 14er finisher medallion to his late parents, family, and friends that have guided and supported him when he needed it. He says, "It's an honor to meet all the amazing people in ACA, it's inspired me to become a great hiker and man." He also says, “After my 20 hour Blanca Peak mishap in May 2018, ACA stepped in and helped educated me to camp and have hiking partners for my next hikes.” He also stated “My biggest accomplishment was the day I successfully climbed and summited one of the toughest 14ers in Colorado, Capitol Peak. I wouldn’t have done it without ACA.” He's very proud to be an inspiration to a lot of people and he's very excited to inspire more people to get outside and reach their adventurous goals.

SCOTT GARCIA

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Favorite Adventures:

She enjoys hiking, but would love to learn how do more outside activities such as climbing.

 

Why She Always Chooses Adventures:

She used to be a lot heavier and unable to hike or enjoy the outdoors. Now that she's lost the weight, she wants to enjoy and do everything that she can.

TAMI GRUBBS

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Favorite Adventures:

Her absolute favorite adventure is hiking!  She has lived in several different states across the US, from the East Coast to the Pacific Northwest, & has been able to maintain her love of hiking because it was an accessible activity to keep up with & enjoy with her young children during all their family moves.  She also enjoys yoga, traveling (especially long road trips!), concerts, and camping. Her next big adventure will be buying & renovating a vintage travel trailer, and taking it on the road for many exciting camping & road trip adventures with her husband & children.

 

Why She Always Chooses Adventures:

For a long time she struggled with anxiety & depression and being able to put herself out there felt absolutely impossible; but now she feels she is in a better place and is able to look forward and focus on doing the things that bring her joy.  Getting outside, hiking, traveling & taking new risks socially are not only things she does to grow as a person but also to show her children how important it is to go after the things you want in life.  Her children have inspired her to adventure more now than ever & she is hoping that working on the Rewild Your Child Initiative with ACA will help other parents get out there with their kiddos too!

AMBER GWINN

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Favorite Adventures:

Any water activity – paddle boarding, tubing, white water rafting and kayaking; hiking and exploring the world.

 

Why She Always Chooses Adventures:

Having living in multiple states exploring was a constant in her younger years. She took some time off from adventuring but realized she missed it. Exploring feeds her soul and she has met some amazing people while offline and wants to share that with more people. There’s an entire planet to explore so lets get to it.

TONYA HOLIDAY

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Favorite Adventures:

Winter backpacking and mountaineering

 

Why He Always Chooses Adventures: 

Adrenaline, pushing his body, and the feeling of succeeding. He also choose adventures because he  thinks more often than not you fail to achieve what you wanted to accomplish. The humbling experience is good for the soul. It lights up your mind on how to become better and succeed at your next attempt.

ZACH KINZLER

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Favorite Adventures:

He enjoys many types of outdoor activities. His favorite is hiking in the mountains, breathing the fresh air and taking in the sights that nature has bestowed on us. Other activities include camping, backpacking, mountain biking, snowboarding, and snowshoeing.

 

Why He Always Chooses Adventures:

He enjoys maintaining a balance between work and life by unplugging from technology and escaping out to nature. Just being in the mountains is therapeutic for him. Getting there is the adventure. What he enjoys the most about ACA is being able to connect with like-minded people to share these amazing experiences with.

HUNG LIEU

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Favorite Adventures:

His favorite adventures encompass anything that involves long, vertical days including rock, ice, and alpine climbing, and also sliding down whatever he climbed up with a pair of skis. Other favorites include long walks through Aspen groves, and casting a fishing line through a few feet of ice in the winter.

 

Why He Always Chooses Adventures:

Jared was fortunate enough to grow up in a household with the quintessential "trad dad" on call. He learned to develop an affinity for the outdoors as a kid, which magnified into a love for the high mountains and being knee-deep in snow as a teenager. In his first year of college, he bought a pair of alpine boots with his graduation money, and has managed to make the best use possible out of them. He believes in the healing spirit of the alpine, and the beauty of feeling vulnerable in places that make you feel smaller than yourself, a feeling that can only be attained by choosing adventure!

JARED MOYA

Favorite Adventures:

She enjoys hiking with friends and family and spending any time outdoors that she can with her two dogs, Riley and Ella. She loves trying things at least once and is always interested in a new adventure! Her most favorite adventure has been climbing Mount Elbert with her brother Zach. A close second would be climbing Mount Audubon in the freezing cold and pouring down rain with her brother, husband, and best friends from college!

 

Why She Always Chooses Adventures:

Life is short and you can’t spend all of your time behind a desk or waiting for a thrill in life! When she moved to Colorado two years ago she felt lost and stuck in the same position she had been for the last 4 years. After having explored and adventured around Colorado Springs, she fell in love and found her home. No matter the adventure, big or small, she is ready for a new challenge!

KAYLA PATACCA 

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Favorite Adventures:

Gerry’s favorite adventures are his new route climb on Alaska’s 17,400-foot Mount Foraker’s North Ridge in 1975. He named the ridge Archangel as a remembrance for his fallen climbing partner Gary Lukis.

His traverse of Alaska’s 16,390-foot Mount Blackburn in 1977 is a close second as a favorite adventure.

His second favorite major adventure was his ascent of 16,050-foot Vinson Massif in 1985, Antarctica’s highest peak.
With this climb, Gerry became the second person to have climbed Earth’s seven continent summits. 
He likes to joke that he was the first non-millionaire to achieve this feat.

Why He Always Chooses Adventures: 

Gerry learned as a young teenager that he was happiest on the rocks and in the high mountains. preferably both at the same time. Now, almost seven decades later, he still pursues his outdoor passions with all the energy that he can muster. 
Looking back across a lifetime of grand adventures, he has recently asked himself what adventure would he have sacrificed to put him in a better financial position today. His answer was an immediate and emphatic “None!"
Gerry jokes that he will climb K2 when he is 85. Who knows? He might actually go for it! 

Gerry is happy to promote Always Choose Adventures with gusto, since with today’s global environmental issues, we need to understand and bond with raw nature more than ever before. 

GERRY ROACH

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Favorite Adventures:

Hiking, camping, 4x4ing, skiing, snowshoeing and paddle boarding

Why She Always Chooses Adventures: 

Adventuring get’s her blood pumping and keeps her fit physically and healthy emotionally. She strives to build new and enduring relationships and encourage others to challenge themselves as they tackle new experiences and challenges together such as endurance competitions, climbing 14ers or rappelling 150 foot off arches into freezing cold pools of water!  Choosing adventures let’s us connect and help each other navigate through our individual challenges, share, renew and preserve all the amazing places, animals and people this beautiful world has to offer.

CASSANDRA ROBERTS

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Favorite Adventures:

Hiking is probably her number one, then camping. She is attending school to become an outdoor professional and her first back packing trips are with her class. Backpacking will most likely become her favorite because it combines her 2 favorite things in to one.

Why She Always Chooses Adventures:

Because choosing adventures is what she wants to do for a living. She has been hiking for the last 8 years and been getting more extreme over the last 4-5 years. Hiking and camping and being in nature keeps her happy and healthy. She also loves to take pictures of her adventures and would like to get better at using a “real” camera.

KRISTY ROGGEMAN

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Favorite Adventures:

Her Favorite adventures are when her husband and her pack up the dogs in the Jeep and just go. They head for the mountains and look for dirt roads. The best part is when you stumble upon a ridiculous camp site with an amazing view. She absolutely loves camping. Day hikes would be next on the list and really just being outside and listening to the sounds of nature. She is looking forward to learning more about rock climbing this year and fine tuning that skill.

 

 

Why She Always Chooses Adventures:

After moving to Colorado from Michigan and growing up in Florida, she realized all the things she was missing out on. Finding the mountains was like finding religion. Since that 1st time rock climbing in Golden she's been hooked. The outdoors is like therapy and helps feel more connected to the Earth. We are all flowers just trying to find the sun!

NATASHA SALEM-MCDOWELL

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Favorite Adventures:

ANYTHING! She says, "I don't like favorites because you get stuck doing the same things!" Camping, hiking, white water rafting, anything that scares her, comedy, cooking, traveling service work and being social just to name a few.

 

Why She Always Chooses Adventures:

She had a setback in 2011 when she crashed skiing and broke her back and developed asthma. For a while, she let the pain and lack of breathing hold her back from so much.  At the end of 2016, she put a focus on her personal happiness and said she would find adventure and she has. Her goal is to help others find the same happiness in whatever positive adventure they choose to get themselves active in. She loves that ACA provides tools, training, confidence, and assistance to people from all walks of life in order to try new things, learn new hobbies and grow as happy, healthy individuals.

BRITTANY SCHWARTZ

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Favorite Adventures:

Lara is always up for traveling and finding new places to explore. Her favorites activities include hiking, backpacking, cycling, kayaking, trail running and snowshoeing. 

 

Why She Always Chooses Adventures:

Since the age of 19, Lara has lived in Colorado 3 times. She has enjoyed many adventures over the years, including summiting 14ers, competing in triathlons, and taking on The Pikes Peak Ascent. After moving back to Colorado for good, she received some unexpected news and was diagnosed with breast cancer in January 2018. A month after undergoing a double mastectomy, she met up with Always Choose Adventures for a hike. "It was tough, as I had lost a lot of my strength and was completely out of breath. Everyone was so welcoming, and it was motivating to be around people who shared my passion for the outdoors." She continued to plan and pursue adventures, as it helped maintain her positive outlook. Her greatest accomplishments this past year have been summiting Mt. Evans with her son, backpacking Havasupai, and beating cancer. 

LARA SENG

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Favorite Adventures:

They are all so memorable! She loves camping, hiking, kayaking, SUPing, and off-roading but if she had to choose just one, it would be stargazing at Bishop Castle. Her husband took her to San Isabel before they were married, almost 25 years ago, and she fell in love. After they got married and had their kids they started taking them there too. Two years ago they were blessed to be able to purchase a cabin there. That area is beautiful, but the castle is MAGIC! When she is there she feels like she's in a fairy tale and anything is possible. Stargazing at the castle was so much fun. Being there with ACA was like being there with family. The live music, the friends the atmosphere it was beyond words. This is what adventuring is all about.

 

Why She Always Chooses Adventures:

Being outside makes her happy. Life is bogged down with stress and drama. When she is outside she feels peaceful, hopeful and whole. Now that she has had a taste of this contentment, she wants more! She wants to do all the adventures and she is so thankful she found this wonderful community to do adventures with. The second part of my why is that she never went on adventures. She was overweight, out of shape and isolated. She always felt like that was for other people, not her. She did a health program in January 2017 and she lost 60lbs. With my new health, she discovered that adventures are for her! She loves the challenge of hiking and meeting new people. 

STEPHANIE SOLORZANO

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Favorite Adventures:

Backpacking Machu Picchu, a bike and barge trip in the Netherlands, backcountry hut trips, backpacking Havasupai (Obviously! She's done it 12 times!), the Grand Canyon rim to rim, the Grand Tetons, and Yosemite National Park. As well as hiking, snowshoeing, and backpacking almost anywhere in Colorado! She loves to travel and experience the great outdoors with workout vacations being her favorite. She loves hiking by herself and with her dogs (her best adventure buddies!) and hiking with others. It was an amazing adventure fostering dogs also for a Rescue; She was able to help save lives and help these dogs experience love and find people who truly care about them.

 

Why She Always Chooses Adventures:

She loves experiencing new places, meeting new people, and sharing these experiences with others. Every new adventure is exciting and every new experience, even if it's on the same trail. She always find peace in the mountains. When life can get so crazy busy, a hike in the mountains, especially if there's a waterfall or stream involved, brings calm to her world and fills her soul.

JACKIE WILSON

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Favorite Adventures:

Climbing, backpacking, hiking... Really any adventure with her daughter Rylie! She inspires her to do more and to discover new sights!! From backpacking into the Grand Canyon to rock climbing in Colorado she'll always be her favorite adventure partner!

 

Why She Always Chooses Adventures:

Over 3 and a half years ago she was told by her doctor that in 6 months she would be in a wheelchair for the rest of her life. This was due to the column tumors in her spine that were growing and pushing on her nerves to make her legs go numb, and she was unable to walk. That night she asked her best friend to hike Pikes Peak with her; it was always on her bucket list, and it was now or never! Two days later she climbed that damn mountain, and never turned back!!! She's now an avid mountaineer and rock climber! To this day her doctors can't explain how her tumors have shrunk and are almost gone. She truly believes that the mountains and nature healed her, and continue to do so! It's her dream to see people healed by nature as she and many others have been!

ASHLEY BLAIR YEAGER