Meet Amanda, a first term Wild Keeper who is based in Salt Lake City, Utah! Amanda has loved the outdoors from a young age, being introduced to nature by her family, but within the last year she has enjoyed sharing about her Cerebral Palsy and the outdoors being for ALL ABILI. Amanda says her favorite way to get outside is "any adventure outdoors with my daughter and husband - hiking, sunrises, sunsets, camping and most of all visiting national and state parks!"
We asked Amanda to share more with us about her experience getting outdoors with Cerebral Palsy. She shared that she has "felt many times forgotten because we all have different abilities. I think it would be cool to start a part of this community talking about all abilities in the outdoors and travel." Amanda confided that "some barriers I feel there are in the disability or having different abilities in the outdoors are the resources- often trails are not well maintained and even wheelchair accessible trails. So it's another barrier to get outdoors when people want or have access to adaptive sports like mountain biking , skiing , etc. Equipment for this is usually a lot more expensive than regular "abled" equipment. Its sometimes hard living in a world that seems to be more accessible to other bodies."
Amanda explained that she is in a wheelchair part time, "so I have seen it on both sides of the spectrum of feeling like an outcast in the outdoors community because I cant hike these "easy" hikes that people say they are or an outcast in the wheelchair community because I am not in a wheelchair full time so I don't completely understand. I think the biggest awareness we can bring is that getting outside is getting outside. We all have our different abilities and challenging ourselves and our own abilities is what it's all about. I have tried to use other language when it comes to talking about trails being easy, hard or moderate because we all have our own abilities.
I talk about it in a way saying this trail was "easy for ME" not just saying "oh this trail is sooooo easy." I also understand that people usually mean the best when they talk about these things but being aware that something may be different for me and vice versa. This is actually why I created a challenge for anyone to join called the ALL ABILITIES CHALLENGE on my blog and page. It's getting outdoors anyway you can based on your abilities once a week. So if that is sitting outside in the sun with a coffee, hiking a trail, biking, visiting an outdoor playground, etc. No matter what you do it is challenging your own abilities."
She went on to share that one of her most memorable outdoor experiences was hiking delicate arch. "I call it my blood sweat and tears trail. I really never thought I could make it to this gorgeous arch and it was always a dream since loving the national parks so much and being from Utah. I got up at 3 am and hiked it for sunrise. There were literally 10 people there which is very unlikely with it being such a popular trail. Everyone was quiet and still while watching the sunrise. It was a huge accomplishment for me. There are times in my life that my body can do things and times my body can't do things. That is how my cerebral palsy is. It is so different for everyone. It was my blood sweat and tears trail that I will never ever forget."
Learn more about Amanda
and Wild Keeping below!
Keep Nature Wild: What is a trail snack you can't go without?
Amanda: A snack I can’t go without on a outdoor adventure is my dads homemade jerky or Swedish fish
KNW: Which would you prefer between mountains, forests or desert?
What is your favorite thing about being a Wild Keeper?
The community and motivation I gain in keeping this world a beautiful place
What has picking up trash outdoors done for you?
Taught me how much I want to teach my daughter to keep nature wild so she can enjoy it when she grows up.
Roughly how many pounds do you think you've picked up since you became a Wild Keeper?
KNW: What goals do you have for this year? (or beyond?)
Giving back by sharing more leave no trace , teaching my daughter keeping nature wild, and sharing more on the world being a more accessible place for all abilities in the outdoors and travel