Photo by National Geographic photographer, Kenneth Garrett.
For a lot of people, it’s mountains or oceans. For Annie, it’s both. Raised in Tacoma, Washington, the mountains and the surrounding sea were a singular habitat for her. And nature in general was as familiar and welcoming to her as the contours of her own house. After all, her first tent-dwelling experiences began at the tender age of six weeks old.
A Pacific Northwesterner at the cellular level, Annie grew up with a love for adventuring and the great outdoors.
Needless to say, she did not opt to attend college in New York City— she chose Alaska, where she forged an even stronger bond with untamed beauty and wildness. Travel with her on National Geographic Venture in Alaska this June, or join her on National Geographic Orion when it heads to Katmai and Kamchatka this July, and you will see a natural-born leader in her natural element.
Steeped in the science as well as the natural beauty of the wilderness, Annie spent years as a research assistant on Kodiak Island, Alaska. She has taught outdoor education, conservation, and guiding in places like Catalina Island, Denali National Park, and Olympic National Park. She transitioned into small ship exploration in 2012 and has not yearned for terra firma since.
Annie’s bona fides include exploring the natural world kayaking, running, backpacking and climbing—a few years ago, she summited Mt Shuksan in the Cascades (9,131 ft in elevation). Annie also has, surprisingly or not, a definite domestic side. She loves to cook, do yoga, and curl up with a cup of tea and a good book.
We celebrate Annie as a leader, a genuine citizen of the natural world, and for her passionate desire, and advocacy, for finding true moments in nature wherever she may be—in a city or on a mountain top. We salute her for inspiring us, and all who travel with her, to indulge our sense of wonder and share the exhilaration of discovering the unexpected.
Why do you explore?
I love exploring because I enjoy spending time with a foot outside of my comfort zone, pushing my own limits and normal routine. If I am exploring a city, I enjoy learning about its culture and history, as well as local food. I also make it a point to visit a green space within each urban area, taking time to simply observe. Outside of the city I enjoy pushing my boundaries of endurance and fortitude in taking on outdoor challenges like mountain climbing or long treks. I’m not in it to bag peaks, but to hear what a mountain or river has to say.
What is your favorite Lindblad destination?
For the past 8 years I have worked in Southeast Alaska, and to this day I don’t think I would want miss a season (but I’m biased having lived there as well)!
What’s a dream exploration you haven’t done . . . yet?
South Georgia and the Falklands on a Lindblad-National Geographic ship! Otherwise, I think my next big trek is the Annapurna Circuit or Kilimanjaro (whichever I can get to first)!
Name a female hero(es) and why?
Rachel Carson for reigniting and continuing to sustain my own sense of wonder. (I actually read a small section of her book, The Sense of Wonder, to our guests on each expedition I lead.)
What’s your advice for the next generation of women explorers?
There are so many amazing opportunities out there. Take advantage of every single opportunity that comes your way and don’t hesitate to make your own as needed. Sometimes the paths we forge on our own are our best adventures!
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