Wildway Crew Stories: Amy Mandrell (Hiking)

Wildway Crew Stories: Amy Mandrell (Hiking)

Our Wildway Crew highlights ordinary people doing extraordinary things.

Within each of us lies the potential to live life to the fullest. We have the ability to choose our own destiny, live without fear or limits, challenge ourselves and grow, do and be whatever makes us happy. We have the ability to be free. It's how you live a Wildway of life and there are people all around us inspiring others with their actions. We want to celebrate that by highlighting and honoring those who  #LiveWild.

Meet our newest Wildway Crew member:

Amy Mandrell

Holland, MI

Wildway of Life = Hiking + Photography

Favorite quote"We live in a wonderful world that is full of beauty, charm and adventure. There is no end to the adventures that we can have if only we seek them with our eyes open." ~Jawaharlal Nehru

Here's Amy's story in her own words: 

"My Wildway of life is being active in the outdoors as often as I can, and inspiring others to do the same through my photography.
I was fortunate to grow up in a family that visited national parks every summer and went skiing out West every winter. My parents had me active from a young age – playing sports, ballet, skiing, rock climbing, and ice skating, to name a few activities. I learned to ski at the age of three, and by the time I was 12, I decided I needed a new challenge – so I picked up snowboarding. While I can’t remember learning to ski, I can clearly remember taking my first snowboard lessons in Jackson Hole, Wyoming while overlooking the Grand Tetons. Growing up, we used to go ice skating every Sunday. The many activities I did as a kid narrowed into playing club soccer, running cross country, and being on the varsity swim team in high school. In college, I turned this passion for active living to the outdoors, and hiking became my favorite pastime.

During my senior year of college, I spent a semester abroad in New Zealand. Although I’d visited plenty of mountains and grew up skiing, I had never actually climbed a mountain. I went on what was a “beginners” hike put on by the university’s tramping club. This “beginners” hike turned out to be anyone else’s advanced hike – we spent 8 hours hiking up to a mountain peak, where we built snow caves for our tents and spent the night. I was not prepared for the climb at all – it was my first time using crampons and an ice axe; I brought all of the wrong foods - bagels and dry cereal, and fruit – not dense or high in calories at all; I threw my spare clothes on top of my sweaty ones thinking it’d make me warmer, despite what I was told; my new sleeping mat that I had purchased the day before had a hole in it because I forgot to test it out beforehand; my new but broken in hiking boots ended up with a tear along the sole; and finally, at the last minute before the buses took off, I found out the guy from my study abroad group who was meant to bring our tent backed out – so I hiked the mountain with the hopes someone could squeeze me in. I ended up spending the night as person number three in a two person tent with guys I didn’t know, and as you may have guessed – I ended up with hypothermia.
After finally making, it through the night I told myself I would never hike another mountain, yet I went on the climb at least seven more during my time abroad. Since then, that number has at least tripled. My photos from this climb are some of my favorite to date, and that’s where my passion for sharing my photos of the outdoors began.

Currently I work a full-time 9 to 5 job, but my passion has always been to inspire others through my photography – I grew up believing travel, adventures, and photography went hand in hand. Since being outdoors has always given me a feeling of freedom and presence, I have an environmental/ecological engineering degree with a focus on water quality, sustainability, and natural resources - I want to ensure future generations are able to enjoy the outdoors as much as we do! 
Future endeavors of mine include eventually road tripping the USA, backpacking Europe, and hiking the PCT/AT/John Muir Trail with my husband Christian and our husky Riley."


Follow Amy's journey by checking out her links below:

Instagram: @_amyadventures