WAYMARK AMBASSADOR Jennifer mabus "The Whimsical Woman"
In this Hiker Spotlight, we interview Waymark Ambassador Jennifer Mabus to learn more about who she is, her hiking plans for 2018, and what she is involved in.
Here is the conversation
What do you currently do for a living and how did you get into this field?
J.M: I am a Mechanical Engineer for the Department of Defense, working on our nuclear submarine fleet. I originally didn’t plan to end up here, but you know how life goes, it takes you to places you never imagined, and now here I am!
What Trail are you hiking for your upcoming thru-hike, and why did you choose this trail?
J.M: I am thru-hiking the Pacific Crest Trail. I chose the PCT because I currently live in Seattle, WA and have come across some portions of the trail and have been blown away by the beauty. Plus, my friends live close so they better meet me along the trail and give me food and beer.
How do you plan on dealing with the challenges on the PCT for 2018, specifically the fire damaged areas and possible reroutes or closures?
J.M: I plan to face all challenges head-on! I am not worried about the closures right now, but when I get there I will make the best decision for myself at that moment. I do plan on walking every single mile possible with no jumping ahead or skipping any sections. Hopefully the re-routes will all be figured out, or else you will be seeing some strange, smelly woman walking on the highway.
What will be your starting base weight at the beginning of your trip (all carried weight in your pack, minus consumables like water, food and fuel)? What will your max weight be with everything?
J.M: I have yet to weigh all of my gear, but my rough estimate will have me sitting at a 10lb base weight. I still think I will be able to shave a couple pounds off, so stay tuned! As for my max weight, I imagine the desert portion with long stretches of no water will have me at my heaviest. 1 liter of water weighs 2.2lbs, so I imagine I will be carrying around 15lbs (or more) of just water at times! With food, my pack may be pushing 30lbs+. I better get in shape!
What are the Top 3 pieces of gear you can’t live without?
J.M: My tent, sleeping bag, and water filter.
What Luxury items will you be carrying that aren’t critical to your survival or safety?
J.M: I will carry a journal to take daily notes in along with my Sony a6300 camera (naturally). Get ready for some mediocre blogging and videography!
Name 1 thing you will miss most about leaving civilization for your hike.
J.M: Sleeping in a comfy, warm bed every night!
What skill you would like to learn that would help you on the trail?
J.M: I am hoping to take an avalanche and self-arresting course, just in case…
What is 1 personal strength you feel will help you most on the trail?
J.M: One of my best strengths is the ability to adapt in any situation. I problem solve for a living and I find unexpected change and disasters just part of the adventure!
What is 1 personal weakness that will conflict with this strength?
J.M: I am not planning much of this hike. I am not doing any re-supplies and am not mapping out how many miles I want to do every day, etc. This could totally work, or make some moments a bit disastrous. If so, refer to my strength of adapting and figuring it out on the fly!
Name 1 person, a trail celebrity or other, who has inspired you most to get on the trail.
J.M: The younger version of myself inspired me to do this. I have grown so much as a person these past couple of years and I never EVER thought I was capable to even attempt a thru-hike like this. I have learned to not put boundaries and limits on myself anymore (or at least recognize when I start to and STOP), and I have discovered how alive I feel outdoors! This thru-hike just makes sense.
Name 1 person you’d like to meet on the trail.
J.M: Jupiter ;)
Name 1 animal you have seen or would most like to see on the trail.
J.M: I would really enjoy seeing a unicorn, but we’ll see if I’m that lucky. If not, some friendly bears would be nice.
What can we learn from hiking in the wilderness?
J.M: I can’t speak for everyone, but I definitely think the wilderness provides perspective and helps bring us humans calmer thoughts. Nature is so beautiful that it’s sometimes shocking, and I really think that has a way of humbling us. We can let that ego go and learn to appreciate something way bigger than ourselves, but yet still feel connected to that beauty.
What lessons can we take from the wilderness, and how can we apply them to Urban life?
J.M: The whole Leave No Trace concept can be applied to our normal day-to-day lives as well. It’s the idea to always leave a place you were the same OR BETTER than you found it. We can do that with not only landscape and the environment, but with people as well. We can learn to take care of everything we touch.
Are you looking more for solitude or for a social experience on the trail?
J.M: I am looking for a mix of both. I enjoy being alone and know I will want those moments of walking by myself on trails or setting up camp and having the stars to myself. But the trail community is quite incredible and I am most excited to meet so many different people. Making a life long friend or two won’t hurt. :)
You are involved with Mountain Chicks, in a paragraph or less tell us what that is and what it means to you.
J.M: Mountain Chicks is an all-inclusive hiking community (male, female, dogs, etc.) and all are welcome, but the events are created and planned by women. I am an ambassador for Mountain Chicks and love being apart of a community that builds up and encourages other women. More and more of these groups are popping up and it’s so incredible to see. This is important because as we get older, sometimes making new friends is hard, and this community has given myself and others the ability to meet life-long friends. We plan events that attract all shapes, sizes, and ages, and strive to get as many people outside as possible. The outdoors are healing and so very therapeutic, and we want to make sure as many people have a resource for something like that as possible.
How can more people get involved in this project / organization?
J.M: Mountain Chicks can be found on Instagram @mtnchicks where you can find information on how to join a chapter based on your location. For the PNW, I also post upcoming hikes I am planning, so following me @thewhimsicalwoman can give people information about hikes in the Seattle area as well.
You have got a Youtube channel, it looks like you are quite an adventurer! What was your favorite trip you’ve been on and why?
J.M: Without a doubt, Iceland was one of the best trips I have ever taken! If you love incredible tasting food and adventure, this is the country to visit. My friend and I went snowmobiling on glaciers, ice climbing, dog sledding, and glacier hiking. We soaked in hot springs, saw the Northern Lights again and again, and ate some of the best food we have ever eaten. The people were kind and interesting and the nightlife was so much fun. I will be going back if anyone wants to join?
You were recently on the Cascade Hiker Podcast episode 075, have you been approached by any other podcasts or magazines?
Name 1 podcast or magazine you’d like to be featured on.
How we can connect with you and your organizations on all of your social networks?
J.M: Instagram is the best way to follow my adventures and contact me. My handle is @thewhimsicalwoman. Another option is that I have a blog at www.thewhimsicalwoman.com that is all things outdoor, travel, and adventure. I am currently re-doing my site, so stay tuned! I will also be vlogging my Pacific Crest Trail hike and would love for anyone interested to subscribe! You can search for Jennifer Mabus and take your pick on which Jennifer Mabus to choose from (there are two, so good luck). Finally, I am honored to have been chosen to be a blogger for The Trek! It’s an honor to be working with them and being able to document this part of my life with their fans.
"Thank you Mark (and Waymark Gear Co.) for helping me on my biggest adventure yet. The beautiful pack you made me is one of the most vital elements to my trek and I am so thankful for you giving that to me. I hope to make the pack proud by making it all 2,650 miles, with both of us still in one piece."