GREAT NEWS! We have reached over $2,000 raised for the student athletes at Rhodes Hall High in Jamaica, and the Coach has been able to purchase 40 new uniforms for the team! We are hoping to raise additional funds to purchase track spikes and shoes for competition and are closing in on $2,500!  , or read more about the kids and their incredible stories here. I am accepting new and gently used running apparel of all genders and sizes at: Danielle Cemprola, PO Box 26101, Greenville, SC 29616 until February 15, 2016!

I’ve got TWO exciting announcements in this post, but first, because I’m verbose and like the sound of my own voice, I’m going to tell you a little story. As a little girl growing up in South Florida, I didn’t see mountains at home. The closest we got to mountains, except for during trips in the summer, was a landfill about 10 miles from my house that we occasionally drove past on the highway. When we headed up to our family’s lake house in Upstate New York each year, though, the flat swamps gradually turned to rolling hills and then the gentle slopes of the Appalachian Mountains. They might not be the tallest mountains in the world, but to me, they were majestic.

“Running” up Mount Marathon in Seward, Alaska

Despite growing up by the beach, I’ve never been much of a beach person. Chalk it up to the extremely pale skin, perhaps, but I’ve always been much more interested in the mountains than the sand. So when my family purchased an RV and started taking summer-long trips when I was 11, I was (mostly) ecstatic to explore the Rockies, Sierra Nevada, Tetons, Cascades, Ozarks, and more across the U.S. – I mean, as ecstatic as any pre-teen confined to a 300 square foot space with her entire family for 2 months can possibly be.

So it is no surprise, perhaps, that as an adult I’ve continued to chase mountains in both my personal and professional life – the bigger the challenge, the better. AJ and I moved closer to the mountains last year when we moved a few hours away to Greenville, South Carolina. While I would have probably picked Wyoming or Colorado if it was up to me, Greenville is pretty great, too, and we’re a lot closer to the mountains of Western North Carolina and Northwest South Carolina than we used to be. We can actually hike here!

Not the most mountainous place ever, but better than where we were before.

While not all of my trips focus on seeking out the mountains and trekking, many of them do. That’s a big part of the reason why AJ and I headed to Argentina last year for our honeymoon – we love hiking and wanted to experience the beauty of Patagonia. I left there fully understanding why someone would name a clothing brand after the place – it really is that breathtaking.

Hiking in El Chalten, Patagonia, Argentina

I tell you all of this for the purposes of a segway for two big announcements! Yes, we’ve got exciting mountain-related things happening over here at T-Rex Runner. First, I have been selected as an ambassador for Kühl outdoor clothing and apparel! My introductory ambassador post for their website can be found here, and you’ll find out exactly why this company so perfectly suits my lifestyle. Kühl is all about mountain culture, and just perusing the website, it’s easy to see what mountain culture means to the company: “At Kühl, the passion remains to get outdoors and have fun. Kühl is what it means to be comfortable and relaxed in the challenging environment of life and sport. Kühl means creating the best environment for you and knowing the importance of following your own beliefs and desires.”

kuhl_mountaingrown-jpg-pagespeed-ce_-rhd4zlqswc-2I love that because life and sport are challenging environments, and we all have our own goals, desires, and beliefs. It makes sense that we would want to be as comfortable as possible in pursuit of our own adventures, whatever they may be! And that’s why I reached out to Kühl to ask if I could join their team. I just like what they’re about, and I like their clothes! Stay tuned for the occasional product mention and review, some giveaways, and a lot of fun adventures in the mountains as part of my ambassadorship!

And now, for the next big announcement! After trekking the Inca Trail a few years ago, I was completely bitten by the multi-day trek bug. I had gone hiking hundreds of times, but this was totally different – I saw the world and the people around me in a whole new way over those four days.

Me, Amanda, and our trekking group at the highest point on the trail – about 14,000 feet

I had always wanted to visit Nepal, but hiking the Inca Trail cemented for sure that I wanted to go on a long trek there one day. As you know, I set a trip to Nepal as my main travel goal for this year and resolved to live with intention in order to achieve that goal. I refuse to take no for an answer. So, you guys? I booked a trek in Nepal a couple weeks ago.

“The mountains are calling and I must go.” – John Muir. Himalayas, here I come!

I decided that I needed to stop worrying about it and just do it. I have already done the research, picked a company, and paid for the two-week trek – I’ll be going in October! All I need to do now is book my flight, and I’ve been psychotically stalking flight prices across a variety of apps for a couple months now. I’ll be booking in the next week or two! I ultimately decided that this was too important to me to leave to chance. I need to put my money where my mouth is and put the work in to make sure it all works out, and you know what? It will. You guys, it’s going to happen. I’m going to Nepal. I can’t wait to live mountain culture and put my Kühl gear through its paces in Nepal. Let’s do it!

LEAVE A COMMENT: What’s your favorite outdoor gear company? Is there any trip you’re dying to book for this year?

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