Brooke Gaynes and I became acquainted when she began liking a lot of my photos on Instagram. In turn, I noticed her and her husband’s pictures were pretty incredible and awe inspiring. I added her on Facebook and she was more than happy to answer a few questions that I threw at her. Her story is pretty great:
She was born and raised here in Salt Lake City and considered San Fransisco as a place to live after she graduated. She started skiing here and realized Utah was the place to be.
Growing up in Utah, her family spent some time outdoors, but not anything close to the amount that she does now. In fact, they think she is a little bit crazy for doing what she does; hiking, skiing, and mountain biking.
“After I graduated from college, and had some money, I really began exploring Utah the way I should have my whole life. After I married John Gaynes, 5.5 years ago, I began climbing, skiing, and REALLY mountain biking. Holy shit it’s addictive.”
Her husband played a big part in changing the way she viewed the mountains of Utah. He grew up in New York and the Wasatch and Uinta mountain ranges completely blew him away. With that new perspective, Brooke eyes were opened to privilege that living so close to these beautiful peaks really is. And she began to take full advantage.
Brooke has a “work hard, play hard” mentality. She manages a full time job at the University of Utah doing research in the medical department studying the functionality of the eye. As long as her experiments get completed, she is able to move her hours around as she pleases. This makes it possible for her to ski and adventure as much as she does. She say, “I ski all day, work all night.”
She has recently felt the most physically challenged when she hiked Timpanogos Peak at midnight to get to the summit for sunrise. This is a fairly common, but difficult and incredibly rewarding feat here in Utah. 16+ miles in the middle of the night begins to wear on your state of mind.
Brooke has been adventuring for about 5 years, which she feels is a fairly short time, maybe compared to some of the other locals. She is hooked on it though and says that she is proof that “even the biggest baby can have fun and challenge themselves outdoors.”
Here comes a list of her favorites… Are you ready?
Rock Climbing Spot: Notch Lake in the High Uintas
Skiing: Little Cottonwood Canyon
Hike: To the summit of Pfeifferhorn (Trailhead is also up Little Cottonwood Canyon)
One of the most dangerous situations that Brooke has been is was on the way up to Pfeifferhorn peak. A storm rolled in on the knife ridge just before the last bit of the hike. They continued to the top, despite the storm. Their hiking poles started making clicking noises, their hair began to stand up on end, and they felt a tingling feeling on the bottoms of their feet. She realized that getting to the top here probably wasn’t the best idea.
Her advice to people new to the outdoors is awesome: She says that even though a new sport can be frustrating and intimidating at first, you should just jump right in because the more experience you get, the better you will become.
My favorite part of her advice is something I find myself struggling with sometimes. It was nice to be reminded of it: “I also think it’s important to remember to have fun. Sometimes it’s easy to get so caught up in goals and pushing ourselves that we forget what it’s really all about.”
It was really fun getting to read what Brooke loves about Utah and the outdoors. If you are interested in seeing some of her and her husband’s awesome adventure photos check her out on Instagram: @brookegaynes