Earlier this year, we introduced you to our 2019 #SheAdventures scholarship winner, Jasmine Stammes. And just this last week, she found herself at the base of Mt. Rainier – ready to take off on her well-earned scholarship trip.
We’ll let Jasmine tell her story in her own words. Read on to hear how Jasmine encompasses the #SheAdventures spirit to the fullest.
What inspired you to apply for the #SheAdventures scholarship?
The truth is that when I applied, I wanted to reclaim my sense of agency and confidence in the outdoors. I had gone through a pretty traumatic experience related to my identity as a black woman outdoors and I wanted to do the bravest and most ambitious thing I could do in a world that didn’t always let me feel a part of it. I was inspired by the mission to be adventurous and brave. And I was inspired by how much the mountain stood as a physical metaphor for so many things in my life at that moment.
How did your Rainier trip live up to expectations?
Rainier or Madame Tacoma(as she is henceforth known by me) is not a lady to be trifled with. I knew the experience was going to transform me. In fact for a month anticipating the climb I labeled my life in terms of pre and post mountain. I established Madame Tacoma as a sort of dividing point. She lived up to all my best hopes and worst nightmares. She was difficult and beautiful. And ultimately as I descended the mountain I knew that I had offered myself a truly sacred experience. Whether or not I did it again didn’t matter. I had climbed above the clouds and that was something I could not have even begun to understand and describe pre-mountain.
What was the most challenging thing about your trip?
We would all like to imagine that faced with challenge our first response would be to persevere. Truth is in the first 50 feet of climbing, I brilliantly miss stepped and pulled a muscle in the back of my leg. For about one hour I was in excruciating pain and all I had was more mountain and more challenge ahead. I truly wanted to end it all there. Months of prep and I almost ended it after a few hundred feet. In the end after being on the brink of tears I continued because of the encouragement of every single guide and my husband. I went slow and I made it. But the physical challenge especially after my initial hurt gutted me and was a challenge to put it lightly.
What was your favorite part about the trip?
There is one moment you absolutely cannot take back. It is the moment after the hours of climb when you reach the end. When you turn around and though your legs and feet hurt there is an absolutely breath-taking moment. You are literally above the clouds and you can see for miles and miles beyond. The view can’t be bottled and sold. It can only be experienced. This was my favorite moment.
What advice would you give to other #SheAdventures applicants in the future?
Don’t be intimidated by your skill level or background but certainly know that if you are coming from a nontraditional background like I did you have to put in significant effort to get the best out of the opportunity and experience.
Your plus one is absolutely key. This experience would have meant nothing and in the end been nothing without my plus one who happened to be my husband. Experience this with someone who can encourage you and support you. For me life is about the shared moments and this is no different.