Meet the Mountain Found Maker - Part 1
The face and story behind the creations:
Due to the number of new blog subscribers, I thought I’d do a mini-series on the creation of Mountain Found and the maker behind it. It will give you a bit more information than the traditional “About” page, and will explain what inspires me in the creation process.
So, I would like to introduce myself for all the new subscribers. My name is Kerry, and I currently live in the mountains of Arizona where I have been for the last 32 years. I moved here (sight unseen) from New Hampshire to attend Prescott College, and stayed to raise a family.
To understand all that, we need to go back in time. Some of you (reading this) have been around here for a long time. This blog has been online for nearly 12 years in one form or another, and some of you have been here that long! You know who you are. THANK YOU!
Let the adventures begin…..
When I was 10 years old, I got a horse, and from that day on I spent afternoons and summers riding solo through the forests and countryside around my small town in New Hampshire. I had a small group of close friends, but often choose to spend my time alone in the barn or riding. Horses were my first love. Before boys or backpacking or rock climbing, there were horses!
One summer, when I was 19 years old, I walked 600 miles on the Appalachian Trail. It was the first best thing I did for myself, and probably the most life-changing event to date (aside from raising three children.) I spent three months alone, and although I didn’t think it was strange, others did. I know, now, that women have been backpacking, traveling, and adventuring solo for many years. (Check out Emma Gatewood, who was the first solo female hiker on the Appalachian Trail (1955, 1960, 1963.) The book about her life Grandma Gatewood's Walk: The Inspiring Story of the Woman Who Saved the Appalachian Trail is an engaging read. But apparently, in the early 80s my circle of friends and family in New England, hadn’t read about Grandma Gatewood, and a solo young woman hiker wasn’t exactly the norm. I didn’t think much about it; I was just being me, doing what I felt like doing, and figuring out who I was.
On the Appalachian Trail in 1985, I met very few solitary hikers. All men. If I met a woman at all, she was with her boyfriend, or in a mixed group. I saw no all-female groups either. A couple of the male groups I encountered offered to absorb me into their hiking group. “For safety,” of course. I politely declined, and continued on my way. For anyone who has hiked on the Appalachian Trail, you will understand that to get away from others on the trail, you either have to get up early and hike an extra day ahead, or hang back and take a rest day (swimming, journaling, exploring, sleeping.) Groups tended to clump together due to the strategically placed hiker shelters which (at least back then) most people used. If you had your own tent or bivvy, you could stop nearly anywhere you liked.
The next three summers, I returned and walked the “hundred-mile wilderness” between Baxter State Park and Monson, Maine; an uninterrupted section of the Appalachian Trail with no resupply points or roads.
During the summer of 1988, I worked as a backcountry caretaker for the GMC on the Long Trail/Appalachian Trail. This consisted of living in a wall tent on the shore of Griffith Lake in Vermont for three months and taking care of a 10-20 mile section of trail during the day. Although I spent nights and workdays alone, I did meet the occasional hiker (or the neighboring caretaker from Little Rock Pond) for coffee, shared stories, and swims. p.s. Thanks, Erik.
So, for the record, if you haven’t already guessed, I am an introvert. Although the introversion/extroversion spectrum is getting a lot of attention these days, it is still misunderstood. Everybody is somewhere on the spectrum; some can be dead center (ambiverts) but most of us lean toward one side or the other. Extroversion is more common in this country, but in many Asian countries introversion is more common. Introverts are not antisocial, misanthropic, or shy. (Although any of those traits can coexist.) Being an introvert generally means we are energized by solitude and quiet. We find joy in doing things alone or with one or two other people. And although we can have deep connections with people, most of us don’t care for crowds. We don’t like conflict or chaos. I thought it was a given; I thought nobody liked conflict and chaos, but I have learned that some people actually become energized and thrive in these environments! If you are interested in this topic, here are a couple good books on the subject: Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain The Thriving Introvert: Embrace the Gift of Introversion and Live the Life You Were Meant to Live by Thibaut Meurisse, The Awakened Introvert: Practical Mindfulness Skills to Help You Maximize Your Strengths and Thrive in a Loud and Crazy World by Arnie Kozak, Solitude: In Pursuit of a Singular Life in a Crowded World by Michael Harris
The meaning of the name Mountain Found ?
many of the materials I use in my jewelry are found in the mountains: deer and elk antlers, unique wood, stones, bullet shells, etc.
throughout my life, I often found myself (physically) in the mountains: drawn to them; deeply inspired by them.
when I went to the mountains alone at age 19, I really found “myself” (who I truly was/am/continue to become.)
Again and again, when I go to the mountains I feel at peace, joyous, whole, and found! Yay. Also, able to pass that inspiration on to YOU, whoever and wherever you are.
p.s. stay tuned for Part 2