10 Essential Questions: Alicia Pierce

Meet Alicia Pierce, a paralegal and hiker who was given the "Golden Towel" Award for pushing through inclement weather with a smile during her Sea Kayaking course.
The Mountaineers The Mountaineers
September 11, 2020

Each week we bring you a personal story from one of our members. For our member profile this week we talked to...

Name: Alicia Pierce
Hometown: Air Force Brat. Grew up all over the U.S.
Member Since: September 2017
Occupation: Paralegal 
Favorite Activities: Hiking, snowshoeing, gravel cycling

10 Essentials: Questions

How did you get involved with The Mountaineers?

I first started hiking in 2017 and wanted to learn all about how to safely explore the outdoors and connect with the outdoor community, so I joined The Mountaineers.

What motivates you to Get outside with us? 

The passion that The Mountaineers has for developing conservation champions, recreating safely and responsibly, and striving towards an inclusive and equitable outdoors so that we can all enjoy, and feel safe, in the wilderness. I'm a black woman and did not grow up camping, hiking, or exploring the outdoors. I'll be 45 years old this year and only started exploring the outdoors 3.5 years ago. Since then, I've gone hiking, backpacking, snowshoeing, and kayaking, and I'm in love with the outdoors. It's never too late to start, and the outdoors is for all.

What's your favorite mountaineers memory?

One of my greatest fears is drowning, so I decided to face my fears and sign up for the sea kayaking course with The Mountaineers. We had one full day in the classroom, and the next day we practiced strapping ourselves into the kayak in a sprayskirt and getting flipped over underwater (which honestly, I did not enjoy). But I decided to continue on to the open water instruction at American Lake the next weekend. At American Lake it was 40 degrees, gray, and windy. Not ideal for my first day ever on the water. After completing wet exits from the kayak in freezing water and battling white caps, wind, and rain, all outside my comfort zone, I safely made it back to shore. Still fearful, I determined to go back the next day for the second day of instruction at the lake. After completing the second lake day, a six-hour paddle at Port Gamble, and a six-hour paddle at Quartermaster Harbor near Vashon, I graduated from the Sea Kayaking Course. I earned the Golden Towel award for persevering through fear and awful weather conditions while maintaining a good attitude, and would not have completed the course without the expert instruction, encouragement, sense of humor, and kindness of the Tacoma Branch Sea Kayaking Instructors. Truly an awesome group of people!

Who/What Inspires You?

I’m inspired by all of the BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, people of color), and LGBTQ folks who are out enjoying the outdoors and advocating for an inclusive and safe place for us all. As a member of The Mountaineers Diversity & Equity Steering Committee, I’m excited to help further these efforts to break down barriers and make the outdoors a place of sanctuary and peace for us all.

As a donor and volunteer-supported organization, The Mountaineers is based on community support. How have you paid it forward, or how have you benefited from someone else paying it forward?

I'm a Steering Committee Member of the Equity and Inclusion Committee to help make the outdoors an inclusive place for all. Being in nature is relaxing and restorative and provides me with so much joy. I want to make sure that the outdoors is a place where everyone has the opportunity to enjoy nature and have positive experience.

What does adventure mean to you? 

Adventure means experiencing the beauty in nature all around us, from the smells of the forest to the sounds of the wind through the trees and the water in the lakes and streams, the glimpse of wildlife, and the magnificent views. Adventure is about getting outside your comfort zone, connecting with people in the outdoors, and appreciating the natural world.

Lightning Round
Sunrise or sunset? Sunset

What's your 11th essential? Dog hair 
What's your happy place? A quiet place in the forest where I hear the sounds of nature 
Post-adventure meal of choice? Pizza and beer 
If you could be a rockstar at any outdoor activity overnight, what would it be? Ultra running

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    Lead Image of Harry’s Ridge at Mount St. Helens, June 2019. Photo courtesy of Alicia Pierce.


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    Ginger Sarver
    Ginger Sarver says:
    Aug 01, 2020 07:30 AM

    Yay Maxine! Your rock!!