10 Essential Questions: Dori Gillam

Meet Dori Gillam, a 12-year member and Seattle-local who has climbed Kilimanjaro but thinks you can find adventure anywhere, like a Pop-Up Choir at Pike Place Market!
The Mountaineers The Mountaineers
February 08, 2019
10 Essential Questions: Dori Gillam
Photo courtesy of Dori Gilam.

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

Name: Dori Gillam
Hometown: Seattle, WA
Member Since: March 2007
Occupation: Speaker & Writer
Favorite Activities: Hiking, walking, trekking

10 Essentials: Questions

How did you get involved with The Mountaineers?

I wanted to hike more and was tired of hiking alone! I am fortunate to have abundant wonderful friends, however, few of them will hike for more than 5-6 miles. So I joined to take Conditioning Hiking Series (CHS) and since I'm single, I  wanted to meet people doing a sport I love.

What motivates you to get outside with us?

The great CHS hike leaders, the hikes they select, and the terrific people I meet on every hike.

What's your favorite Mountaineers memory?

Hiking Around Mother Mountain with Steve Payne in 2015 on our CHS Graduation Hike is a cherished experience. The varied views, changing topography, flowers, and the way each hiker inspired every other hiker, was special.

Who/What inspires you?

Inspiration comes to me each day from multiple directions: engaging with people through hiking, building houses with Habitat for Humanity, encouraging people to talk about about having fun while they age, and trying new experiences, like a Pop-Up Choir at Pike Place Market. Jump in to life!

What does adventure mean to you?

Adventure means pushing the envelope a bit; to stretch. It doesn't have to involve danger, however, some people think that my summits of Mt. Rainier, then Kilimanjaro (at age 63) put me in the "brave" category. There are so many kinds of adventure, I love the outdoors and standing on the top of a ridge, mountain or lookout knowing that I used my strength, resilience, and tenacity to keep trekking until I was at the top. 

Building houses in small villages in Zambia, India, Central America, and China seems adventurous to some, but those trips were merely inspiring and educational for me, not in the "adventurous" category. The fact that I'm a public speaker terrifies most people! Adventure means stretching myself - being open to new learning, new settings, and thrills, whether that's physically or emotionally. I'm not very adventurous with my finances - no casinos, following wild stock tips, or investing in startups.

Resilience is my new skill. After a freak fall on the sidewalk in 2017, during which I broke my humerus in two places, herniated 4 disks in my neck and suffered spinal cord injury, I understand the adventure in conquering child-proof pain med containers, regaining the confidence to walk carefully through the house in the dark to the bathroom, and sleeping sitting up for 4 months. My friends love to say, "You can summit Kilimanjaro, but you can't walk down the street?" True, but there are many adventures in life; many lessons; many more mountains to climb.

Lightning Round
Sunrise or sunset? Sunset.
Smile or game face? Belly laugh and smile!
What's your happy place? The woods; preferably on top of a hill.
Post-adventure meal of choice? Medium-rare burger and sweet-potato fries.
If you could be a rock star at any outdoor activity overnight, what would it be? Master at walking on sidewalks. 

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