10 Essential Questions: Masako Nair

Read about Masako Nair, a hiker who enjoys the ultimate sense of freedom from getting outside.
Kristina Ciari Kristina Ciari
March 13, 2015

For our member profile this week we spoke to Masako Nair, a Hiker, Snowshoer, Mountain Biker, and Account Manager from Japan, about what adventure means to her.

Name: Masako Nair
Hometown: Sendai, Japan
Member Since: 2001
Occupation: Account Manager
Favorite Activities: Hiking, Snoshoeing, Mountain biking

10 Essential Questions

How did you get involved with The Mountaineers?
My ex-boyfriend gave me a copy of his Mountaineers magazine as a farewell gift. It turned out to be the coolest gift I ever received from him. I joined the Mountaineers the next day and started signing up for hikes to turn a new page of my life. The Mountaineers’ hikes not only gave me physical conditioning that I craved at the time, but also an ultimate sense of freedom and enjoyment outside my existing world. After a year, I met my current husband (Tim Nair) on a Mountaineers’ hike. Fourteen years later, we still hike together every weekend and continue to enjoy the great outdoor life in the Northwest.
What motivates you to volunteer with us?
Teaching is the best form of learning. I lead/co-lead hikes and occasionally volunteer to be a navigation instructor to maintain my current skill levels. But more to the point, volunteering always makes me feel that I am a part of the Mountaineers’ mission, eloquently demonstrated by the influential people I have met through this great organization. The benefit I have received from the Mountaineers is enormous and hopefully I am giving back a small portion of it in my own way.  


Favorite Mountaineers memory?
I don’t even know where to start. Tim and I have made a new group of life-long friends through the Mountaineers. Due to extreme fatigue and hunger, our friendship occasionally deteriorates during trips, but every painful endeavor has transformed to entertaining stories that we still laugh about. I remember a 30-mile day hike from Sunrise to Paradise with a key change strategy. By the end, I was so exhausted, even the blood-thirsty mosquitos didn’t bother me! Other people’s equally swollen faces gave me comfort, sympathy and laughter. 


Who/What inspires you?
Among the many inspirational leaders I’ve been influenced by, Dave Larson, Johnny Jeans, and Bill Fortney are at the top. Dave Larson permitted me to join his trip after considering the short length and the level of the hike even though I was wearing blue jeans and a cotton t-shirt. Without his understanding for the novices, his flexibility, kindness, and gentle manner of instructions, I may never have gone hiking again. Johnny Jeans, through his charming personality and art of persuasion, encouraged me to take a scramble course. Bill Fortney patiently taught me protocol, courtesy to others and the true enjoyment of being outdoors. 


What does adventure mean to you?
Adventure means learning more about yourself and the world in the company of good friends. I have met my closest friends in The Mountaineers — they have held my life in their hands a thousand times and saved it more than once. To know people on that level, while laughing and struggling together in the outdoors, is a gift that few people experience.


Lightning Round
Sunrise or sunset? Waking up before sunrise in a tent and sensing the gradual change of lighting in the sky.
Superpower? Communicating with the mountain deities.
Smile or game face? Smile makes me forget everything unimportant.
Post-adventure meal of choice? Teriyaki chicken and Kimchi at Mondo in Marblemount after a death-march backpacking trip in the North Cascades.
If you could be a rock star at any outdoor activity overnight, what would it be? A hiking guide and an owner of a first class hot spring resort in Japan with organic meals and daily yoga sessions + deep tissue massage.

This article originally appeared in our March/April 2015 issue of Mountaineer magazine. To view the article in magazine form and read more stories from our bi-monthly publication, click here.

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