Foothills Volunteer Spotlight: Elizabeth Nakashima

Our Foothills volunteers and activity leaders are the heart and soul of our branch. This month we celebrate Elizabeth Nakashima.
Lori Heath Lori Heath
Foothills Communications Volunteer
August 08, 2022

Meet Elizabeth Nakashima, a Foothills hike and urban walk leader, as well as the Treasurer of the Foothills Backpacking and Hiking Committee. Elizabeth joined The Mountaineers to train for a hike across the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, and has been with us ever since!

What brought you to the Pacific Northwest and when did you come?

I moved to Washington in 1970 from Tokyo, Japan when my father was transferred to Thailand. Rather than move the family to Thailand, he preferred to be transferred to the US. He wanted us to move to WA and live with my sister and her husband, who were living in eastern WA. It was a slight adjustment to move from Tokyo to eastern WA.

What attracted you to The Mountaineers?

Initially, it was to get back into hiking. A friend and I had the great idea to hike the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu in 2019. When the realization hit that I had not hiked in almost 30 years, at the urging of a member, I quickly joined The Mountaineers to get into condition. The club hosted an amazing range of hikes that more than prepared me for the trek. In addition to the hikes, The Mountaineers has provided me with the opportunity to learn snowshoeing, navigation, and cross-country skiing. Who knows what's in store for me next!

What have been your favorite volunteer memories with The Mountaineers?

Simply meeting other club members on the activities. The participants are so gracious, and I very much appreciate their positive attitudes and love for the outdoors. Since I started leading activities, I've also enjoyed helping prospective leaders by having them participate as assistant leaders. Just another way for me to give back to the club.

What are your favorite activities and places in the PNW backcountry?

There are so many incredible places, but one of my favorites is Mt. Rainier, specifically Third Burroughs. I had no idea how "close" we would be to Rainier, and then to see an avalanche occurring while we were there has always stayed with me. The power of nature! And of course, you can't beat the waters of our state. As for my favorite activities, in addition to hiking, my latest activity that I have fallen in love with is cross-country skiing, which I learned through The Mountaineers. I hope to participate in the Cross-country Skiing Committee's plan to further grow the sport within our membership. Outside of the club's activities, I enjoy spending time with my (large!) family and friends to just relax and hangout.