Marisa Jarae

Hometown:  Atlantic Beach, FL


Most days I struggle to feel older than five or twelve. The inside of my head looks like an abstract painting, or more accurately the old, paint layered pallet of an old abstract painter. I spend my weeks sitting in front of a computer creating graphics and marketing strategies, and my weekends in the Colorado hills. While I was raised alongside the ocean, I was born in Colorado. The mountains and I are kindred.

My passion (read: obsession) for the hills is a combination of nature and nurture. Avid day-hikers and semi-glamping-backpackers, my folks had me out on trail at two weeks. Growing up, we’d come out to Colorado to hike some of the Front Range 14ers or head up the east coast to section hike parts of the Appalachian Trail. Once I graduated high school, I spent three weeks backpacking through the San Juans with Outwardbound, and I knew that I wanted more: bigger mountains, longer treks, harder terrain.

Two years ago, I moved from Florida to Colorado with my husband Justin. In that time I’ve summited 25 of Colorado’s 14000+ft mountains, started trail running, rock climbing, and backpacking, learned orienteering, wilderness first aid, glacial snow travel, wilderness survival, gotten certified in AIARE 1, and have become endlessly fascinated with gear technology. Mostly though, I started taking photos. A lot of photos. So much so that I was recently included in a small feature in Backpacker Magazine.

Like many an outdoors-person, the mountains inspire me. They make me feel alive and teach me valuable lessons. When I’m not in them, I’m mapping my next adventure, researching gear, or editing the (too many) photos I took on my last stroll. I’ll admit it: I’m a mountain hugger with a lust that has yet to be satisfied.

Favorite Sawyer Product and Why:

I really dig the MINI water filter. Summer backpacking is like a game to me: how light can I get my pack and still carry all of my essentials. The MINI lets me safely filter all my water while not taking up room in my pack or many ounces on my back.

Favorite Outdoor Location:

Hard to narrow down, but suffice it to say anywhere with low humidity and a bit of elevation. Rocky Mountain National Park ranks pretty high in my books, but then, so does Arches.

One Piece of Advice or Something You've Learned Spending So Much Time Outdoors:

I’d say being prepared is key. In Colorado, the weather can change in a matter of minutes, the trail can disappear, the elevation can be more than expected, someone can turn an ankle on the rocks… having the right gear to react can mean the difference between a fantastic day (or days) in the hills and a nightmare you might not want to relive again.

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