SHIFT’s image for 2017 features Brooklyn Bell. We found it while enjoying Danielle Williams’ Instagram account MelaninBasecamp (which, if you haven’t checked out already, we encourage you to do so, as it offers a fresh new take on who’s outside) and were immediately struck by its warmth and inherent joy. If anyone loved being outside, it was this young woman. We contacted her about the photo, and she agreed to let us use it. Here’s her story, and the story behind the image.
“My name is Brooklyn Bell and I live in the Pacific Northwest. I am an avid skier, mountain biker and rock climber. I am studying graphic design at Western Washington University and in my spare time I make illustrations that reflect my time spent outdoors. I am rider and ambassador for The Kona Supremes, a group that strives to give women an environment that can help them progress at mountain biking at a higher level.
“[The day I took the photo] was about 8 weeks after I broke my ankle lead climbing. This was one of the first hikes that I was physically able to do and I decided to do it alone. I hiked up late afternoon and made it to the top of a ridge with Mt. Baker in the distance. I ended up taking a rest and fell asleep in an alpine meadow. I woke up and the sun was about to set, so I decided to take a selfie.
“Some people would hear this story and be horrified; a young woman with a freshly healed ankle traveling alone in the alpine seems scary to some. But that day, when I fell asleep in that meadow, I felt right at home. The native name that was given to Mt. Baker is Komo Kulshan, which means “great white watcher.” That day I felt protected because “she” was watching over me.”
Follow Brooklyn on Instagram at @brooklyy_b.