AnaCapri Mauro joined the Opal Creek office staff at the beginning of 2018 after three years of visiting Jawbone with her Lewis and Clark College Outdoors classmates. We’re excited to have her on board keeping everything moving smoothly behind-the-scenes!
Gabrielle: You’re no stranger to Opal Creek! Tell us about your very first trip to the area.
AnaCapri: It was Lewis and Clark’s new student orientation trip, and it was marketed as “backpack the ancient forest.” Being from the east coast I had no idea what an ancient forest was! It was also the first time I’d ever been backpacking. We didn’t start at the gate, we started at a different trailhead deeper in the wilderness and ended up in Jawbone. It was crazy because I hadn’t seen real mountains before—giant trees, mountains, it was perfect. I remember walking through Jawbone at the end and thinking, “People live here! It’s the coolest place ever.”
G: What are some of your favorite childhood memories outdoors?
A: One thing I really appreciated was being able to go out by myself from a really young age. Our entire property was just woods, so if I was going to play outside that’s where I was going, and I loved to play outside. I had certain rocks that were ‘my places,’ and I had to tell my mom which rock I was going to so that she knew how far away I was. Elephant Rock was my favorite and it was covered in poison ivy. One of my friends had what I remember to be a huge cliff with a tree growing out of the rocks at the top. You could swing out over the whole forest and that was really fun.
G: You’re in our office four days a week. How do you fill that extra day off?
A: I intern at Cascadia Wild. We have 12 wildlife cameras set up on Mt. Hood, checked by groups of volunteers, and I go through all the pictures looking for target species. It would be fantastic if we saw wolves and wolverines, but we’re also looking for montane red fox and pine martens. Pine martens are an indicator species, and for the red fox they’re doing some cool genetic studies looking into how distinct the montane subspecies is from lowland species. Our cameras and hairbrushes were the first to pick up Sierra Nevada red foxes in the Mt. Hood forest in 2014, so we were able to prove that they’re here. Cascadia Wild’s coordinator Teri loves to say that we’ve proved wolverines are not there.
G: What else do you love to do outside?
A: I love to climb, I love the desert. But I really just love backpacking. If I had to choose between the two, I’d choose backpacking. There are so many options, especially here, where everything is just so beautiful. I love the Gifford Pinchot Forest.
G: Finally, what are you most excited about in the coming year?
A: I’m really excited for my brother’s wedding! After having shoulder surgery last year and not being able to go out all summer, I’m also excited to have a full summer to be able to go play. I’ve gone out and done something every weekend this year so far, so I want to keep that trend going.
Read more about AnaCapri and everyone else who makes this organization hum on our staff page!