AL Spotlight: Robyn
Okay. Let’s ask the basics first. What’s your name? What do you do? Where ya from?
My name is Robyn Hoovler and I work 40 hours a week in corporate America in HR Tech at Capital one headquarters! I am from Leesburg, Virginia but, plan on relocating to the Denver/Boulder, Colorado area in about 6 months!
What are your favorite outdoor hobbies?
My favorite outdoor hobbies include: hiking, backpacking, biking, rock climbing, snowshoeing, snowboarding, rollerblading and kayaking. All of these hobbies are usually all done with my pup, Buggy, right by my side!
What first drew you to the outdoors?
When I was younger my parents would take my sister and I camping, hiking and biking a lot! They always pushed the outdoors on us, whether it was playing in the neighborhood or going to an all-day girl scout camp outside. I think my parents really triggered my love for the outdoors, but what really drew me was the fact that we have all of these amazing places and things we can do outside. I feel like there are a lot of areas you can “max out” in but the outdoors is not one of them – opportunities and activities are endless out there, that is what draws me outside.
Tell us about one of your favorite trips or moments outdoors:
Oh gosh, I have so many! I think it has to be my most recent trip with Buggy to the Adirondacks, NY, this past fall. That was my first big solo trip (camping alone, driving long hours alone, trekking more than 5 miles alone) and I am not going to lie, I was nervous. Bug and I hiked two of the Adirondack 46ers, Giant Mountain and Rocky Mountain. For those of you who have not hiked a 46er – they are no joke, straight uphill for 10 + miles, with lots of rock slides. The trails aren’t very well marked and it is easy to make a wrong turn. I slept in the back of my Jeep with Buggy and it was nerve racking the first night being a girl all alone, sleeping on the side of a two-lane road, where there is little-to-no reception. This was my favorite trip because I proved to myself that I could do these intense adventures alone and navigate my way through rough situations by myself. Not that I always want to be adventuring alone, but now I know that I can sleep alone or hike a long journey alone and feel confident in my skills. Also, this was such an accomplishment for my pup – we don’t have mountains in Virginia that big so hiking the ADK is a big change to him and I. He is 7 and very active but still not as agile as he used to be and he did it like a champ, enjoying every moment of it!
I noticed that and your boyfriend (and dog) go on some pretty awesome trips (you guys are freaking adorable too!), what’s the craziest thing you guys have done? Any funny moments?
Well, there are lots of crazy moments, from witnessing Buggy fall down a cliff towards a raging river only to get t-boned by a tree that saved his life, to rescuing a 98% wolf hybrid in Moab, UT, to sleeping in -30 degree weather in a non-insulated campervan, to driving on “E” in the middle-of-nowhere Wyoming with the only gas station 40 miles away. But I think the craziest moment is the near-death experience we had kayaking.
So, we were kayaking with our friend, Nick and let’s get this straight – none of us were experienced kayakers. We were yakking down the Shenandoah River to where it meets the Potomac River in Harpers Ferry and we came across a 3-4-foot waterfall and crossing it was the only way to go. So, Daniel went over the waterfall first and he left my sight. I was second in the lineup and I just went for it. Literally, I blacked out. All I can remember is coming up, gasping for air, holding on to my paddle for dear life and screaming for help. I was wearing a rain coat with elastic in the wrists and my jacket was filling up with water and kept pushing me under water, drowning me. Daniel got to a rock somehow and then had to jump back in after me and my kayak, and pulled me to the rock he originally was on. After we all made it to shore, Daniel swam out and saved his kayak that was filling with water and sinking. After, we decided to keep kayaking to our destination, but we went slowly and kept close to the river bank. I wasn’t wearing my life jacket the first half of the trip until we stopped for lunch and Daniel told me to put it on. Daniel saved my life in more than one way that day.
Funny moments – lots and lots. We laugh a lot for no reason in the car when the road trip hours are getting to us. Daniel once just started randomly laughing for no apparent reason which entailed me to laugh for no reason. When the consistent driving gets to us we have this habit of making up nicknames for each other and then taking on the personality of these names. My favorite nicknames and personalities are the old folks, Warner and Dolores. We made these names up while in Utah and it just stuck that whole trip calling each other Warner and Dolores and impersonating what they would sound like.
Okay rapid fire…
Favorite trail snack: Clif Blocks for energy and Clif Mint Chocolate Chip Builder’s Bar for protein. Apples are also great because they have the sweetness and juiciness to them that satisfies my thirst and sweet tooth.
Best music to listen to while on a long road trip: Hmmm…I like a lot of different genres of music but my ultimate road trip music is, a lot of The Lumineers, Odesza and Of Monsters And Men. And of course, every now and again, when the countless hours are getting to me…some Nick Jonas to spice things up a bit.
One piece of gear you can’t live without: I know you said one but I have two that are tied – my Patagonia fanny pack and The North Face 800 Down Summit Series L3 Jacket.
My fanny literally, holds all my electronics; my GoPro, polaroid camera and phone. Plus, it fits on my hip while I have a big pack on or I can clip it to my pack for easy access. It is not only water resistant BUT also allows me to have three carry-ons on the plane rather than two because it is clipped to my hip.
My puffy jacket is my lifesaver – I am always one to be cold and this jacket keeps me so warm while camping or winter trekking or basically trying to exist in the cold.
Who’s your #1 adventure buddy: Buggy! Seriously, if you can, rescue a dog! They are THE BEST adventure buddies. Watching him enjoy the outdoors just as much as me makes my time outside a thousand times better. He never gets upset when it starts to rain or the terrain gets hard – he just keeps trekking and that motivates me.
Sunrise or sunset: Ooo, sunset! I am not an early riser.
What do the outdoors mean to you? Has your experience outside changed you?
The outdoors to me means opportunity. Opportunity to explore places you see on T.V. or never imagined seeing yourself visiting. It means opportunity to challenge yourself physically and mentally. There is nothing like getting to the top of a summit after trekking miles and miles up hard terrain or climbing up a pitch and getting to the top that you think you would never reach. It is opportunity to see yourself – being outdoors releases all the worries you have and lets you focus on where you are in that exact moment.
I think my experiences outside has changed me for sure! Patience and not making excuses are two things I have tried to work on and I think, backpacking, especially, has helped me with this. The outdoors have challenge me to motivate myself to be better at all things I do in my life. Backpacking gives you little to no room for excuses, you just have to go with whatever comes your way – this has correlated into my daily routine at home. I don’t make excuses while hiking, climbing, backpacking, kayaking, etc. so why make excuses when it is raining out after work and I still need to go to the gym? Being outdoors has changed my mindset and the way I view the world.
We gotta know, what are some of your bucket list destinations?
Definitely, Australia and New Zealand, Croatia, Thailand, Patagonia and Bali. I am really into seeing the National Parks and all the National Forest surrounding them so Glacier, Rainier, Jasper, Banff, and Yosemite. So many places, but these are the top for sure.