Months ago, I came across a story on a hiking group I’m part of on Facebook. A woman, Mel, and her rescue cat, Floki, were on a mission to scale all of New Hampshire’s 48 four-thousand-footer mountain summits. This is a feat a solo climber can take great pride in, but to do so with a PRECIOUS rescue cat on your back? Come. ON. I started following their journey, and I became so humbled and inspired. I just had to meet them and capture this special story. Floki the Adventure Cat, and Mel the amazing woman, I am so grateful to have crossed paths.
This post is all about:
Believe me, you’re going to want to follow along with them on their journeys past, present, and future (there are LOTS).
I am not going to re-summarize their story verbatim, mostly because 1) it is all over the news and reporters have put much care into sharing the details and 2) I want to touch on MY experience with these two absolutely incredible souls.
If you’d like to read some of the news stories about these two, I highly encourage it 🙂 It’s a freaking blast:
Basically, I was inspired by the fact that Mel was SO raw, honest, and vulnerable, about her journey of self-love, discovery, and healing through summiting these feats with her new rescue pal, Floki. Shortly before rescuing Floki, her lifelong pal and dog was her hiking bestie and had passed on to doggie heaven. The bond of an animal is a forever, indescribable love, as all pet owners can understand. The clear bond she had with Floki on her treks had hit home to me, as Babel and I are forever hiking-and-life-soulmates. If you know my photography business, you know ALL of it is inspired by her adventurous, authentic spirit….hence the name “Babel Photos.”
Although I’d never met Mel, from her stories she posted I knew that the years leading up to Floki, their time together since, and their journey of the Great 48 was undertoned with human grief, loss, and transformation. I am all about that messy, real shit. She inspired me. I HAD to meet this woman and her pal.
So I reached out.
Capturing female empowerment and a freaking hiking-adventure-cat is a DREAM come true for me.
Not expecting anything, Mel graciously said “yes.”
What a brave thing to do: to say yes to someone photographing you and your story of very real human growth and experiences.
I am forever grateful for Mel’s yes.
Not that Floki and Mel owe their several thousand fans any more incredible feats, but they are up to LOTS. For the right reasons: adventure, giving back, and embracing nature for all its majestic, healing properties.
Currently, they are training for the Annual “Seek the Peak” Fundraiser Event happening TOMORROW. This event involves summiting Mount Washington’s whopping 6,288 ft incline for GOOD. Here is the event’s mission from their website:
“The Mission of Seek Your Peak is to cultivate and sustain connection to and stewardship of the nonprofit Mount Washington Observatory and White Mountains Region. These goals will be achieved by utilizing our natural spaces in a responsible manner in order to create a wide-range of adventures on our trails, cliffs, and waterways. By leveraging our community’s passion for discovery and exploration we will simultaneously build capacity in support of the critical mission of the observatory.”
Those who have signed up, like Mel, are not only summiting with incredible, like-minded souls, but they are raising money for the Mount Washington Observatory, which continues to ensure hikers on this summit are well informed of weather conditions, can continue hiking safely, and can continue to enjoy the pristine conditions of the White Mountains.
Sure, the 4,000 footers have been accomplished as a duo. However, the TRULY MAGICAL sights of Northern New Hampshire are hidden gems. Next up, Floki, Mel, and the friends they’ve made along the way, will be trekking New Hampshire’s “52 with a View.” These are smaller, but nonetheless breathtaking, summits. Click here for a guide to these hikes!
Mel and Floki: until our paths cross again. Thank YOU for your example of love, adventure, and the reminder that the little moments of adventure are the ones that count. That adorable feline face reminds me (and MANY others) that everything is going to be okay. No matter how messy things are below, the summits await each and every soul and they take us how we are. Mother Nature, you rock
I literally am giddy with anticipation. My own sidekick, Babel, and I, will see you then.
-Kayla & Babel, Babel Photos