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Getting To Know Your Yosemite Guide: Kara Maceross

As a top-rated National Parks tour service, is Lasting Adventures’ staff is considered family to some of the best backpacking guides in the biz. Spend a day with one of them on-trail and you’ll find, in addition to making the most of your experience in the backcountry, they are fascinating individuals with much more to share than a wealth of backpacking knowledge and skills. To help you fully appreciate all that your guides have to offer, we created this blog series to spotlight individual team members and the nuances that make them extraordinary guides, and perhaps more meaningfully, humans.

Getting To Know Your Guide: Kara Maceross

Name: Kara Maceross
Trail name: Edwardo
Age: 37
Hometown: Beaver, PA
Years guiding: 6
School/Degree: Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising, Fashion Design
Certifications: WFR

How did you get into wilderness backpacking?

I didn’t get into the outdoors until a bit later in life. I was introduced to backpacking by my partner at the time. He took me backpacking in Yosemite for my 28th birthday! I was a fan of hiking before then, but had never been backpacking and

I loved the idea of covering more ground with everything you need on your back!

He also introduced me to canyoneering and together we started rock climbing. I was hooked on all things outdoors from then on out. My life was changed!

What/who inspired you to become a guide?

I really came upon the idea by accident. I didn’t know such jobs existed! This isn’t the type of job that they profile on career day at school, ya know? I had previously worked in the fashion industry for the better part of a decade, and was really not into the desk life anymore. I got let go from my job, I made a list of my passions and the majority was outdoors-related.

Just for fun, I typed into Google “hiking jobs” and I was pleasantly surprised by what I found. I could actually hike for a living!

It was decided. I signed up for a NOLS course and I was off! I have since worked with programs from California to New Hampshire to Brazil, and have never been happier!

Hiking for a living? Who’d a thunk it? Luckily for Lasting Adventures, Kara Maceross did!

What do you like about guiding for Lasting Adventures?

Yosemite is a major perk! Overall though, Lasting Adventures is a great company to work for because of the passion that exudes from the staff, and the amount of support given by the company.

Working for LA is like working with a big, enthusiastic, nature-loving, tree-hugging, story-telling, adventure-seeking, inspiring, and supportive family.

What are your other outside hobbies/passions?

Trail-running! You can catch me running all over Yosemite on my days off. I also dabble in canyoneering, rock climbing, photography, and extreme hammock chilling. When I’m not doing those things I’m writing for my blog, Adventure Tramp, or making a mean deviled egg!

Kara partaking in one of her preferred extracurricular activities, rock climbing.

What’s one song that gets stuck in your head most often on the trail?
Easy—”Here’s to Now” by Ugly Cassanova.  A lot of times when I’m on the trail my mind wanders, and sometimes that’s ok.

Sometimes I hit the trail specifically to work through things in my head, but it’s also good to be in the present moment and appreciate all the amazing surroundings.

I like to take time to celebrate our amazing environment, and that song reminds me to do just that. Here’s to now!

Describe your favorite meal to cook in the backcountry.

Last summer I really got into Quinoa Chili. I make the quinoa and mix in black beans, kidney beans, fresh cut tomatoes, sautéed onion and garlic, tomato paste, corn, and a secret 9-seasoning mix. Once it was finished, the final touch was a sprinkling of baked Cheddar Cheese Whisps to add some crunch. It really hit the spot after a long day of hiking, and is chock full of protein to help the body recover!

Kara feels most comfortable in less-crowded terrain. Can you tell?

Describe your favorite view in Yosemite.

This is probably the hardest question to answer…there are so many! If I had to pick one, I would say my favorite view would be from the top of Cathedral Pass coming from Cathedral Peak. With Matthes Crest to your left, Columbia Finger to your right, and the expansive views of the higher peaks of Yosemite laid out in front of you, it can’t be beaten!

In your opinion, what are the most valuable services guides do for guests/kids? 

I believe the most valuable thing guides do for guests of all ages is help them to realize that they can achieve more than they think possible.

In your opinion, what’s the most important piece of gear for a guest to bring? What’s one thing they should leave behind?

I think the most important piece of gear for a guest to bring would be a good sleeping pad. Sleep is super important to feel good out there on the trail and that all starts with a good night’s sleep. Deodorant should always be left behind. It’s dead weight!

Here’s Kara halfway up Half Dome during a Three Summits adventure.

Describe one of your favorite memories with a Lasting Adventures Guest.

I couldn’t say that it was one specific moment, but a collection of them from one of my first guide trips of the summer. I had a couple that signed up for a Three Summits trip, which is supposed to hit Mt. Hoffmann, Clouds Rest, and culminates with Half Dome. Hoffman turned out to be unattainable because of the amount of snow still in the backcountry at that point, but we were able to get to Clouds Rest by navigating through some patches of snow and had the summit all to ourselves, which is pretty special. We then were able to head up to Half Dome the next day from our base at Little Yosemite Valley, reaching the cables just as the sun started peeking over the horizon.

Jess, who had previously climbed on her hands and knees down Clouds Rest and up Subdome, summoned her courage and powered past her fears up the cables, her partner right behind her encouraging her along the way.

I turned around close to the top of the cables and captured their beaming smiles that outshone the rays of the sun bursting behind them. At the bottom, Chris said that it was the coolest thing he had ever done. If that wasn’t gratifying enough to witness, I received an email from Chris several months later in which he shared with me that he had proposed to Jess, and used the picture that I took to print out a puzzle that said on it: “Climb every mountain, Ford every stream, follow every rainbow, till you find your dream.” I felt so honored to be a part of something that had such a lasting impact on them, and will now be part of their engagement story forever.

Inquire about a guided Yosemite day hike or backpacking adventure with Kara today!

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