A R.E.D.D.-Venture in Paradise

It was January 31st, the perfect time to leave the hardships of a long Maine winter behind. Onward to Mexico! We’re joined by our friends Wendy and Jay. 

Once, in Mexico, in the hottest day we had experienced in months, our windowless, AC-less van broke down again and again on our first ascent to Potrero Chico. No complaints when the view is this good! Oh – did we come here to climb? We were distracted by the tacos!

Delicious snacks aside, our days were filled with trips to the weekly local markets, hiking in the park and climbing shenanigans. Wendy and Jay were by far the safest and best dressed climbing companions on the crag! They taught us how to properly clean routes, multi-pitch climb, and rappel, and we taught them how to properly enjoy a post-climb margarita.

Of course, a Mexico vacation wouldn’t be complete without a trip to the beach. We swore we wouldn’t tell anyone about the “secret beach” we found, but we tell you it’s not Cancun! A hint for you: to find the secret beach location, follow the cenotes! These deep underground swimming caves, home to many snoozing bats, are both amazing and creepy. Our swim game and our snack game were strong, due to the Redd we had stuffed in our backpacks.

By the end of our beach adventure, our friends were done with the sun and ready to get back on the rocks. We headed back to Potrero, where friends, face burgers and some serious whips awaited us. And, yes, face burgers are exactly what they sound like: burgers the size of your face! Good luck eating one by yourself.

The takeaways from our trip? Tacos should be eaten in fours, margaritas should be seasoned with tajin (not salt!), safety should be taken seriously, and, for goodness sake, confront your fears and take a therapy whip. Next winter, we’ll be smart and stay until March is over in Maine. I guess that means we’ll be checking 10 pounds of Redd!

Devin Everett: Amazing! Thank you so much for sharing my story, grateful to be here!

You were diagnosed with chronic Lyme disease last year, but it doesn’t seem to slow you down at all. How have you managed this hurdle on your journey?

DE: For three years I was dealing with swollen joints, extreme fatigue, depression, anxiety, blurry vision and I had no idea what was going on.  Neither did the doctors. I started making adjustments in my diet, which I would later find out was going to be the best way to cope with Lyme. Since inflammation in my body is my biggest symptom, eliminating certain foods is what I have found helps the most. Cutting out gluten and limiting my dairy and sugar intake are my priority as I find these foods significantly increase the pain and swelling in my joints and trigger the spirochetes. Overall, I try to keep a positive attitude and stay grateful for all the goodness in my life; I believe mentality translates to overall health and wellness, so keep smiling.

Can you tell us more about How you take care of your body with diet and exercise?

DE: Of course, I can get pretty excited about this!  I have been a pescatarian for 9 years and gluten free for about 2 years.  I try to put in my body the ingredients that will fuel me. Food in a sense, is my medicine.  This is why I get so stoked when I find a product like Redd that is jam packed with potent nutrients and still tastes delicious. With that, everything in moderation, I am definitely known to get down with some gluten free pastries or vegan ice cream.Moving my body is a daily ritual and I always try to get myself outside for at least 10 minutes of sunshine. I love teaching yoga and can be found rock climbing, hiking, snowboarding and cycling! The best part of this is that I have found my best friends through these hobbies, supporting my happiness and health!

What inspired your decision to hike the AT? What cause are you hoping to promote?

DE: I have dreamt of hiking the AT for a few years now, but it was “never the right time.”  While I was backpacking through Asia, my best friend Sean called to tell me he was thinking about hiking it and I knew I had to join. He is the Art teacher at The Hillside School, a local independent school for learning disabled students. Our goal is to raise money ($100,000) and awareness for the Hillside School in support of their theme, ‘Learning Makes Dreams Happen.’  On a more personal note, I want to bring more awareness to Lyme disease and hope to educate other hikers on symptoms to enable early identification.

The AT is a grueling, months-long hike – how do you plan to stay motivated and positive?

DE: My motto in life is – find the beauty in every moment, and if you can’t find it, create it.  I am going into the trek knowing that there will be many ups and downs and to take them all in with love. Knowing that every step I take gets me closer to Katahdin and closer to reaching our scholarship goal will keep me motivated to continue through the tough times.  But it definitely helps to have two friends by my side, and the countless other thru-hikers who are rocking life and achieving their goals.

What are you most excited about on the trail?

DE: Nature and new friends. I am looking forward to being immersed in the woods while hiking to the sounds of the rain, wind and birds.  I am excited to meet all the other souls embarking on this journey and hear their stories. Also, I know it goes against what I said above but THE HALF GALLON CHALLENGE at the Pine Grove Furnace General Store (which I am sure will lead to a zero day).