Alumni Spotlight

Carlie Harrison ‘16
Carlie Harrison ‘16 spent the summer doing maintenance and trail restoration for the Colorado 14ers Initiative (CFI). Her work was focused on a variety of different projects ranging from rock work to timber work to constructing an entirely new trail, each project fun and challenging in its own unique way. 
Tell us about your summer at CFI!

One of our most memorable projects was a rock staircase that we built on Handies Peak that involved finding and moving large rocks to the trail and digging and setting them in place. Placing them exactly right is like putting together a puzzle with huge, heavy pieces! The most rewarding part of the job is getting to see what we've accomplished after spending long days and many hours of physically demanding work constructing our projects. It's also really rewarding to get to talk to hikers about what we're doing and why our work is important for the longevity of the trails and the alpine environment. 

Have you done this type of work before?  How did you find this opportunity?

This is my first time doing trail work and I'm in an internship position that's designed to introduce someone to trail work for the first time. It's been an amazing learning experience so far!
How did VMS ignite your passion for this work? Was there a teacher or teachers at VMS who were especially influential?

I've always loved spending time outdoors and VMS hut trips, orientation trips, etc. are some of my most cherished memories. There were so many influential teachers that made these memories really special, but Ms. Sideli and Ms. Mortensen stand out as two that come to the top of my mind. Over time, my passion for the outdoors started to transform into a passion for sustainability and protection of the environment which is what ultimately led me to this current position with an organization that works towards environmental preservation.

Where did you go to college and what did you study?

I went to the University of Denver where I studied Integrated Sciences and Spanish.

What is next for you?

I'm not sure yet, but ideally something where I can continue to work in the outdoors!