Adventure For Someone: Leaning Into A Chrysalis Year

Written by Rachel Brackins | Photos courtesy of Chris Ball

Like all of us, Chris Ball (Cball) has experienced quite a bit of change over the last few years. With the onset of COVID-19 and a shift in his career, he has lovingly dubbed it his “chrysalis year” – leaning intentionally into the challenges of life.

After volunteering on multiple BCM wilderness trips, Cball fell in love with the mission and was disappointed that the weeklong youth trips were canceled due to the virus. He then realized it was the perfect opportunity to create and lead his own Adventure for Someone – he was going to complete a hike/bike combo of the Colorado Trail.

“What Big City Mountaineers does – getting youth into the wilderness – is super powerful, and I’m really passionate about it. It’s been transformative to me as an individual. I see now, after 13 different wilderness trips, what it does for these youth. Knowing I couldn’t participate in that this summer, I thought about what else I could do. This really lined up super well.”

With his wife heading logistics, his friends volunteering to join him along the trail, and donors raising funds for BCM, he set off. Logging approximately 300 miles hiking and 200 miles biking, Cball made it his mission to spread the name of Big City Mountaineers the entire way.

A few hikers going the opposite direction recognized his BCM hat and encouraged him to continue on his journey – they had completed an Adventure for Someone campaign the previous year!

“I think I ended up giving away 250 Big City Mountaineer stickers. Everyone loves a sticker and they are really lightweight, which is perfect. That was my small way of connecting with people on the trail and sharing what BCM is. At least one person that I met on the trail made a donation to my Adventure for Someone, which was really cool.”

Although he never felt like he was going to quit, knowing that friends, family, donors and strangers were keeping up with his journey gave him an extra sense of accountability. He began documenting his trip on social media, giving updates on location, morale, weather and more. Each time he shared, he knew he was giving his donors a window into where their support was going – into creating outdoor experiences for kids all over the country.

“As people started to make donations, it gave the trip a lot more meaning. I mean, it’s wonderful to go hike the Colorado Trail, it’s such a beautiful resource that we have in Colorado, but the reason behind it had purpose and drive. Each post got people thinking about BCM, and there were a lot of posts, because it was a 5-week trip.”

For those interested in creating their own Adventure for Someone campaign, Cball says to start small and do something you’re excited about.  He was surprised by how excited people were to support his adventure, and in turn, support Big City Mountaineers. If he, a self-described tech novice, can do it, anyone can.

Learn more about creating your own Adventure for Someone.

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