We all have reasons why we can’t go on that hike/bike/run/canoe trip. Maybe you tell yourself, ‘I’m out of shape, I’ll slow everyone down’ or ‘I don’t have the gear,’ or even simply ‘I don’t know where to start.’ Amber Rittinger knows just how you feel, and she wants to get you outside.
Originally from Northern BC, Amber grew up surrounded by trees, lakes and mountains and playing in the great outdoors, but when her family moved to the big city she was diagnosed with a medical condition that predisposes her to weak bones and joints, and lost touch with her active life until she got older.
Today, she’s an outdoor adventure company entrepreneur (she and her best friend started BeWild! Adventures & Wellness), a mom, an accounting professional, and a Yervana Local. Her diagnosis didn’t slow her down–it inspired her to get outside again.
“I was told as a kid that when I get older I’ll run the risk of shattering my bones and osteoporosis. I’ve had a factor 10 on the rheumatoid scale since I was 21 (you aren’t supposed to get higher than that.) As a teenager I was told I need to be physically active because muscle is what’s holding everything together for my bones and joints. I started getting to the gym and weight training, but I grew up by a lake on a mountainside, so naturally I wanted to bring these activities outside. I started hiking again, I would go with a friend who was a mountain biker and he’d ride and I’d run through the trails–there’s so many trails here on the North Shore. I fell in love with it again.”
Amber was inspired to start BeWild! with her best friend Sharon (a registered nurse) after a hike to Elfin Lakes, they realized they wanted to help people get back on the trail.
“My partner is athletic, fast compared to me,” laughs Amber.“But in our opinion anyone can do it (within reason for your health conditions) at the right pace. Most people are intimidated because they don’t know what they’re getting into, they’re afraid of being the slow one and being embarrassed. That’s why we lead in small groups, and its easier to keep similar fitness levels, and to keep it more personal and feel like you’re hanging out with friends for the day rather than trying to keep up.”
As someone who knows it’s not easy to get back into the outdoors, especially if you have a health condition, Amber has some advice:
“it’s pretty hard work going up, and there’s going to be some part of it where you’re thinking, ‘what did I get myself into,’ but then you get to that view, and everything kind of shifts perspective. You realize what’s really important, and what is just day to day chaos. And you have start somewhere!”
Watch for Amber’s Adventures on Yervana, her favourite is the Sea-to-Sky Waterfalls Hikes!