Our Team: Rebecca of Calipidder.com


Rebecca on her first camping trip in 1979. She still makes that excited goofy face when she's outdoors.

Someone recently called me “The Perfect Woman: Equal parts computer nerd and mountain sports freak.” I believe the topic of conversation started around my dirty nails and calloused hands one morning at the climbing gym, but I took it as a compliment.

I grew up near the shores of Lake Michigan. If I held my hand up to represent the Michigan lower peninsula “mitten” (this demonstration is a dead giveaway of a Michigan native), my hometown would be somewhere near where the top of the pinky and side of the ring finger meet. This region provided all kinds of outdoor opportunities; my best childhood memories come from the many vacations spent in our little pop-up trailer touring the Great Lakes region. I can still smell that campfire-smoke-permeated canvas and hear the sounds of my parents playing cards late into the night by the light of the Coleman gas lantern. It is thanks to my parents that I developed a deep love of camping from a very early age.

I came to California in the summer of 2000 and my life changed on my first visit to Yosemite. It was a busy summer day in the Valley and all I wanted to do was get away from the annoying Disneyland-like crowds so I could enjoy the jaw-dropping mountain scenery in peace. It didn’t take long to figure out that backpacking was the solution; by the end of that summer I had gone on my first few overnighters. Despite having no idea what I was doing, I was 100% hooked. I immediately felt comfortable in the mountains — they were home to me.

My home away from home

Shortly after I found myself converted into a “mountain girl” from the “lake girl” my flat-lander family back in Michigan knew, I started Calipidder.com to share my adventures and great love of the Sierra with them. As a tech nerd by day, I was skilled enough to hack together a crude website that let me update a webpage with pictures after my trips — basically, a blog before they were widely known as blogs.

By 2004, other entrepreneurs in the industry had recognized the opportunity far better than I did and had created several useful blogging tools. I switched to a formal blogging platform in 2004 and soon realized that there were more people visiting the site than just my mom.

That changed my voice a bit but it also helped me focus. Now, I share detailed trail descriptions and trip reports from my stomping grounds: California and bordering states. I am occasionally inspired to post peripherally related information like gear reviews, but I mostly stick to trip reports around the activities I do the most: backpacking, climbing, dayhiking, photography and deep backcountry exploration.

Sometimes I like to do handstands on very tall mountains

When I’m on the trail, I’m flexible and able to deal with uncertainty, but ahead of a hike I am an obsessive, detail-oriented planner; I’ve virtually hiked every mile of trail before I’ve actually gotten outdoors. As a techie I use all the tools that are available to me and get most of my beta via photos, GPS tracks, topo maps and trip reports that other people share online. I always appreciate a good trail description with valuable information, and I get great satisfaction out of giving back by writing about my own experiences.

Doing my best to imitate the REI Catalog. Nailed it?

When I’m not on the trail I’m usually in front of a computer, either working on my photos or website or doing my day job as a software designer. I also enjoy craft beer, being organized, farmer’s markets, early morning indoor climbing, stupid cat videos, and the scent of lavender.

I am really looking forward to contributing to this community as well as consuming great content. It will nudge me to think about my experiences in different ways and hopefully share some of the tricks I’ve learned over the past 10+ years exploring the nooks and crannies of California.

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Since 2004 Rebecca has run Calipidder.com, a site that offers trip reports, photographs, and gear advice for exploring California’s parks and remote backcountry on foot. Based in San Jose, California, Rebecca makes the best of her location by being equally technology nerd and mountain sports junkie.