ADVENTURER BROOKE FROELICH
BROOKE FROELICH CLAIMS that she isn’t an extraordinary outdoor athlete, but you’re likely to come to a much different conclusion after scrolling through her Instagram profile or self-named blog. In them Brooke shares images of the incredible outdoor recreation available from her home base of Salt Lake City, Utah—climbing, mountain biking, skiing, camping and exploring, with a fun twist, she has her now three-year-old son Huck in tow.
Brooke grew up at the base of Utah’s Wasatch Mountain range, hiking, climbing trees, and exploring outdoors, but at some point, she says she lost that outdoor connection. She went to college, embarked on a career as a research scientist and life responsibilities took over. After graduating college, she missed her active lifestyle, so she got a membership at the local climbing gym. There she met an incredible group of local women who she began to climb with. After their first trip to the desert to climb outside, Brooke fell in love.
“That trip made me realize that I really wanted to spend more days outside, sunrise to sunset.”
The wheels were set in motion. Brooke credits these same girlfriends with getting her into mountain biking and skiing. She took to these sports immediately and very quickly was pushing her skills to the limits, climbing aggressively and skiing steeper, riskier lines in the Utah backcountry.
During this learning process, Brooke also found that was driven to share the lessons with other like-minded people. She launched a self-titled blog and shared photos from her adventures on her Instagram. Brooke says, “I was sharing this really basic stuff, things that I’d had questions about, like how to stay fueled for a long day in the mountains.” In the process, she found an enthusiastic audience of fellow adventurers and aspirational adventurers.
When she found out she was pregnant, Brooke had another challenge—to learn how to incorporate a new baby into her outdoor lifestyle, and that’s when interest in her adventures really ramped up. Brooke had expected her audience to check out when she shared her pregnancy, but the opposite happened. She says, “That was kind of a turning point for me. It was something that I thought would be a handicap, and it turned out to be something I was able to kind of branch into this new part of my career.” Brooke also found support from numerous outdoor industry brands wanting to partner with her, which allowed her to further dedicate time to getting outside and sharing.
“He’s away from screens and I’m not, half-listening to a blog or a podcast and half-listening to him. I’m fully present with him outside.”
At first Brooke had personal goals of scaling big mountains with her new baby on her back, which she initially did. When Huck was eight months old, she backpacked up Mount Timpanogos, an 11,752-foot tall peak—the second highest peak in the Wasatch Range. But she gradually realized that those big objectives weren’t the trips that were the most rewarding to her, and she refocused more on staying relatively nearby and opting for more frequent, and shorter adventures instead—micro-adventures. An example she shares is heading off to nearby Moab. Whereas, her first instinct is to go off the grid for a week mountain biking, the reality is that halfway through the week, she’ll opt to get a hotel room, clean up, get a sitter and go mountain bike. She laughs, “It’s not that hardcore to admit those things, but it makes it so that we want to keep on doing those trips.” Which is really what this is all about.
Brooke’s active parenting lifestyle clearly isn’t about creating content for a platform, She’s truly passionate about nurturing with nature—which is her defacto parenting motto. She explains, “I remember from very early on, some of the first times I was hiking and camping with Huck, where everything was just easy when we were outside, he was at peace and at ease, and I was, too.”
She also finds a higher-quality connection with her son. Brooke says, “He’s away from screens and I’m not, half-listening to a blog or a podcast and half-listening to him. I’m fully present with him outside. There’s definitely that kind of connection between the two of us that only happens outside."
Of course the logistics aren’t as easy adventuring with a toddler.
“I still feel like I’m very much learning. I tell people all the time, this is an experiment to me.”
She adds, “A lot of my blog posts, they’re very basic. It’s like, ‘We're going to go winter camping, or hiking in the snow to a yurt or a hut. What do I do?’ And I really had to try to learn.”
Brooke presents a very convincing argument for making the effort to get outside. Her heartwarming Instagram feed is filled with inspirational photos—Huck and Brooke snuggled up in a tent, Brooke huffing it up the trail with Huck on her back (go mom!), Huck with a huge smile under his goggles and helmet skiing the bunny slope. The moments are clearly meaningful, and in the captions Brooke honestly shares what they mean to her…and what it takes to make them happen. She goes into even deeper detail on her blog, with post headlines like, “Campsite Cooking with a Toddler” and “5 Tips For Skiing with a Toddler.”
Brooke has had her share of challenges including a divorce. Brooke says, “I definitely had some challenges with being a single mom, but throughout all of that, I genuinely felt really happy. I think a lot of that was putting just one foot in front of the other on the trail and just moving forward and surrounding myself with beauty.” Brooke also acknowledges the help of the women in her life to keep moving forward. Those same girls she met in the climbing gym are still some of her closest friends nearly ten years later.
“I think a lot of that was putting just one foot in front of the other on the trail and just moving forward and surrounding myself with beauty.”
Now happily remarried, Brooke looks forward to a whole new set of challenges, rewards and lessons to share as her family prepares to welcome a new sibling for Huck. She enthusiastically plans to continue her family’s active lifestyle, knowing the payoff of a life of outdoor adventure is worth the added effort. She hopes to continue to inspire others to head outdoors and to hopefully find the same deep connection that her and Huck enjoy during their adventures. Through this connection, Brooke hopes Huck learns to cultivate kindness, she says, “To be kind to himself, to be kind to the Earth, and to be kind to others.” Clearly an essential message to impart to the next generation.
BY ANNIE FAST