Meet Krys Kirkland, an AI engineer and hiker living in New Haven, Connecticut.
Hi, I'm Krys! I'm a climber, hiker, biker, and an engineer in AI located in New Haven, CT. My happiest moments are spent in nature with my two dogs, Rex and George, my fiancé, Ross, and our friends.
Why do you hike? How does it make you feel?
I get outside to feel a sense of homecoming, but I hike because it’s an activity that can be shared regardless of skill level, equipment, and location.
For me, hiking is a low barrier activity that helps me feel intrinsically connected to the world around me. I spend most of my days on my computer or phone, and the sensory overload inevitably makes me feel like I’m not doing enough, or being enough.
The simple act of walking in nature and experiencing subtleties—like inhaling the moist air of a mossy forest, the sharp chill on the top of a mountain, or the expanse within a cathedral of towering rocks—helps me gain perspective and appreciate the surroundings that contribute to the human experience.
Making time to hike and feel connected with the natural world helps me feel a sense of relief, and acts as a physical reminder that I am, unequivocally, enough.
What was your experience with nature like growing up?
While I didn’t grow up spending an appreciable amount of time in nature with my parents, some of my favorite childhood memories revolve around the times I would go camping and hiking with friends.
I had the privilege of living near the Pacific Ocean and spent my teen years traversing up and down the California coast. To this day, I find myself gravitating towards rugged rocky beaches for a sense of nostalgia.
How does the outdoors inspire you now?
It’s hard to put into words how the outdoors inspires me.
On one hand, being in nature has given me a sense of renewed creativity and imagination. It provides me with the perspective that natural beauty can be valued for its own sake, apart from any utilitarian function, and inspires me to explore a sense of freedom outside of societal expectations.
Beyond creative pursuits, the sublime outdoor communities inspire me to cultivate rich and meaningful relationships—and dress better too.