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Wilderness summer camp staff leader

Bright Eyes

Real Name: Clara E
Occupation: Alpenguide, Photographer, Archivist
Aliases: Clay
Birthplace: Lopez Island, WA
Age: 24

Known Superhuman Powers: Bright Eyes sees the exciting side of life, and shares this perspective with others throughout life’s silliest and most awe-inspiring moments. Whether it’s an unusual-looking backcountry meal or a picturesque sunrise, Bright Eyes’ infectious giddiness and enjoyment of life will have everyone around her seeing the moment through her lens, where laughter and smiles fill the picture frame. She has a clarity of vision that connects her instantly to the people and places around her, and with her pure goofiness and genuine excitement, she’ll have you soaring toward adventure on the horizon!

Abilities: Bright Eyes has the ability to bring an eye twinkle and a smiling giggle to those around her: with a wink she can lift up a drooping spirit, within a blink she can inspire pep into a tired step. She knows that sometimes laughter is the best medicine, and that sometimes, its time to look inside and reflect. Like the sharp-eyed eagle, she can spot the difference: she can perceive when a spontaneous tap-dancing routine might lighten the mood, and when it’s time to slow down together and ponder the deeper questions of life. Whether connecting with individuals from behind her camera, or chatting with the backpacker in front of her on the trail, Bright Eyes’ interest in and understanding of those around her is a force to be reckoned with.

History: Bright Eyes grew up where the bald eagles soar, on small, beautiful Lopez Island, WA. She spread her wings young, running around barefoot in her backyard and looking up literally and figuratively to her two older sisters. Her adventurous outlook began with her family, who took her on her first camping trip to Washington’s Olympic Coast when she was not even a year old, and showed her the joys of the San Juans Islands by boat and by backpacking in the high country. Bright Eyes took a year off between high school and college to see the world, and had her worldview changed by a 3-month NOLS semester in the Rockies. She was inspired by this first experience with formal outdoor education, by the challenge and reward of group living, by her new horse packing and rock climbing skills. Empowered with confidence and wilderness savvy, Bright Eyes went on to help others share in new adventures by developing an outdoor trip program for St. Edward’s College in Austin, TX where she attended college. She got behind the camera officially during college with a Photography major, and began to share her perspective with others more concretely through creative printing processes and her own photography shows. After witnessing firsthand how much personal growth and insight can happen in a group expedition setting, Bright Eyes worked for several summers at a camp on a tiny island in the San Juans, laying her head in a teepee some nights and pitching a tent in the North Cascades or on the glaciated slopes of Mt. Baker for others. She shared the magic of the outdoors with the groups of young women she worked with over the summer months, and her wisdom as a mentor and adventure leader grew with each passing season. Bright Eyes is Wilderness First Responder, CPR, and Lifeguard certified.

Current Base and Operations: Bright Eyes is nested for the winter on Lopez Island, WA, spending time with her mom and beloved dog, but she is ready to take flight come spring. Currently, catch a glimpse of her exploring the island, hosting a movie night, attending a yoga class in a straw-bale studio, or up to her waist in negatives at work in the photo archive. She’s savoring the views of the mountains, trees, and ocean, and can’t wait to be out in the backcountry with Alpengirls, sharing the views and spreading her love for the outdoors!