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Jackie Arnal | 07.01.2019

This article originally appeared as part of Women in the Wild 2017 and has been republished.

The northern Sierra Nevada is where my love for nature all began. Growing up in a small mountain town on the west side of the Sierra, my adventurous grandfather constantly took me hiking, camping, and on rock hounding trips, where he shared his love of the outdoors and let me discover what its all about. Later I moved to the beautiful state of Oregon where I spent my teens and 20s. I really invested my time into exploring one hike after another, hot spring trips, snowshoe excursions, rock/fossil hunting, birding and so on. I love nature and am always on the hunt for wildflower meadows, epic mountain vistas, wildlife sightings, and glacial lakes. I'm especially drawn to mountains; they will challenge you and reward you, and they require the utmost respect. Nature is my therapy.

While getting burnt out working over a decade in the restaurant industry as a bartender/server, I started volunteering a lot working on projects I enjoyed. My volunteer work included trail restoration, taking at-risk urban youth out on week-long backpacking trips in the wilderness, and rehabbing injured, orphaned or imprinted birds and mammals. When the restaurant where I worked at in Portland, Oregon, closed down, I knew I needed to make change in my life and that I wanted to work out in nature, so I decided to go back to school to obtain a degree in Natural Resources and Wildlife.

I am now employed seasonally with the Forest Service, where I work with wildlife in the summer and work in recreation during the winter. It's been an exciting career so far, and I have been loving every minute of it! In just the past year, I worked a Biological Science Technician (Wildlife) position in the Sierra, where I got to backpack at elevations of 7,000 to 12,000 feet to monitor the endangered Sierra Nevada yellow-legged frog (Rana sierrae) and Yosemite toad (Anaxyrus canorus). This past winter, I worked in recreation as a Forestry Technician/OHV where I got to explore the Wyoming Range on a snowmobile. This summer I'll be stationed on the White River National Forest in Colorado conducting wildlife surveys at timber sale locations. 

Along this journey, I started taking up photography to show my family and friends all the beautiful places I get to travel to, and now I share with thousands of people on Instagram and have had photos published in magazines and other online sites. I can't express enough gratitude to all the love and support I've received. 

For more information on working with the U.S. Forest Service, please check out

Follow along on Jackie's adventures via Instagram @mountainjacks.



Love your blog. I grew up in the Colorado mountains and have seen the most beautiful things; aspen valleys, herds of elk, a fox den, moose, awe-inspiring electric storms, frost covered trees, lakes and water falls, canyons, and the list goes on and on. I even saw fairy slippers (flower) growing in the wild. Now I live in Southeast Wyoming near Curt Gowdy State Park and Medicine Bow National Forest. It's beautiful country. Enjoy your adventure :)
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Women in the Wild is a movement that recognizes the amazing women who enrich the outdoor community with their passions, inspirations, and accomplishments. Outdoor Project is proud to grow this campaign in 2019 with the help of guest editor and 2018 #womaninthewild Georgina Miranda, adventurer, entrepreneur, mountaineer, and founder and CEO of She Ventures. We're proud to open our platform once again for the incredible stories and photography of women throughout our community. From in-depth interviews with outdoor advocates, influencers, and athletes to female-focused content from the community, Women in the Wild 2019 aims to amplify the voice of women in celebration of female fortitude, strength, and camaraderie in the outdoors.

For a complete list of content published in correlation with Women in the Wild 2019, visit Women in the Wild 2019: Amplifying Women in the Outdoors.

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