Never Say Never with Emily Sierra

Emily Sierra describes herself as a “Colorado based lenswoman with a passion for outdoor adventure and world travel.” Her photography is proof of her worldly travels, and as you’ll read below, she’s got some awesome stories to tell. Give her page a follow on Instagram, and learn more below:


1. Name your favorite place on earth and why?

Do I have to choose just one?

There’s a reason I go back to Utah every year, a couple of times a year. I love the landscape there, it feels so different from what I am used to in Colorado. I have become particularly fond of the San Rafael Swell area because there aren’t too many people and it’s dog friendly! I also spent a few days backpacking in the Wind River Range in Wyoming last year. The scenery there is stunning and rivals that of Patagonia. There are rugged peaks, beautiful clear water and oodles of trails. My heart though, belongs to Colorado.

little-grand-canyon-sunriseSunrise over the Little Grand Canyon | San Rafael Swell, Utah

wind-river-rangeIsland Lake | Wind River Range, Wyoming

I also have a passion for world travel. I really love traveling in Southeast Asia…the food, people, culture and scenery are unmatched. Myanmar has been a favorite destination, especially for photography. The people there are so warm and bashful. The kids really loved seeing their image pop up on the back of a camera too…so sweet.

myanmar-fish-marketFish Market | Sittwe, Myanmar


Kids hamming it up for the camera | Palaung Village, Myanmar

2. What is your go-to outdoor activity?


3. What is one song on your road trip playlist?

“The Road Goes On Forever” by Robert Earl Keen

4. What’s the gnarliest situation you’ve ever been in? 

Probably both times that I have been climbing with “unnecessary gear”. One time was literally passing a 30 lb dog between 3 of us climbing up the backside of Mt. Toll in Indian Peaks Wilderness. This particular dog has accompanied us on many adventures, and I am convinced that she’s part mountain goat. The other time was when my boyfriend and I were backpacking to a hut in Jasper National Park. We missed the trail, and started free-climbing a rock wall, known as “headwall”. If we didn’t have big packs on, it wouldn’t have felt so sketchy. For Christmas that year, I got him a magnet of a mountain goat on the side of a rock wall that said “recalculating”…pretty suiting for the situation that day.


Looking for a line on the backside of Mt. Toll | Indian Peaks Wilderness, Colorado

5. Can you tell us about a time when you pushed the limits? 

When I was in college I spent a semester in Chile, and completed my first major trek in Torres del Paine. At the culmination, that trek was the hardest, and most rewarding thing I had done in my life. I remember being incredibly unprepared; wearing tennis shoes and using a trash bag as rain gear. I had horrible blisters and an amazing soul introduced me to moleskin. More than anything though, I remember the raw, wild beauty that is Patagonia. At the end of the 37 miles, I just felt so proud of myself. I had truly pushed my personal limits and learned so many lessons, and most importantly realized my passion for the outdoors. I’ve been a nut ever since.


Emily at the culmination of the “W Trek” in Torres del Paine, 2009 | Chile

6. Name a destination on your bucket list:

Anywhere I can go to see the Aurora Borealis.

7. What is one thing you will never do?

Never say never.

8. What is one thing you will always do?

Eat a cookie.

9. Do you have a pet?

Merle! He’s a blue merle miniature schnauzer. He spent the first 1 ½ years in a puppy mill (mass dog breeding facility), then we adopted him from National Mill Dog Rescue in Colorado Springs. He didn’t know how to use stairs or lift his leg to pee. He didn’t know what treats were and he was terrified of guitar cases. 4 years later, he hikes mountains with us, skis with us, swims in creeks, loves kids, and snuggles up at night. He’s the coolest dog (in my book).


Merle in a slot canyon | San Rafael Swell, Utah

10. What is your spirit emoji? 



One of my favorite adventure tales recounts the time that Aaron and I traveled to Patagonia (Argentine side). We were there in the Spring, and therefore spent the first few days in El Chalten, playing many hands of cards while waiting for the rainy weather to pass to hopefully get out and catch some views of the amazing mountains we came to see. We fell victim to the area’s weather forecaster, Wind Guru, and were convinced that if we extended our time down there that we might have a shot at taking in some of the scenery.

Approaching our final days in El Chalten, there was an afternoon break in the weather, so we packed our stuff and hiked in toward Fitz Roy. We were about 2 miles from our camp when the sideways rain began. The wind in Patagonia is no joke! We arrived at camp, set up our tent in the rain, and made a rock wall on the outside of the tent to help protect us from the wind. Then we settled in for the next 16 hours while the weather whipped around outside (if you want to get to know someone really well…). Thanks to our awesome Marmot tent, we stayed nice and dry and enjoyed some tasty dehydrated lasagna made by a gal in Bariloche.

Around 5 in the morning, I woke up and it was quiet. I unzipped the tent and something bright orange was glowing through the trees…it was Fitz Roy. I shook Aaron, hurriedly got dressed, grabbed my camera gear and headed out to a clearing. We witnessed a burning sunrise on some of the most impressive granite walls I have ever seen. It might have been the cold air biting at my face, but I was teary with a wide range of emotions.

Truly, this is still one of the most epic moments of my life.

Taking advantage of the good weather, we hustled back to camp, grabbed our day packs and headed up to Laguna de los Tres below Fitz Roy. The clouds were already moving swiftly around the peaks, but there was still sun, and it felt so good. After a short time at the lake, we headed down to camp and packed our things and headed out. The peak was in the clouds by the time we were back on the trail, and stayed that way until we headed out of town.


Sunrise on Fitz Roy | Argentina


Approaching Lagua de los Tres | Fitz Roy, Argentina