makayla crist

Montana Child

Explore Your Backyard
Keeping these lands sacred and wild

Everything was still.

Lit by the alpenglow.


And obviously propelling. We were flying not to run away, but to run just far enough to see something different.

I grew up wandering these mountains we glided over. The mountains that taught me everything I know. Taught me how to hike. Taught me a kind of preservence that reminded me to not look back till I reached the top. I remember climbing in wind storms & snowstorms. Hot & cold days. Pretending to be anywhere, flying with palms up, touching the sky. Breath beating on- My back and legs on fire from the rocks in my backpack- the rocks my dad threw in my pack to make me stronger. "Give me an edge" he would always tell me.

7 years ago. Nothing has changed. Going back years later, I still feel my body pulsing. Daydreaming about big trees & yellow skies & anything that would make me happy in that moment. Everything is the same. Still. Trans like. But this time, I was flying again. Not to run away. Just far enough to see something different.

The Chinese Wall   

The Chinese Wall


Morning Light

Morning Light

My favorite part of the day- right before sunrise. Soft and quiet light that carries over. Radiating itself down hidden valleys. Igniting mountain tops. We're alpenglow chasers. Because there's nothing like seeing morning light hitting the earth for the first time. Hitting pines or streams or dirt roads. Glaring or beaming. To me, it's like falling. In love. Or out of a tree or however you fall. It's that gut feeling. It hits you, and you're unparalleled. And you're staring mindless at it, feeling everything. From mile one- to mile one hundred. Completely lost but consumed in the light.

I was a little kid looking out of the glass. Fixated for the first time. When the sun came up through the window, I couldn’t hear or pay attention to anything else. Everything I could see- I felt. I felt color and warmth pulsing through me. Like waves to a sea. Like wind cutting through trees- Abruptly, but not all at once. I was seeing a puzzle that was purposely cut. Shaped to the alpine lakes and high peaks. We saw the world bend and curve. Maybe we were flying to the rhythmof my heartbeat, because everything was alive and infinite. sitting in this three seater plane, we were smiling because everything was good and how it should be.


Whether its protecting your public lands or making it a safe environment, lets keep these lands clean. Long distance Backpacking has really changed my view on keeping the mountains safe. I can't tell you how many times, I've seen the beauty contrasted with human waste. Or selfish individuals wanting to keep this place all to themselves. Just remember, what made us wild in the first place. Lets share the experience. Pass it on.