Whenever we travel to the United States, we go hiking and exploring at least one National Park. The Valley of Fire in Nevada is one of our favorites, but there’s also Yosemite, Bryce Canyon, Death Valley, Zion and so many more that stroke us with wonder. So, when we found out that Taylor and Merissa, who we’re following on Instagram, are park rangers for the U.S. National Park Service, we couldn’t wait to share their story with you!
Meet the girls from “Lesbi Adventurous” and ask them any question you have about National Parks!
Hi there! We’re Merissa and Taylor from lesbi_adventurous! We are both park rangers for the National Park Service and are lucky enough to be nomadic, moving every 5-6 months to a different beautiful National Park. We spend most of our days hiking and exploring wherever our “backyard” is! Hiking, adventuring, and travel is such an integral part of our lives. It’s not only how we met, but it is also what keeps our relationship strong!
Our story began the summer of 2016. Merissa had journeyed from Michigan to Yosemite National Park; a beautiful park of towering granite cliffs, endless domes, and jagged peaks, for her second season as an interpretive park ranger. While Taylor, who is a California native and grew up going to this incredible park, had just started an internship in the same district.
When we sat down together at the picnic table outside the small visitor’s center for our first staff meeting I don’t think either of us had any idea what life had in store for us. Our supervisor quickly learned that we had similar interests, and paired us up on projects together. We spent months working together on wildflower surveys, leading morning plant walks, and teaching visitors about bat research in the park. Eventually, we both realized that we wanted to not only spend all day working together, but also all weekend together hiking and backpacking. We both knew that we were actually more than friends.
Yet life is never simple, and we were both scared to tell each other how we felt. Neither of us had ever been in a relationship with another woman, and so it took months (and a little bit of alcohol) for us to finally tell each other our true feelings. But from that night on we’ve been together exploring, adventuring as much as we can!
Meeting in Yosemite really set the stage for our incredible and adventurous life together. Since we have been together, we have explored many places throughout the US, including: the Eastern Sierras, Southern California, the Southwest, and a total of more than 10 National Parks and various National Monuments. Our greatest adventure together to date? Definitely our road trip through the American Southwest.
During the summer of 2017 we were lucky enough to both get jobs as park rangers in Zion National Park. Zion is unarguably stunning, but also incredibly busy, so at the end of a long season we were ready to hit the road and visit some less crowded places.
Road tripping as a couple presents some unique challenges. Since neither of us particularly loves driving for long hours, we have to negotiate switching every so often. The passenger is responsible for navigating, picking the music, and coordinating snacks as well as supplying the essentials like water, chapstick and lotion. But, these are the kinds of things all couples deal with. What’s unique about road tripping through miles and miles of southwest desert is that sometimes you have to make an emergency pull over on the side of the highway and pee, right in front of the other.
Over the course of our trip, we also became a lot more familiar with each other’s comfort levels on a variety of things. Squeezing into tight slot canyons and wandering out on cliff edges definitely pushes your limits! But so can little things like not being able to find anywhere to get coffee, midnight sandstorms, or loud neighbors in the campground.
So having each other there for support was absolutely essential. It makes it easy for us to push our personal boundaries while still feeling safe. This road trip helped us to find that balance between understanding and empathizing, but also helping each other to become just a little more adventurous! We’ve also discovered that although there are times where we motivate each other to go further, there are definitely times of mutual laziness, which is perfectly okay! Sometimes it’s nice to take an easy day and just relax.
We have been very fortunate that in our travels thus far as a couple we have had nothing but positive experiences. In our time spent working, as well as traveling the National Parks, we have received nothing but support. As an LGBTQ couple we find it incredibly important to find those places that you feel like you’re absolutely welcomed.
So, if you’re looking for a grand adventure that’s very LGBTQ friendly – look into taking a trip to one (or many!) of the US National Parks! We have found that other travelers are exceptionally open-minded, and we are never afraid to hold hands or behave as a couple on the trail. However, we know that our experiences may not be universal. Millions of people visit these parks every year, and just because we haven’t had a bad experience yet, doesn’t mean it isn’t a possibility!
We are incredibly happy to have found our adventure partners for life! This road trip was just one of many trips we’ve taken together, and hopefully there will be many more to come. We can’t wait to expand our travels to outside of the United States. Our dream is to have a cute little house with some dogs and somehow find time to travel the world as well!
Our Instagram page aims to inspire members of the LGBTQ community, women, and everyone to get outside and explore. We hope that our story of adventurous love speaks to you, and if you ever have any questions about our experiences as a couple or our trips, feel free to message us on Instagram!
*The views expressed on this blog post are Merissa’s and Taylor’s own views and do not reflect those of the National Park Service or the United States government.
Thank you for sharing your story, Melissa and Taylor! What better way to meet a partner?! Your job as park rangers sounds fantastic, and those IG photos are stunning. I’m a California native and have never been to Yosemite. I need to get out there! Enjoy Zion National Park together; I look forward to seeing more of your travels!
Mei and Kerstin
Oh you have to explore Yosemite one day! It’s such a beautiful area, where we wished we could have stored the fresh air onsite in a bottle! Haha.. And I’m sure that Merissa and Taylor can give you lots of tips! 🙂
You guys are beyond adorable – I love your story and the adventurous life you’re building together. Thanks for the serious couple goals 😉
Ah these some really great pictures there, I am a huge hiker but I have never had a chance to do any in America as of yet. Instead I have only skied there in mammoth mountain. I think that it is cool that you get to change every 5-6 months to a different beautiful National Park to work.
Relationships built on shared adventures are powerful. I get entirely what you say about roadtrips being a great way to know one another even better; we’ve been together 18 years and are still discovering new things about each other, especially when we’re traveling. And I have major job envy; that sounds fascinating and being in the middle of such beauty every day must be so inspiring.
Great story! Yosemite is one of our favorite parks – what a great place to have met. National Parks are such a treasure!
I love that they are able to move every few months working for the national parks. That sounds incredible! Thank you for sharing!
Mei and Kerstin
You’re welcome! The girls really have an awesome job, don’t they?! 🙂
We love the NPS. We have had so many great experiences traveling to them and met so many great fellow travelers and Rangers. I would love to hear more of your stories about your journeys and about your time as Rangers.
OMG – how much I love your pics! The National Park in America must be incredible – Hopefully I can go there one day.
All the best to you girls – an keep on traveling 😉
Oh my god, being a park ranger and being able to move every couple of months… I think that may well be the best job I’ve ever heard of!