BY TREVOR COBB ’18
Walking into Dr. Elizabeth Paddock’s office, you might not assume she has hiked the mountain that peaks above the clouds in the photo behind her desk. She has hiked not only that mountain, but many around North America.
Paddock began hiking more consistently when she met her husband. Now, they are veteran hikers with experience in the Rocky Mountains, Canada and along both coasts. Despite her diverse hiking background, “It’s the Rocky Mountains that really call to us,” she explains.
Hiking provides a needed escape from committee meetings and lecture planning. “You have to get away from ‘this,’ no matter what ‘this’ is,” she says pointing to her desk full of papers. “I love teaching, and I love the students, but getting outside and being on the trail for a little bit is so enlivening and refreshing. “There are times you can be out on a trail and the quiet is so intense and profound.”
In order to have these experiences, Paddock trains throughout the year. She hikes local trails and runs often to increase her lung capacity so that she is prepared for the thin mountain air. Training for excellence is not the only aspect of performance Paddock incorporates into her hiking experiences.
“I think I am a much better person and a better teacher, faculty member and colleague here at Drury because of my connection with the wilderness and that which is outside of me,” she said. By having these wilderness experiences, Paddock gets in touch with another side of herself she cannot experience walking to and from classrooms on campus.
The journey to the top of the mountain helps her perform better in her daily life, energizing her to keep climbing.