There’s no better place to revel in the quiet of nature — or experience nature’s ultimate challenges — than our setting in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains. And here to help members of The Cliffs explore our beautiful surroundings in Anna Claire Richardson, The Cliffs’ Outdoor Adventure Supervisor and leader of our Exploration Series.
From group hikes to paddleboarding excursions and kayak tours, even summertime Explorer Camps for kids, Anna Claire coordinates and leads exhilarating events for our members who come to The Cliffs to enjoy the great outdoors. We recently sat down with Anna Claire to find out what inspired her to pursue a career in outdoor leadership, what her favorite adventures are and more…
- What inspired you to pursue a career in outdoor exploration and leadership?
More like WHO! My dad. Growing up, we were constantly camping, going out on the boat, hiking, scuba diving — we did anything and everything adventurous! I was also the most organized kid ever. My room was always spotless and my calendar always planned to a T. My field is basically the two combined — a perfect fit!
- Why are you passionate about the outdoors?
I’ve seen how it has benefitted myself and so many others. It is an amazing avenue to create special memories and to improve overall wellness — especially spiritual, physical, mental and emotional wellness.
- Why are you passionate about helping members of The Cliffs explore the mountains, lakes and more in and around our communities?
For the same reason I enjoy the outdoors in general! I want to help members create amazing memories and pursue wellness in their lives.
- What does your typical day on the job look like?
Weather is a huge factor! If the weather isn’t cooperating, I have to cancel activities for that day, and then I get to work planning more activities! If it is nice out, I’m either scouting for upcoming hikes and adventures or leading an activity.
- What is your favorite summer adventure at The Cliffs?
Visiting the Surf Shop (at Keowee Springs) to go paddleboarding. It is one of the most relaxing and stress-relieving outdoor activities I’ve come across! I highly recommend trying out paddleboard yoga or our special event class Island Flow, where we paddleboard or kayak to one of the nearby islands on Lake Keowee for a beautiful yoga practice and meditation.
- What has been your favorite Exploration Series event?
I’ve gotten to do so many amazing hikes in this area that it’s hard to narrow it down! A couple of my favorites so far have been Opossum Creek Falls, Crabtree Falls, Black Balsam Knob and Max Patch (pictured below).
- What are some of your favorite hobbies when you’re not leading the Exploration Series?
Anything with my husband, Jacob, and my vizsla puppy, Adelaide, sounds like fun to me! I also enjoy working out and coordinating fun activities for students at my church.