When Communication Professor Shirley Drew made Pittsburg her home 16 years ago, she took up a hobby that, given her profession, doesn't lend itself to a lot of talking.
Instead of practicing her art, she's spending her summers working on a different type of discipline: following through on physically strenuous mountain hikes.
Drew, a lover of the great outdoors, often spends her summer breaks quietly hiking along some of the most beautiful horizons in the country with her group "hikrbabes," a group of friends from across the country who bonded a decade ago over their passion for hiking.
"I love being outside and seeing nature from vantage points that not a lot of people have seen it from," said Drew. "It started when I hiked the Grand Canyon with a friend during spring break all those years ago, and I've been hooked ever since."
Now, she and the other "hikrbabes" can't wait for their annual trips to places like the Appalachian Trail and Mt. Katahdin, the highest mountain in Maine. This summer, the group will be spending time in Colorado before heading to Maine again next year.
Hiking, as in life, she says, is all about finding your own path, and feeling good about your contribution.
"It started out that everybody had the same goal," she said. "Now we say that everybody hikes their own hike. We go at our own pace. I will say this - I'm never the first but I'm never the last."