Our Team

Backpack: John Muir Trail

The hike that launched The Cairn Project: in 2016, Founders Alison Wright and Sarah Castle set out to hike the John Muir Trail in California’s Sierra Nevada as the first “Get Out, Give Back” adventure.

Instagram: @alison.m.wright | @sc_castle

221 Miles in 12 days

Named for one of America’s best loved wilderness explorers, the JMT is a long distance hiking route that follows the crest of the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California. From its northern terminus in Yosemite Valley, it passes through several Wilderness Areas, Devils Postpile National Monument, and Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. The JMT ends at the summit of Mt. Whitney, the highest point in the Lower 48 (14,505 ft).

Fundraising Goal: $30,000

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Inspiring Adventure & Elevating Women

The inaugural Get Out Give Back adventure was an unforgettable experience and an exciting challenge. Check out our our trip report for a day-by-day digest and our gear lists.

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Aw Cf Sup
Alison Wright
Founder - The Cairn Project

A San Francisco native, Alison grew up in a family that enjoyed the privilege of outdoor access – many memories were made in California’s iconic mountain and coastal landscapes. Alison has spent her career in the philanthropic sector, advancing initiatives for justice and empowerment internationally and closer to home. In addition to her leadership at The Cairn Project, she directs the Environmental Defenders Collaborative at Global Greengrants Fund, channeling support to frontline environmental activists around the world.

About 9
Sarah Castle
Founder - The Cairn Project

Sarah Castle grew up in a small mountain town west of Denver, Colorado, and has spent most of her adult life a stone’s throw away from the Rocky Mountains. Though she held a fascination for wild places at a young age, it wasn’t until late high school that she became captivated by the high elevations and unbeaten paths of the mountains in her backyard. Merging her love for both exploration and grit, Sarah pursued a career in soil science, studying the effects of global change and land use on natural and managed ecosystems. Currently living in Saint Paul, Minnesota, you’re likely to find her either trail running or logging one of many 70mi. weekend bike rides. Sarah holds B.A. and M.S. degrees from the University of Colorado and a Ph.D. from the University of Montana.