Wilderness Inquiry is known for bringing people together – and no one did that better than Whitney Ulvestad. We are saddened to share that Whitney passed on May 8th after a brave and tenacious fight against brain cancer. Although her fight against cancer has ended, her fight for bringing joy to all she encountered will live on.
After guiding in Ecuador, Costa Rica, and Belize, Whitney started with Wilderness Inquiry in 2013 and led 19 outdoor experiences for people of all ages, backgrounds, and abilities. She spent much of her season providing trips in the Apostle Islands but also served individuals in Itasca, the Boundary Waters, and along the Mississippi River. She touched the lives of 560 participants in just a few months. Whitney was known for her strong work ethic, can-do attitude, and just plain fun personality. She was always willing to do what it took to make a fantastic and safe experience for all.
Whitney will be remembered for so many positive things – her cooking skills, avid paddling ability, and the ability to bring together diverse groups of people. As we celebrate her life, and her impact on the lives of many, we wanted to share a few quotes about her from participants and staff:
“Whitney was just awesome in dealing with my son. Her patience and gentle firmness helped guide Peter through his and my experience and made the trip enjoyable.”
“Wonderful person inside and out! You have a special ability to utilize your sense of humor to make people feel comfortable and at ease. You seek to connect with people. I know you really left a positive impression on my mom. Thank you for the coffee!!!”
“Hard worker and very much a team player. Fun to be around and patient.”
“Whitney was great help and support to our group. She was stung by a bee on our first day. Though her hand and arm swelled up, and she was in a great deal of pain and discomfort, she carried on like a trooper to fulfill her duties. She worked hard to prepare nutritious meals for a group of 12.”
“Whitney does a great job interacting with participants and instilling a sense of trust in them. Whitney is a rock star. She does well at integrating with participants and making sure that they have their coffee fix!”
“I appreciated Whitney’s positive attitude throughout the trip for the sake of myself and the other participants.”
“Whitney shows compassion and sensitivity yet pushes participants to go beyond their comfort zone. She recognizes participant needs and worked on empowering participants to do things independently.”
And last but not least, many shared that she was, “very compassionate and thoughtful.” Our thoughts go out to Whitney’s family and her many friends – in the Wilderness Inquiry community and beyond.
Her family has designated Wilderness Inquiry as a recipient for memorial donations in order to share Whitney’s passion for adventure with others.