Standing at an imposing 6’6”, founder of Happy Grizzly Adventures, Stacy Bare wasn’t always a “big adventure” guy.
Sure, he grew up like most young boys in 1980’s America, exploring the outdoors immediately around his home on the South Dakota moraine. But in his youth, he never thought about the possibilities of climbing mountains in countries on the other side of the world – war ravaged countries most westerners tried to avoid in fact.
Fast forward to his college years, Stacy joined the ROTC at the University of Mississippi, later enlisting in the U.S. Army, deploying to Iraq in 2003. Like many vets, transitioning back to home life after his time in the military wasn’t easy. He was adrift, lost, and in decline, without a sense of purpose.
Battling post-wartime addictions built trying to cope with post military life, Stacy’s visit to a friend in Colorado proved to be a healing experience he hadn’t expected. Bouldering, climbing, hiking and mountaineering with his buddy, he gradually realized the transformative power outdoor experiences provided.
Beginning to understand this potential, he found a new mission; perhaps he could help heal his own invisible wounds, by helping others fighting similar battles, through the positive transformation big outdoor experiences provided.
Before long, Stacy and other like-minded individuals were leading groups of veterans on “intentional adventures.” Journeying to Afghanistan, Iraq and other spots where our vets’ trauma had originated, together they faced painful memories head-on, using extraordinary skiing, climbing, snowboarding adventure in these regions to rewrite their own perception of how their times spent in these countries shaped their lives.
Watch our short interview below to learn how Bivy helped give Stacy the confidence needed to communicate with loved ones back home from these remote locations, and provide the peace of mind needed, so he could focus on healing and adventure.