A few months ago at her home in Pennsylvania, Hannah Timlin was scrolling through conservation job openings when she came by a job like no other.
Living above 10,000 feet. Greeting hikers of a world-famous mountain. Booking campsites. Preparing pancakes and spaghetti.
Pikes Peak’s Barr Camp needed new caretakers.
Hannah immediately called her husband, Derek, “and insisted we must apply for this opportunity,” she recently recalled, “or we’d regret it forever.”
Less than two weeks at their new home, the 21-year-olds have no regrets.
Meet the new faces of a tradition that’s lasted since the 1970s halfway up America’s Mountain. Derek has big, tumbling hair and Hannah’s has often been dyed the colors of the rainbow — both looks suggesting the free spirits that they are.
Their story begins in 2014, in a 10th-grade class in rural York County, near the Pennsylvania-Maryland border. Derek was new to town.
“We both spent that morning sneaking glances at the other without trying to be seen,” Hannah wrote in an email interview, with no phone service at Barr Camp. “I knew right away, without even knowing Derek’s name or having spoken a word to him, that he was someone that would be in my life forever.”
Freshly graduated from high school and freshly married, they embarked to Colorado in 2017. Hannah would study geology at the University of Colorado at Boulder while Derek would work at Walmart, where she also worked.
But their true passion was far beyond the box store’s walls.
Hannah’s love for geology developed at Ringing Rocks State Park, where as a child she found the bell-sounding talus field to be like magic. Young Derek would explore the woods behind his grandfather’s house in search of reptiles.
Outside was where they always wanted to be, and Boulder seemed perfect. But after two years, Hannah decided CU wasn’t for her. Last summer she and Derek went back to Pennsylvania, where they wouldn’t stay long.
A return to Colorado? Living on Pikes Peak? That call from his wife thrilled Derek.
“I’ve always wanted to live in the mountains,” he wrote to The Gazette. “I love the outdoors and have a passion for preserving Mother Nature, so this job was the perfect opportunity to combine those two things.”
Hannah hopes Barr Camp is a springboard for a career in outdoor education.
“I hope to meet other like-minded individuals,” she wrote, “and get to hear their stories.”