When Maiza’s husband Dallin Wilson set off to Louisville, Kentucky for a firefighting competition in 2016, he did not have plans to buy property in Kentucky. “It just sort of happened,” Maiza laughs, as she recounts the story. “He bought the property sight unseen. We didn’t even set foot on the land until a year later.” Dallin had his eye out for the land because of its proximity to the world-class rock climbing in the Red River Gorge. However, the real project would turn out to be building a shed on the property. The industrious couple knows their way around power tools. Maiza is one of the few women bolting sport climbs in America, and she and Dallin already own a home in Great Falls, Montana. “We bought the second property so that we could have a comfortable place to stay while climbing in Kentucky,” Maiza adds, detailing how much she has enjoyed getting to know the local community. “The neighbors couldn't believe we bought this land! They have been so friendly to us.”
The Red River Gorge is one of America’s premier sport climbing destinations. It is located in the heart of the Kentucky mountains and offers hundreds of steep bolted sport routes on impeccable sandstone. “The forest is so pretty, it is so green,” Maiza grins as she describes the area. “It reminds me a lot of home,” she adds, referring to the Amazon rainforest. For Maiza, climbing in the Red River Gorge makes a lot of sense. She enjoys climbing on steep terrain, and ever since entering the climbing scene she’s felt drawn to the infamous Kentucky sandstone. Before buying the land, the couple had visited the Red River Gorge once before, staying at two separate campgrounds during their trip. “The only problem is that all the campgrounds were so loud, it was difficult to rest and sleep because people were arriving at all hours of the day. It was a long wait for the bathroom, and it was muddy and rainy... Difficult to make breakfast. Basically it was really fun climbing, but unpleasant to camp,” Maiza explains.
Maiza isn’t one to sit around and complain, though. The next time she and Dallin visited the Red River Gorge, they drove down in a beat-up truck full of building materials with the intent to construct a shed on their newly purchased never-before-seen property in Kentucky. Dallin’s dream of owning a cabin in the woods, something that feels like a tree fort, was going to come true. First, he and Maiza would construct the shed, with the eventual goal of building a full-sized cabin on the property in the summer of 2021. Dallin planned to put his years of experience working construction and tinkering with various building projects to good use. For him, the location of the property wasn’t what mattered, it was the building project that enchanted him. Maiza, on the other hand, couldn't stop dreaming of the rock in the Red River Gorge. The thought of owning a cabin that is 10-30 minutes away from arguably the best sport climbing in the United States had her mind reeling with possibilities and dreams of training to push her mental and physical limits. As the two set off they were both filled with a vision for the Kentucky property that was full of limitless potential.
Photo Credit: Irene Yee