Catherine de Medici Jaffee is a National Geographic Young Explorer, a Fulbright Scholar, a Luce Fellow, the Founder of Balyolu: the Honey Road, and a lunatic about honey culture in the Caucasus. Raised on a farm in the Colorado Rockies, Cat grew up loving animals, dirt, and altitude. Her dedication and passion for animals, agriculture, and women leaders has launched her across the world to raise Aigamo ducks in Japan, to research yak trade caravans in Sikkim, and to study rural women’s migration in Turkey. Cat’s love for Turkey, the mountains, agriculture, and women’s leadership blend together sweetly in her new venture Balyolu and her blog Inspiredbeeing. You can most frequently find her jumping on a mountain, running from angry bees, cooking in villages, dropping some cliffs on her backcountry skis, or hitching on dirt roads back to her home in Kars, Turkey.

For two months, I have traveled over 300 hours in the Colorado winter backcountry with one mission: to learn how we can all travel safer in avalanche territory. Statistically speaking, I should have already had some idea. Winter backcountry guides love to joke that women make smarter, less “ego-driven” decisions regarding avalanches and snow travel,…

I live in Kars, a snowy, cold eastern Turkey town that author Orhan Pamuk describes as  “the edge of the world.” Sometimes when I am staring off the dramatic dropping cliffs of the Anatolian plateaus, I couldn’t imagine a place that would better fit the description. Everywhere I look, it is white rolling mountains uninterrupted by…