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Maggie Moran

Episode 158

Trailblazing Leader of Adams Pack Station

Maggie Moran made a bold career change from a desk job to a life in the wilderness, becoming a leader in the rugged terrain of the Angeles National Forest. She took over Adams Pack Station, a unique operation where donkeys are the main movers, transporting everything from groceries to gear up steep mountain trails. Despite being a rookie to the rugged lifestyle, Maggie quickly learned to manage her team of hardworking donkeys and navigate the challenges of her new role.

When a devastating wildfire nearly wiped out Adams Pack Station, Maggie’s resilience and determination shone through. She didn’t just rebuild the station; she transformed it into a vibrant community hub and a beacon for conservation efforts. Under her leadership, Adams Pack Station has become a place where people gather for local events, fostering a strong sense of community and connection to nature.

Maggie’s passion for preserving the history and natural beauty of the Angeles National Forest drives her daily efforts. She organizes events with a local flavor, bringing people together to celebrate and protect the environment around them. Her story is one of grit, perseverance, and a deep commitment to conservation.

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Maggie Moran Quotes

On Community and Conservation:

“The community has really saved our asses literally. They’ve come to our events, we’ve only been able to survive because people donated to a GoFundMe right off the bat.”

On the Impact of Wildfires:

“The mountain closed that day, we evacuated the donkeys that day, and we took a few items, you know, to be down off the mountain for a few days. And we went down and the fire just kept going. That fire didn’t reach us for a week.”

On the Importance of Nature:

“I hope people think about that when they come in because it is a place that should be filled with people. And that’s what, you know, our mountains are for and that’s, we’re all so close to it. And if you can be in the outdoors, be in the outdoors.”

On Trail Running and Outdoor Activities:

“Trail running, the combination of the outdoors and I think the endorphins you get from running, and the accomplishment of that kind of a workout was a really good combination for me.”

On Mariachi Music:

“It’s beautiful. It’s a part of my culture. I learned how to play violin in elementary school, high school. My parents are musicians and they, I’m grateful, they forced us to play and I’m grateful for it.”

Wildfire Impact and Resilience

Maggie Moran shared her experience with the Bobcat Fire that ravaged the San Gabriel Mountains, particularly affecting Big Santa Anita Canyon. Despite evacuating and initially thinking they would be gone for only a week, they ended up being away for a couple of months. The fire took seven days to reach their location, highlighting the unpredictability and devastation of wildfires.

Community and Conservation

Maggie emphasized the importance of community support and conservation. The local community came together to help rebuild and support the Adams Pack Station through various fundraisers and events. This community spirit has been crucial in keeping the PAX station afloat during challenging times.

Adams Pack Station and Donkeys

Maggie owns and manages Adams Pack Station, where donkeys are used to haul groceries and gear up steep mountain trails. This unique business became a beacon for community gathering and conservation after nearly being wiped out by wildfire.

Mariachi Music and Cultural Heritage

Maggie has a rich background in mariachi music, having moved to Los Angeles to play mariachi. She has been a part of all-female mariachi groups and has used her musical talents to connect with the community and supplement her income.

Trail Running and Outdoor Activities

Maggie is passionate about trail running and hiking, particularly in the San Gabriel Mountains. She has been involved in various trail running groups and uses these outdoor activities as a way to cleanse her soul and stay connected with nature.

Challenges of COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic brought its own set of challenges, with the forest being closed to the public for months. However, when it reopened, the PAX station experienced an overwhelming influx of visitors, which was both a blessing and a logistical challenge.


Music Credits

Like it Loud, Dyalla, YouTube Audio Library

Scarlet Fire (Sting), Otis McDonald, YouTube Audio Library

Indecision, Dyalla, YouTube Audio Library

Picture of Maggie Moran

Maggie Moran

Emmy’s Restaurant in Sierra Madre:

Owned by a local couple, Brittany and Matt, Emmy’s offers culinary delights and has a strong community focus. They also own Poppy Cake, a bakery in Sierra Madre and Arcadia. Maggie praises their food, particularly their burgers and salads, and appreciates their support for local causes.

Bevel Coffee in Altadena:

Kevin, the owner, offers exceptional coffee that Maggie highly recommends. She discovered Bevel Coffee at a farmer’s market and was impressed by the quality and taste, particularly a lavender-flavored latte. Kevin also supported one of their events, serving coffee that was well-received by attendees.

Lucky Baldwin’s in Sierra Madre:

A favorite local pub where Maggie often meets with her trail running group. They enjoy dinner and drinks after their runs, and the pub is known for its accommodating atmosphere and good food. Lucky Baldwin’s has multiple locations, but the Sierra Madre one holds a special place for Maggie.