Welcome to the Women Outdoors Spotlight Series: a space for women to share their stories, articulate what the outdoors means to them, and encourage other women to say yes to adventure.

This week’s series features Kamrin Peterson.

female at mountain summit

Welcome! I’m so excited to hear all about your adventurous lifestyle. Please introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about you!

My name is Kamrin and I am a PNW native living in Bend, Oregon.

My 9-5 job allows me to work remotely as a software designer, but my passion lies in guiding and getting others (specifically women) outside. I recently started my own guiding business called She Thrives Outside and am STOKED to start helping other women get outside and adventure. It has been a goal of mine for quite a while but I never really made the commitment so here I am, going full send.

female hiking in the PNW

She Thrives Outside sounds incredible! I am so excited to watch it grow! Now tell us what inspired you to start getting outside.

Fun Fact: I have not always been outdoorsy.

I actually was a cheerleader all through college and truly embodied that persona.

It wasn’t until I started dating someone in my early 20s that was somewhat outdoorsy that I began hiking and camping more. During that relationship, I was often told that I was “too scared” or was told, “Just trust me”, even when I did not feel I was in a safe situation.

After we split, I had to make a decision as to if I wanted to continue this hobby or move on with my life. I told myself, if I am going to keep getting out on the trails, I want to do so safely and rely on my own knowledge to do so.

two females snowshoeing with incredible views

Since then, I have spent the last few years getting outside as much as possible and taking courses to put tools in my toolbox for good decision-making. This is what sparked the passion behind She Thrives Outside, and what has helped make the decision to start it in the first place.

I want other women to feel empowered to step on a trail and feel safe doing so. They should feel confident and knowledgeable without having to rely on anyone but themselves.

Now, here I am guiding backpacking, mountaineering, mountain biking, rock climbing, fly fishing, and snowboarding.

I am so impressed by you! The mission behind what you’ve built for women is so inspiring and something I can’t wait to be a part of. You have many outdoor hobbies, what would you say is your favorite?

BACKPACKING. No question about it.

There is something about waking up in a tent, feeding your body, and only worrying about getting from point A to point B. You don’t think about work or any of the other problems going on in life, you simply are out there existing with nature and enjoying the views.

It is extremely hard work, but always worth it in the end.

female backpacking at high elevation

This is something I have just learned over time with other friends through trial and error. I didn’t really have anyone close to me that did a lot of backpacking, so I just started creating a community around me.

Oddly enough I have made most of my backpacking friends simply by reaching out via social media and asking questions. You would be surprised how willing others are to get outside with you, even if you don’t know a whole lot about it.

Social media is such a great way to connect with like-minded people. Tell us about your most memorable adventure to date.

In my opinion, some of the scary ones are the most memorable just because there was a lot at stake, but for the sake of positivity, I will give you my most memorable positive adventure.

One of the most memorable trips I have ever been on was a trip that involved hiking through the Enchantments near Leavenworth, WA before carrying on to a fire lookout in Montana.

First, if you have never stayed on a fire lookout, DO IT. They easily showcase the most beautiful sunrises and sunsets I have ever seen.

I went on this trip with one of my closest friends, Shea, who I coincidentally met on a backpacking trip through Belize.

The trip consisted of a lot of hiking, beautiful views, staying up until the wee hours of the morning watching shooting stars, listening to good music, drinking IPAs, eating tons of sour patch kids, almost sleeping in the front yard of someone’s lawn in our tent, staying in the cutest tiny home in Coeur De Alene, ID, and falling asleep to the wood burning stove inside the fire lookout.

Something I have learned over time is that even if the trail or adventure itself turns into a dud somehow, the company you keep can make a world of difference.

Do cool stuff with cool people and you will have a good time.

female hiking in the snow with helmet on

Yes! It is all about who you surround yourself with! Tell us about your favorite trail that you’ve hiked.

Gosh, this is tough.

In terms of backpacking, I would say hiking the Tahoe Rim Trail with my best friend, Sierra. She was one of those pals I casually DM’d and said “Hey, do you want to go hiking sometime?” Next thing I knew we were mapping out a 160-mile trail together, having barely known each other.

This was one of those trips where I really grew, both as a hiker and a person.

female hiking with mountain and lake views

At just over 100 miles, we made the decision to get off trail due to an Achilles injury I was suffering from.

It is extremely hard to push through the pain you are experiencing, but it is even harder to willingly get off a trail and accept that all of the planning, weekends spent training, and hours of prep leading up to the trip would end in an unfinished trail.

Ah, making those calls is always so tough but it sounds like it’s a trip you’ll remember forever, despite the change in plans. Do you have an adventure (or hobby to learn) that is still on your bucket list?

Spoiler alert, I am about to go on it!

This fall, I scored a permit for the John Muir Trail (JMT).

This is a 211-mile section of the Pacific Crest Trail in the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range. The best part is that I will be conquering this trail SOLO. I know, crazy huh? I never would have thought I would backpack solo, let alone on such a long trail.

That is why I am so stoked to get other women involved with She Thrives Outside so they too can feel confident getting out on the trail alone.

That is going to be epic and a once-in-a-lifetime experience. What piece of advice would you give to women who are looking to break into the outdoor space?

These days, it is so easy to get wrapped up in all of the gear and technicalities of getting outside.

When I first started, I had basic Nike tennis shoes and a backpack that doubled as a college bag for books and such. You don’t need the nicest, lightest or fanciest gear to get out there, you just need to have a bit of motivation and a good navigation resource (shameless plug for AllTrails).

The outdoor community is also super friendly and welcoming, at least in my experience.

female hiking with mountain views

If you are interested in rock climbing, step into a bouldering gym and I am sure folks will chat with you. Join a Facebook group that aims to meet other women getting outside, or come join me on a She Thrives Outside day or overnight trip to break into the space! I promise you won’t regret taking the leap. 

Oh, also, go read “Out Here” by Carolyn Highland and try to tell me you aren’t inspired to get outside. That book has helped me get through more adventures than I can count with her encouraging words and exemplary storytelling skills connecting wilderness learnings to real-life scenarios.

Such great advice! I can co-sign that book recommendation — AMAZING. Tell the readers where they can connect with you further and continue to follow along with your adventures!

You can find me on Instagram at my personal handle, @kamrinkaylee, or my business handle at @shethrivesoutside. Seriously, my messages are always open and I have been known to drive absurd distances to go on adventures with new friends. I would LOVE to help you get outside in any way that I can.

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