Katie S

Hailing from Asheville, NC, Katie is currently pursuing a degree at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is a former AT student, having attended our Leadership Adventure gap semester. At UNC, Katie works as an expedition instructor, leading caving, backpacking, paddling, and climbing trips across North Carolina. She also volunteers as an outdoor educator for elementary school students. She’s worked as a flatwater raft guide for the U.S. National Whitewater Center in North Carolina, and as the head camp counselor at the Adventure Center of Asheville, where she took campers rafting down the Pigeon River, through high ropes courses, and on mountain biking day trips.

  • Education: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, bachelor’s degree in communications and dramatic art in progress
  • Certifications: Wilderness first responder, river rescue
  • Favorite outdoor memory: Hands-down, one of my favorite AT memories has to be this one day of backpacking in the North Cascades. The sun was shining as we laughed and sang along a trail full of huckleberries, swinging bridges, and waterfalls. We eventually reached this absolutely breathtaking valley full of wildflowers, mountain goats, and glaciers in the distance. When we reached The Most Scenic Campsite of All Time, we chowed down on my favorite AT meal (DIY pizza lunchables), set up camp, and spent the remainder of the afternoon swimming in an ice-cold, crystal-clear glacial stream nearby. Despite the physical exhaustion we all felt, we spent hours laying out under a view of the Milky Way. I still can’t believe that place is real.
  • Favorite outdoor achievement: I could go on and on with all my favorite moments from my summer LAS trip, but I’ll name a few: We ate dinner across from two moose at a backcountry campsite in Colorado. We scaled an epic multi-pitch climb and returned to our sleeping bags only to witness a massive fireball streak across the night sky in Idaho. We acted out rescue scenarios in the ice-cold rapids of the White Salmon and in the shadow of Mt. Adams. I had the opportunity to co-lead a student-led capstone backpack in the Goat Rocks Wilderness. We visited what has to be some of the most beautiful natural landscapes ever witnessed. I’m so thankful I got to share that with such a wonderful group of people.
  • Favorite place you’ve traveled: This is an impossible question, but I fell in love with Washington while at AT. I’m a huge rock nerd, and the volcanic landscape there is so sick. We got to raft down a 14-foot waterfall in a collapsed lava tube. A LAVA TUBE! There are also a ton of alpine meadows full of wildflowers, mountain goat families, and 360-degree views. If you get the chance to visit the Goat Rocks Wilderness, North Cascades National Park, or the White Salmon river, I highly recommend it.
  • Favorite hobbies: If I’m spending time outside with friends, family, or my sweet dog Patches… life is good. But specifically, I am a huge water girl. Polar plunge? Surfing? Rock skipping? Skiing? Paddling? Racing stick-and-leaf boats down rivers? Count me in. I’m also super passionate about theatre and making music.
  • What do you hope to learn this summer? I hope I can conquer my fear of Rosarita’s refried beans after an unspeakable experience. Also, I dream of achieving the simultaneous Chaco and Teva tan. Jokes aside, I am beyond honored to have the chance to learn and grow daily as an outdoorsman, leader, and human being. I am especially excited to have the chance to work and learn under such experienced and passionate co-instructors.
  • What are you most excited for this summer? Last summer was the time of my life. I cannot wait to be a part of the incredibly special community and environment that is AT again. Also: battle cries into canyons, sporks, post-dinner sunsets, pop culture debates on the trail, singing in the van, and everything in between.
  • Previous Adventure Treks include Leadership Adventure Semester, British Columbia Adventure