Laura Gaines


A three-year Adventure Treks student, Laura returns to Adventure Treks for her fifth season as an instructor. Laura spent this winter working as a ski instructor in Steamboat Springs, CO. Previously, she was as an instructor for Trails Carolina, a wilderness therapy program in North Carolina. She also worked two summers as a trip leader for Camp Pinnacle, where she led backpacking, canoeing, and whitewater rafting trips for kids and teenagers. While in college, Laura served as a naturalist center intern for the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences and studied abroad in Lima, Peru. Laura hails from Raleigh, NC, and is fluent in Spanish!

  • Education: North Carolina State University, bachelor’s degree in environmental science
  • Certification: Wilderness first responder, swiftwater rescue
  • Favorite outdoor memory: Going backpacking for the first time as a 16-year-old with Adventure Treks in California’s Shasta Trinity Alps. I had never understood how huge and magnificent the wilderness could be until I stood on top of a mountain and looked over the valley below. I had never felt so moved and so small, and I have been seeking out that feeling ever since.
  • Favorite outdoor achievement: I hiked to the top of Half Dome in Yosemite National Park in 2017 with some of my Adventure Treks friends (from when I was a student). To this day, it is one of the scariest and most rewarding things I’ve done.
  • Favorite place you’ve visited: Vermont
  • Favorite hobbies: I love hiking, backpacking, paddling, skiing, climbing and cooking with friends. And I love Lord of the Rings; this is a personality trait.
  • What are you excited about this summer? I’m excited to explore new wilderness areas and getting to know my students! Also excited to see some neat creatures (from a distance).