Explorer Spotlight: Rachel Davidson

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The Outbound Collective


Name: Rachel Davidson  | Age: 26 | Location: Seattle, WA. 

What’s your day job? 

Copywriter for Outdoor Research.

What are your favorite things to do outside?

Climb big peaks, run long trails, and hike in between.

What first drew you to the outdoors?

Growing up around the volcanoes of the Pacific Northwest first drew me into the outdoors, especially the Three Sisters in Central Oregon. My first mountain climb was to the summit of South Sister (the same peak that got Jon Krakauer started). Reaching the top after a grueling half-day, I had two thoughts: (1) I’ll never do that again, and (2) How much would it take to get to the top of the other two Sisters?

What’s your favorite hometown adventure? ...and, almost as important, where’s your favorite spot to get a beer after?

Anything and everything around Mt. Hood. Favorite spot to get a beer after an adventure in Sisters or Bend: DeschutesGood Life, or Three Creeks.

What’s your essential gear that never gets left at home?

My Salomon Boots which accompanied me over 1,500 miles, through eight countries, and across three of the world’s highest mountain ranges last year – not to mention the airports, hostels, beaches, nightclubs, motorcycles, manure, and everything else they trekked through. They definitely hold a sentimental value of sorts to me now, and I still wear them on anything from coastal day hikes to low-grade alpine climbs.

What’s your favorite trail snack?

Good old-fashioned double-decker PB&J.

Any go-to soundtracks when you’re hitting the road?

Shakey Graves. Lord Huron. Real Estate. War on Drugs. Voxtrot. Infamous Stringdusters. The Helio Sequence. Fruition. Atmosphere and any kind of 90’s hip-hop I can get my ears on.

What’s the scariest thing that’s ever happened while you were adventuring? And/ or funniest? 

I got to play guide with my childhood best friend and took her on her first hike: A 30-mile day trip up to Utah’s highpoint, King’s Peak. We left Salt Lake City at 1 am, and twelve hours later, found ourselves trapped in a thunder, lightning, snow AND hail storm just beginning to descend the summit – without rain gear. We made it back safely and before nightfall, even if Christina wouldn’t speak to me the last five miles to the car. I still don’t know if she’s forgiven me.

Who’s your number one adventure partner-in-crime? Who inspires you?

My dad and I discovered alpine climbing together. We made a lot of mistakes, got lost a lot of times, suffered snow blindness, second-degree sunburns, overpacked, under-packed, and taught ourselves how to use an ice ax by watching YouTube videos. He is definitely my #1 outdoor inspiration because while I was learning all of this as a teenager, he was learning it at the age of 60... and he’s not slowing down anytime soon.

What are your top destinations for adventure travel?

Nepal is at the top of my recommendation list for anyone interested in adventure travel. The culture, food, people, affordability – not to mention the outdoor recreation – are each incredible, and incomparable. There are tons of opportunities for trekking in the Himalayas that will literally and figuratively take your breath way. Of the 25+ countries I’ve been to, Nepal is the only one I could see myself visiting year after year.

What's on the top of your must-do adventure list right now? I’ve got a long list of adventure runs on my 2017 calendar, priorities being: The Timberline Trail, Circumnavigation of Mt. Hood (40 miles, 9k ft. elevation gain), The Zion Traverse  (49 miles, 7k ft. elevation gain), and finally... The Wonderland Trail, Circumnavigation of Mt. Rainier (93 miles, 22k ft. elevation gain).

Show us your most memorable photo, and tell us about it!

My palms still get sweaty looking at this photo. This was taken at the base of Steens Mountain, deep in southeastern Oregon, after a night camping in the Alvord Desert: a 12-by-7 mile dry lake bed that offers some seriously beautiful landscapes, fantastic stargazing, and the ultimate car camping + off-roading adventure. I would 100% recommend this trip, and 100% advise to learn from my mistakes. Avoid the desert during rainstorms, keep away from the shore while driving, and if you're lucky enough to find a wench-yielding local - leave your rescuer with a tip (you're not the first).

And last but not least…What’s your personal motto?

"You never know until you try."

Published: May 24, 2017

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