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Explorer Spotlight: Sarah Vaughn

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Name: Sarah Vaughn | Age: 29 | Location: Texas & Washington (for now)

What’s your day job?
Middle School Teacher.

What are your favorite things to do outside?
Hmm..Overall I just like hanging out outside, whether it's sitting around a campfire, hiking on trails, finding swimming holes, or most enjoyable...sleeping outside!

What first drew you to the outdoors?
I think growing up with only brothers and all boy neighbors for the first 10 years of my life had something to do with it. I was resorted to doing all the boyish outdoorsy things they were doing. Getting lost in the woods..playing in the mud..digging up worms..fun stuff like that.

What’s your favorite hometown adventure? ...and, almost as important, where’s your favorite spot to get a beer after?
Would have to say hitting up the mountain bike trails in Memorial Park in Houston.. and after going to Luke's Ice House on Washington, especially on a Friday for $1 beers and free queso :D

What’s your essential gear that never gets left at home?
Probably layers...I am always cold and have to make sure I have enough layers to peel off, because mornings always start off freezing on hikes!

What’s your favorite trail snack?
Triscuits and cheese hands down. I love cheese.

Any go-to soundtracks when you’re hitting the road?
Oh yes! I am a huge Spotify user and love getting pumped up for whatever adventure we are embarking on. Top favs at the moment- some literally are soundtracks...

  • 180 Degrees South Soundtrack feat. Ugly Casanova aka Modest Mouse
  • Walter Mitty Soundtrack just works so well for the adventurous spirit
  • Fleet Foxes - Blue Ridge Mountains, Mykonos & White Winter Hymnal
  • Zero 7 Red, Blue and Green

What’s the scariest thing that’s ever happened while you were adventuring? And/or, the funniest?
Definitely Memorial Day weekend in the Hill Country of Texas this year. Some of the worst floods the state has seen in about 100years and we were camping and hiking in it. Got stranded on top of a peak during a severe storm with lightening and thunder shaking the ground. Was thankfully able to make it down safe...then went to get food after all the stress, got stranded by flooded roads that turned into raging rivers..finally made it back to our campsite after several hours only to be greeted with even more torrential downpours, thunderstorms and threats of tornados!

Who’s your number one adventure partner-in-crime? Who inspires you?
That would definitely be my boyfriend, Dan. He is the one that gets credit for channeling my love for adventure and travel to the outdoors. Those that inspire me are people doing the things I am afraid to do..but someday hope to!

What are your top destinations for adventure travel?
Around Texas it is definitely Hill Country. I love the smell of the mesquite trees there and the crystal clear spring fed waters..you can't beat it. Places like Enchanted Rock, Pedernales Falls, Colorado Bend, Wimberley, Lost Maples and Garner is where I like spending my time. Outside of Texas I have a huge love and appreciation for Mt. Rainier.

What’s on the top of your must-do adventure list right now?
Hiking Angel's Landing at Zion is at the top. That or hiking in New Zealand and pretending like I am in Lord of the Rings.

Show us your most memorable photo, and tell us about it!
This photo was the first time I had really been around a snow-capped mountain in the summer. I had never seen anything like it and was mesmerized..and just knew all I wanted to do in my free time was go find more mountains to be in. (McNiel Point hike, Mt. Hood, Oregon)

And last but not least…What’s your personal motto?
Life's too short to not do what makes you happy everyday.

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

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