Womxn of the PNW: Samantha King

Samantha is an outdoor enthusiast who loves trail adventures and exploring the outdoors. Running, climbing, and backpacking are just a few of her favorite things!

How long have you resided in the PNW? What brought you here?

I was born and raised in the Portland, Oregon area and have lived here all my life! I can’t imagine living anywhere else. I feel like we have it all! Mountains, trails, beaches, deserts, you name it! 

Has the outdoors always played a significant role in your life? How were you introduced?

Growing up we camped (car camping) and hiked. I loved camping, but I hated hiking. My dad and I laugh about it now. A big part of why I didn’t like hiking was because of heights. Little known fact is I used to be very scared of heights! I am still not the biggest fan of heights and exposure, but I’ve continued to push myself into doing it more, and I’ve gotten better and better at handling it.

Where is your favorite place to adventure in the PNW?

My favorite place to adventure is a hard one, but I’d have to say the Columbia River Gorge. It’s where I first began hiking and running, and it always feels like home to me. 

What is your favorite outdoor experience/memory of all time?

My favorite outdoor memory to date is probably my first backpacking experience. I did the Timberline Trail, solo, having no backpacking experience at all. It rained torrentially the entire time and was thoroughly a sufferfest. However, I learned so much about myself and what I was capable of. I was stronger and braver than I ever could’ve imagined. And I am happy to report all of the following backpacking and fastpacking trips have been much less eventful!

You often run, hike, and backpack solo. What do you enjoy most about doing solo adventures? Any words of wisdom for others who might be interested in doing more solo adventuring?

I love solo adventures! It’s a great time to learn about myself and what I’m capable of. Some basics are to know what you’re doing, make sure you’re carrying appropriate emergency gear, and know your limits. Make a plan and leave your plan with at least one other person, but preferably two. 

I can only imagine that being a mom to two kiddos gets insanely busy. How has motherhood (and family life in general) influenced your outdoor lifestyle? How often do you do outdoor adventures as a family?

Having two kiddos definitely makes things more challenging! It’s so much coordinating and scheduling. I often get up to run at 4 or 5 am while everyone is asleep or it doesn’t happen. I have a very supportive family who helps with the kids immensely and I couldn’t do a lot of what I do without them. I try to get them out for hikes and camping as much as I can. There is often complaining about “tired” legs, but I try to push them a bit. I don’t want them to grow to not like it, but I want to show them what they are capable of. I took them on a little overnight backpacking trip and they did pretty well all things considered! I plan to do a bit more every year and hope that eventually they’ll be able to handle bigger trips with me and I’ll have built in adventure buddies.

What are some goals you’ve set for yourself this year?

My biggest goal for this year is to run from Cascade Locks to the summit of Mt. Adams and down. It will be 100 miles and my biggest challenge yet!

Thank you so much for taking the time to share your story, Sam! Is there anything else we should know about you? Fun facts, trivia, etc.?

My favorite color is pink. Dark pink to be specific! 

You can learn more about Sam and follow her adventures on Instagram: @samantha.mountain.trail

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