Womxn of the PNW: Breanna Bushaw

Breanna is an elementary school teacher, and mom to a 5 year old son. She loves hiking, rock climbing and traveling in her free time.

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

I have lived in Washington for over six years. I am originally from Arizona. Growing up, I was never a huge fan of the extreme heat of summers in the desert. I love that the PNW actually has seasons, not just a year long summer. Each year, I get excited for the beautiful change in the colors of trees and blooms of the flowers. Also, you can drive just a couple hours in each direction and have beach, mountains or desert. 


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

As a child, we went camping now and then, but my parents were not super “outdoorsy”. When I was in college, a science professor started an “Adventure Club,” and was asking people to join. I decided to go outside of my box and give it a try. I’m so glad I did because it literally changed my life and helped me discover a love for the outdoors and a passion for hobbies I never knew I had. 


Where is your favorite place to adventure in the PNW? 

It really depends on the time of year. In the winter, I love exploring the North Cascades, and working on my skiing skills…they are still a work in progress. In the spring, I enjoy escaping the rain and heading to Vantage for some early season rock climbing. Summer, pretty much anywhere in Washington is gorgeous, but Rainier is the winner for sure. My favorite fall hike, so far, was a thru-hike in The Enchantments last year to see those magical golden Larches.


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

My favorite memory so far was summiting Mount Adams last year. Not because it was my highest peak so far, but the people that I was with who made it awesome. I love the encouragement and motivation to push each other along with great conversation and laughs along the way. It was a small taste of mountaineering that excited me to set bigger goals for myself. Our bodies are capable of amazing things when you put your mind to it.

How has motherhood influenced your outdoor lifestyle?

It hasn’t really, other than I get to share my experiences with my son. When I was pregnant, I was still hiking and backpacking. Kaden went on his first camping trip when he was just a few months old. When he was younger, I would carry him and it was great training weight. Now that he is older, he hikes along with me and can almost out run me on a trail…almost! I just started taking him outdoor rock climbing. I can’t wait to see what other adventures I can take him on as he gets older.


Any advice or lessons that you’ve learned that you think could be helpful for other mothers and parents hoping to cultivate an interest in the outdoors with their children?

Just go for it! There will be plenty of melt down moments and piggy back rides, but it’s all worth the experience and memoirs in the end. Bring a friend, and go with other kids if possible. Play games such as I spy, scavenger hunts, or trail bingo. Start with short, easy nature walks with low elevation, and work your way up from there. SNACKS! You can never have too many snacks.


What inspired you to become an ambassador for the group, PNW Outdoor Women?

I wanted to become an ambassador to connect with other women in my area who had similar interests and hobbies. I had been a member since the first year the group started and had really enjoyed attending events. Being new to the area at the time, this group is how I made a majority of the friends I have now. I really wanted help other women meet people to go adventure with and support each other in the outdoors.


What do you enjoy most about being an ambassador for PNWOW?

I have really enjoyed meeting people who are new to hiking or climbing and teaching them new skills and knowledge in the outdoors. It is the best feeling to watch someone overcome fears or doubts and try something new and be successful. It is also amazing to meet other ambassadors and group members who are accomplishing their goals as well. I am always so inspired by seeing others stories and adventures in the PNWOW group.

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

SO many goals this year! I have a goal to summit all five Washington volcanoes, so just continuing to train for that and practice safety skills. I would also like to continue to work on my lead climbing and progress in my rock climbing ability this summer. As far as non-outdoor goals, I am working on completing my MBA degree this year and making a career change from teaching. I would love to eventually combine my love for the outdoors with a career one day.


Do you have a specific idea about what you’d like your outdoor career to be/look like?

I don’t have a specific idea of what I would like my outdoor career to look like. I’m really interested in marketing and if it was for the right company. I would also love to do something that promotes women and kids in the outdoors. It would be great if it could include both environmental science and adventures. I’m really open to trying a few different roles and seeing what fits best.


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

Can’t think of anything!

You can follow Breanna’s adventures on Instagram: @breezy_adventures

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