Next up in our ambassador spotlight series is Kristin DeCou, one of our newest ambassadors. Make sure you read all the way to the bottom for a special opportunity!
Tell us a little bit about yourself. What do you do when you’re not hiking?
There are many things I love, but close to the top is adventuring with my kids. One of our favorite things to do as a family is exploring the National Parks. We live in Port Angeles, WA, the gateway to Olympic National Park, and regularly explore new trails, waterfalls, and mountains to keep our kids engaged and excited to return.
I’m also a professional organizer and KonMari Consultant (@modernrefresh), so you guessed it, I love all things organizing and productivity-related. For the outdoors, this translates into always sharpening my “Essentials” checklist of outdoor gear for day hikes and keeping an efficient system for packing on longer trails.
What has the Six-Pack of Peaks Challenge meant to you?
It’s been an inspiration and game-changer for me in several ways. My top three:
- Creating a habit of hiking
I now hike at least 3-5 days/ week with the intent to enjoy nature and take a walk in the woods. These can range from 0.5 to 5+ miles. What’s most important to me is getting outside.
- Building my capacity
From reaching one summit to finishing the Six-Pack, the challenge has helped build my capacity from dreaming to actually doing what I set out to accomplish outdoors.
- Inspiring big adventure goals
The challenge has helped me let go of limiting beliefs on how much time I do or don’t have or what I can or can’t do. It’s also sparked new challenges, including a multi-year adventure our family is excited to announce soon!
One more thing: I’ve started hiking alone, which I was cautious of at first but now fully embrace. If there are women who want to feel more safe and comfortable going solo, please contact me!
What is your favorite hike in the Six-Pack of Peaks and why?
Mount St. Helens. It’s wild, lunar and otherworldly.
There were boulders to climb, ridges to cross, ice fields to navigate and snow to maze around. Then there’s the last stretch up ash and scree, with glaciers on both sides. Your gift once you reach the top? You get to walk the rim of a volcano that erupted four decades ago. It’s an amazing (hard) hike and one of the most beautiful views you’ll find in the Pacific Northwest.
Share one of your most memorable adventures. What makes it so special?
The first adventure that comes to mind is a 22-mile day hike in Glacier National Park up past Sperry Chalet. Most hikers stay the night there, but we had already set up camp, so we decided to hike up, have the community-style dinner at Sperry Chalet and head down after dark.
It was one of most memorable meals and hikes we’ve experienced as a couple. We saw mountain goats, dipped our feet into alpine lakes, and trekked on glaciers. Part of what made it so memorable was pushing the limits of time, daylight, bears (thankfully we didn’t run into any), and ourselves. It’s a day I won’t easily forget.
What’s one piece of gear that you never hike without?
The “bundle” I never leave without is my iPhone, AllTrails app (pro version with offline map access), and a battery pack if I plan to hike longer than 5 miles.
Share a quote, song, or another inspirational item that helps get you through the toughest hikes/life moments.
Grow through what you go through.
What upcoming adventures are you looking forward to in the year ahead?
This year, my big goal is to summit Mt. Rainier the week of July 4th, weather permitting. I'm looking forward to hiking a lot solo and as a family to build up to that. My husband Rob is an ultra-endurance athlete, so we try to do as many adventures together as we can.
Share a fun fact about you that most people wouldn’t know.
I took a 6-month around-the-world trip when I was 24. It was inspired by the sudden passing of my dad. He loved to travel and explore, and he was just getting ready to retire in Costa Rica.
After his death, I asked the question: If I had one year left to live, how would I spend my time? The answer came easily: “Spend as much time as possible with close family and friends and travel the world.” So I did that.
Is there anything else you wish I would have asked you or anything you would like to add?
We are giving away 3 free entries to the PNW Six-Pack of Peaks Challenge! Click here to enter! Share this giveaway with a friend! You don't need to be a current Six-Pack of Peaks Challenger to enter! Giveaway ends June 15, 2021.
You can connect with Kristin here on SocialHiker as @thedecous.