Sarah grew up in Raleigh, North Carolina, with a botanist for a mum, a forestry scientist for a dad, and a backyard forest as her natural habitat. She earned her BA at the College of Charleston, where she studied historic preservation and worked for an architect on renovations and restorations of many of the city’s antebellum mansions. She also spent a year as an AmeriCorps volunteer, working for Habitat for Humanity. But the wanderlust won out, and Sarah left the drafting table to bike across Europe, do a motorcycle trip from South America to Canada, and eventually return to the US to start a career in guiding. She’s been leading hiking and bicycling trips for 8 years now. Her home base is her hand-built tiny house, located along the boundary of Pisgah National Forest near Asheville, NC.
In recent years, Sarah has been following in her parents’ footsteps and studying forest ecology and botany. Last year, she earned a certification in foraging edible and medicinal plants, so you might even learn how to identify some survival foods along the trail. On trips, Sarah’s goal is to immerse you in the cultural history and ecological landscape of the area you are visiting, so you can develop a deeper understanding of place.
What’s your favorite vacation destination?
Wherever I’ve just come back from! I was just in Brazil, so that’s my current answer. It is truly one of the most diverse and surprising countries I’ve traveled in.
What’s your favorite hike?
I keep returning to hike more of Olympic National Park. With high peaks, glaciers, wild rivers, rain forests, and even breathtaking beaches, Olympic really has it all.
What’s your favorite bike ride?
The Canal du Midi bike trail that crosses Southern France from Bordeaux to Narbonne. It is mesmerizing!
Arg, this is such a guide answer, but I really do love nature documentaries. Also, right now I am rewatching Ken Burns’ “The West,” which is an amazing series on the exploration and settlement of the American West.
I’m a sucker for a good fantasy series.
Oh my gosh, I can’t pick from all the good music from the 60s and 70s.
When did you first catch the travel bug?
The summer after college, hitchhiking my way around the big island of Hawai’i. I hope everyone, at some point in their life, gets to travel alone to a place where they know no one and see how the world opens up to them. For me, it was life-changing.
What are your hobbies?
Besides my obvious love for hiking, biking, and exploring new places, I love creating things. Whether that’s painting, woodworking, knitting, or cooking, doing something creative always makes me happy. When at home, I garden and check on my beehive, but I haven’t figured out how to take either of those hobbies on the road yet.