“DC” X Rocky Mountain Hiking Co.
Susanna or “DC” as she’s known on trial, accompanied Rocky Mountain Hiking Company, LLC on a trip to Death Valley recently all while wearing her trusty ULA pack so we caught up to get some insight into what went into making this a successful outing.
DC shares some of the ups, downs, logistics, and some helpful advice for getting out there and living it up.
ABOUT: ROCKY MOUNTAIN HIKING CO. believes in sharing their passion for the outdoors with everyone, through unparalleled insight and expertise. They want to provide an opportunity for you to experience the outdoors on your terms, whether it’s day hiking on the 251 miles of trail in Golden, Colorado, spending multiple nights out in the backcountry of some of the country’s most beautiful landscapes, or attending community-focused retreats. They hope the energy and excitement you feel with them on trail makes you that much moreexcited to pursue more time and experiences in the outdoors.
ULA: What do you do in your free time?
DC: I like staying active – running, biking and yoga which are all great training for hiking/backpacking. When not doing outdoorsy things, I like reading, going to coffee shops and spending time with my partner Erik and our new dachshund puppy, Casper.
ULA: What got you into hiking?
DC: I did some hiking and camping with my family growing up, but I wouldn’t have called myself outdoorsy or athletic. I started running and hiking more in my mid 20’s and quickly began to fall in love with exploring the boundaries of what I previously thought wasn’t possible for me physically. Spending time in nature helped me cope with stress and anxiety and over time helped me become more confident in many other aspects of my life.
ULA: What trails have you hiked/thru-hiked if any?
DC: My first thru-hike was the PCT in 2016. Since then I’ve thru-hiked the Tahoe Rim Trail in 2020, and both the Arizona Trail and John Muir Trail in 2021.
ULA: What words of advice or encouragement would you give to people who are unsure of going on multi-day trips?
DC: Just go for it. The best way to learn is through doing. If you aren’t comfortable going on a day hike or overnight hike by yourself, go with a more experienced friend or look for hiking/backpacking groups in your area through Facebook or Meetup. Getting out there with a guiding service like Rocky Mountain Hiking Company is a great way to start because the guide can help with everything from gear advice, to planning the trip and making sure it is customized to your needs and experience level.
ULA: What kind of effort goes into pre-planning for a trip like this?
DC: There are a lot of logistics to consider for traveling to a remote place like Death Valley – transportation, where to stay/camp, water and meals, permits, what gear to bring for different seasons, etc. This is where going with an experienced backpacker or guide service like Rocky Mountain Hiking Company can really help – Carly did all the planning for this trip.
ULA: What made you want to do a Death Valley trip?
DC: I had never been and I love desert hiking from my experience on the PCT in Southern California and on the Arizona Trail. Death Valley was unique and magical in ways that far exceeded my expectations.
ULA: What was your favorite part of the trip?
DC: It’s hard to choose a favorite because the experience was so incredible and diverse, but if I had to choose, it would probably be hiking to Panamint Dunes. We had to work for it, but the reward was having this otherworldly landscape all to ourselves as we saw only one other hiker out there.
ULA: What was your least favorite part of the trip?
DC: Definitely camping in the Sunset campground which was basically a very large parking lot! Luckily we snagged a spot in the smaller and quieter Texas Springs campground the next night.
ULA: What was your favorite meal on trail?
DC: Good2Go Pad Thai dehydrated dinner. Easy to pack and easy to cook without a mess!
ULA: Was there anything you were nervous about going into this trip?
DC: Not at all. I trusted Carly’s planning expertise completely.
ULA: Any closing advice for people to get out there more?
DC: Know that whatever your experience or background is, you belong outdoors. Don’t get caught up in the myth that hikers or backpackers look a certain way or that you have to have the perfect gear or body to pursue your goals outside. Don’t overthink it, just get out there and put one foot in front of the other; you’ll be surprised how far that can take you.